Carl & Lorena: Can you tell us a little about yourselves, and how you came to leave Colorado?
We're in our late 40s. We're both Texas-born and raised, but before moving full-time to our Mexico house two years ago, we lived for 18 years in the mountains west of Boulder, Colorado. Our house there was at 9,000 feet, with magnificent, sweeping views of the continental divide. Fabulous -- and I'm glad we lived in Colorado for all those years, but finally, we had enough. Imagine intense snow storms that would dump as much as 40 inches at a time, followed almost invariably by days of screaming, freezing, house-rocking wind. (High wind is part of the Rockie's eastern-slope, winter weather pattern. Ugh.)
Neither Deborah nor I ever earned large amounts of money in our careers. But, we were almost obessesively frugal, always driving old, beater-type cars, buying clothes second-hand, and putting our disposable income into stocks and real estate. However, we often did "lavish" a bit on budget travel. Our motto could have been "Travel cheap, travel often."
Soon after our daughter Hadley (our only child) was through college, married, and thoroughly "launched," we sold or gave away almost everything we owned and left our long-standing jobs. Deborah had worked for US West (a regional Bell) for 17 years. I was a Denver radio and TV "personality" (ugh horrible term). Radio, mostly, but also some TV weather. My satellite network radio show of 8 years running was, there at the end, carried on 135 stations around the US. But there was nothing inherently remarkable about it, believe me. It was the standard, tired mix of formulaic soft rock and inane celebrity gossip. Naturally, I tried to sneak a few renegade, interesting comments in from time to time, but that was, predictably, frowned upon. (So, I haven't missed that world for one nano-second.)
Deborah loved her work at US West and leaving was a much harder decision for her. But, after some initial difficulty, she has grown to appreciate this life of leisure. She has learned to structure her own time and lately begun working her way through Dickens.
One of the great joys of our new lifestyle is having the time to read... and read... and read -- without the stresses and interruptions and distractions of "normal" life. I've lazed my way through a good bit of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, Dickens, the Sonnets and much, much more in our two years here. Really, this is a wonderful luxury.
What inspired you to move to Puerto Vallarta, rather than Orlando, Vail, or the south of France?
As I mentioned, we've traveled a bit...Costa Rica, Hawaii, US Virgin Islands, Europe, etc., plus most of Mexico.
I always found things to like about those "other places," but nowhere else swept me off my feet quite like Mexico, and especially, Puerto Vallarta. As the years went by, my affection for PV seemed to be deeper than mere infatuation with novelty. I liked it more and more, warts, quirks, and all. PV and the Bay of Banderas area offer fabulous natural beauty, even by Mexico's dizzying standards. Dramatically wrinkled and folded mountains, covered in thick tropical forest, tumbling right down to the beach; the south side of the bay dotted with intimate crescents of sand, backed by huge boulders, cliffs, and thick palm groves. At its best, I suppose that this place is what many of us pictured while reading Robinson Crusoe as kids.
Culturally, Puerto Vallarta also offers the best of all worlds. The modern, high-tech jangle co-exists with the calmer, quieter echo of old Mexico to a degree unsurpassed almost anywhere else. As I said, my neighborhood, and certainly the villages that lie further out, manage to retain a poignant sense of the past that is such a part of Mexico's charm. Yet quite nearby, PV has an international airport (for ease of access for friends and family), internet ISPs, cable television with CnnFn, and all the other mod-cons.
Here's a pet-theory of mine: Puerto Vallartas broadness, this duality, of the underlying cultural sensibility sets a tone of tolerance. Coarsely aggressive yuppies and wistful would-be poets seem to co-exist fairly well here, too.
In fact, less pretentiously put, folks here seem more genuinely friendly and happy than other places, even in Mexico. As empty and superficial as that observation might sound, I'll stand by it. (There are always exceptions, of course. People are individuals everywhere.) There are practical reasons for this beyond natural beauty and consoling climate -- unemployment is consistently very low in PV. Even the crisis of '94 affected this area comparatively mildly.
How did the Foster's friends and family react? Shocked? Dismayed? Supportive? ... and today?
Making the big move, practical difficulties and solutions, bill paying, neighbors, adapting....