It was exactly 43 months ago that we found a house to rent and started to move our belongings and our lives south. It was 28 months ago that we signed the final papers to sell our house and our business and became official residents of Mexico. Since that time, I have continued to work at a distance as a Sport Executive for a Provincial Sport Governing Body in Canada. I work at my desk most mornings and I don’t think most of my colleagues have really missed me much. We still talk via email and text and phone and What’s App and Facebook Messenger and Skype almost every day. I attend meetings or events in Canada 4 times a year. I write a LOT of reports and E Transfer money around to athletes and coaches and volunteers. The rest of my time is spent volunteering at the local Children’s shelter here in Bucerias – teaching English, serving on the Steering Committee, helping raise funds, and hanging out with really cute – but badly scarred – kids. Our life here is full and we are loving every bit of it. In between the work and volunteering, we walk with our crazy puppy on the beach, eat chicken tacos and explore our town on our bright blue golf cart.
But lately Grant has been itching to get back to some kind of work. He too loves to volunteer with the children, and he can often be found driving truckloads of them to the various surrounding villages or relentlessly pushing them on the swing in the patio. He has spent the last year working tirelessly to raise funds to help a little deaf boy receive a cochlear implant. He too has been busy. But a few months ago, an idea settled in his mind and he has been nurturing this idea through the bureaucracy that is required to create anything in this country.
The idea came to us because every time we are spinning around town in our golf cart, someone stops to ask us where we got it. Many tourists in our community do not have vehicles and love the idea of having a simple and safe way to get to the restaurants and shops and grocery stores here in Bucerias and in the neighboring community of Nuevo Vallarta. The cobblestone streets are not easy to walk on and let’s face it – holidays are an excuse to be a bit lazy.
And that is where the idea for Banderas Bay Carts came from. We had already set up a corporation a few years ago in anticipation of someday building houses here. How hard could it be to get the company up and running? It was just a matter of finding some carts; opening a bank account and a Paypal account and a credit card merchant account; creating a logo and color scheme and mascot and getting some business cards and posters and signs printed; creating a website and a Facebook page, and an Instagram page and a Twitter account; finding an online booking system and GPS tracking systems, securing liability and accident and theft insurance, and hanging out our shingle. You can imagine that every one of those things came with problems. Every single one of them. So much red tape. Weird regulations. Some of it still isn’t working great. And while Grant has always been self-employed, we have never been in the retail business and definitely not in the tourism business. Basically, we have no clue what we are doing. But we are doing it! It took a trip to Texas to buy 6 carts, 3 or 4 trips into Vallarta to government offices, a trip to Tepic just to get a letter stating we didn’t need to go to Tepic, many trips to our bank and to our accountant, 2 or 3 hours on hold with Paypal, and countless conversations with our Insurance broker. And don’t even talk about all the YouTube videos Grant has watched to learn how to fix those darn things.
But my stubborn hubby didn’t give up and after 2 weeks in business, tonight I pulled up the calendar and I see that we are SOLD OUT! Rafael just called to rent a cart for tomorrow and the Banderas Bay Carts booking guy (that’s Grant – I’m the Social Media guy) had to tell him we have no carts available. We have bookings into September. We have an Art Gallery in town acting as an agent and they also have more bookings than they can handle. It’s still a tiny business. It’s not exactly going to change the world. But for Kelly whose husband can’t walk very well, it has meant they can get out of their condo and enjoy the next month of their vacation. It means families can take their children on real Mexican adventures in a new culture, seeing more than the fake Mexico of an all-inclusive resort. It’s a service that is welcome here and that is good for us. It means we can earn enough to allow us to continue to give freely to the little ones we have grown to love so deeply. It means we can finance the life that we know we have been called to. And it means that we too can continue to jump in our own cart with our shaggy puppy and be part of the fabric of this town.
And of course, we have ideas to make Banderas Bay Carts better for our customers. Scavenger hunt maps, and Self-Guided Food Tours and Graffiti Hunts and Art Rides. Adventures. Family Fun. It might mean more long trips to Texas to buy more carts. More bureaucracy. More aggravation. More possibility to fail. But that is what keeps life fresh and keeps old people young.
So check out Banderas Bay Carts and give us a call next time you’re in town – we’ll take you for a spin and if you’re lucky, we’ll rent you the vehicle to take you to your next great adventure!