“So let go, just get in. // Oh, it so amazing here. // It’s alright, cause’ there’s beauty in the breakdown…” – Frou Frou, Let Go.

The Alley-oop: The transition from a hybrid work model to a remote one, an amicable break-up with my ex-boyfriend (I low-key thought I was going to marry that brotha), and choosing to not renew the lease on my beloved Bed-Stuy Brooklyn apartment. The Slam Dunk: Moving here sight unseen a month after deciding to do so.

I sold all of my furniture, gave away clothing, shoes, and home goods, put what I opted to keep (cool weather clothing & shoes, designer bags, and artwork) in a 5’ x 7′ storage unit, returned the keys to my royal bitch of a landlady, closed my eight-year Brooklyn chapter and boarded my one-way ticket flight with three suitcases, an open mind, and audacity… and I’ve been here ever since.

Six apartments, expansive mind-altering shaman-lead ceremonies with psychotropic drugs, sittings with plant medicine, abundant amounts of organic GMO-free seeded fruits & vegetables, joyous sun-filled days, and blissful breezy nights. It’s been a wild ride of uncertainty, unabridged joy, embodiment, taking chances, whirlwind romance, revelations, loneliness, and unfathomable peace for the last two and a half years here in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  It’s served as the catalyst for prioritizing self-care, trusting the process, establishing unwavering faith, and centering myself for the first time in my life.

I’m often asked, “what made you choose Playa?” My typical response, “Playa chose me.”  Here’s how.

It was September of 2020, and I was stir crazy AF.  The itch to leave the confines of my one-bedroom abode was strong, so I made plans to “scratch” it.  Since most countries weren’t letting Americans in, my destination search was relegated to the only country that granted us access, Mexico. Two girlfriends and I boarded a JetBlue flight from JFK to CUN for a week of fun & sun.  Since it was my first time in the country, I wanted to make sure that I partook in my usual off-the-beaten-path adventures in addition to enjoy a more popular destination; Tulum for the “turn up” and Isla Holbox for the “turn down”.

On a fortuitous morning in Holbox, a woman with a head full of big black curls, sun-kissed skin, denim shorts and a bright turquoise bikini top rode by on a bicycle.  “You’re gorgeous!” I blurted and the beauty thanked me while simultaneously making a U-turn to join my friends and I.  Pleasantries were exchanged and and an invitation was extended for this new friend to stay and enjoy beachside breakfast with us. In our conversation we learned that she moved from NYC (the Bronx) to Playa Del Carmen, MX a few months prior and loved her experience there.  To say that I was intrigued was an understatement.  I too wanted to shake things up and move to a tropical environment where I could enjoy free access to the beach, a year-round warm climate, and tranquility.  We all exchanged phone numbers and social media handles with the intention of maintaining contact, but I intended to do more – I planned to speak with her at length about the relocation process to Playa. 

The game plan was to return to Mexico in December for a month trial run to see what the hype was about and to see if my spirit aligned with Playa, but things didn’t quite work out that way.  I wound up in an unexpected relationship weeks after returning from Mexico and didn’t get a chance to.  It didn’t matter anymore. Playa could wait, I was boo’d up and in bliss… until I wasn’t.  I’ll spare you the details, but I will say that dating in covid is wild.  Weeks felt like months.  Months felt like years.  Everything was intensified and exacerbated.  We mutually agreed that the potential of our relationship was hopeful, but the reality was the complete opposite – so we parted ways six months after we started dating. 

Circling back to the alley-oop I felt like it was time to entertain the idea of visiting this popular Black expat destination, not for a visit but for an indefinite relocation. After all, what was keeping me in Brooklyn?  I did a little research, spoke with my fellow NY native (the Holbox beauty) about lodging options, and pulled the trigger. 

I bought a one-way ticket and prepared for my departure… but this wasn’t my first rodeo. I bought a one-way ticket to St. Thomas (STT) in 2016 (here –> https://unicorninbk.com/one-way/ ) and returned to my apartment less than six months later. I didn’t plan appropriately and things didn’t pan out in a favorable way, so I left. However, with the Playa move I had a plan (and a contingency plan) to set me up for success to and start anew outside of the Divided States of America.

Did I feel crazy?  Absolutely, but I regularly do things that make me question my sanity when it comes to my solo travel adventures.  Was I scared?  I’m human, of course I was, but I kept two things in mind: (1) Better to try than to spend my life wondering “what if” and (2) Mexico was only a four-hour flight away from NYC.  Worst case scenario, I’d enjoy a few months abroad and return to Brooklyn to sign a lease on a new apartment.  Best case scenario, I’d meet new people, settle into my new life in Mexico and have amazing experiences.  If you’ve viewed my location ambiguous posts and stories on Instagram these past few months, I think you’d agree that it’s been the latter.

Have things been perfect? Nah.  Just because I live in paradise like conditions doesn’t mean that I’ve been exempt from issues that impact me.  I’ve experienced overwhelming feelings of doubt (often wondering if I made a mistake moving here), bait and switch apartments accommodations (you did notice that I mentioned that I’ve lived in six apartments, right?), and intense loneliness to name a few.  Despite it all, I’ve had more ups than downs and am happier than I’ve been in a VERY long time.

There’s so much more to elaborate on including frequently asked by transient visitors and loved ones back in the states – “Did I immediately like it when I first moved here?”, “How is it navigating Playa as a single woman?”, “What’s the dating scene like?”, “Is it safe?”, “What’s the cost of living like?”, and “How long do I plan to stay?” Because this post is a quick catch-up to say hello, I’ll keep it brief.

In forthcoming posts I plan to expound upon answers to these questions and more – including details of my first year here (figuring things out & finding my way) vs. my second year (coming back together from a broken place – my healing journey; changing my dietary lifestyle, tapping into the healing power of herbs, implementing new systems to maintain my newly acquired soft life, sitting with “Mama Aya” ayahuasca & changa (“baby ayahuasca”), journeying with micro & hero doses of psilocybin “magic mushrooms”, and journeying with the strongest known natural psychedelic known to man, 5-MeO-DMT, Bufo. If you have something that you’d like to know, just ask.

That’s it for now friends. The ocean calls… and I always answer.

Stay Wild,

Marissa C.