No, it’s not a typo. Let’s just say I’m a little late in getting this post out. When I started this post, it was going to be the Lists of First–that’s Lists with an “s”–for both 2022 and 2023. But with so many fun things to report, I decided to break them up into two posts as they should’ve been if I’d been on top of things and wrote this a year ago. So, watch for the 2023 List of Firsts in the next few weeks.

A Hop Back in Time to 2022

I started the year by spending seven weeks in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with my sister. While we spent most of our time just hanging out at her place and visiting our dad at his, we managed to get out now and again. A few of those adventures belong on the list of firsts for me.

Beach scene with people walking along the edge of the water. Blue sky and palm trees in the distance.
Another walk on another beach: one of the great things about RV life.

Ate and Drank in Mexico

On one of our walks, my sister’s Mexican partner pulled some pods off a tree, opened them up and offered me the pearls inside. Have you ever heard of guarmochiles? I certainly hadn’t and I say that having regularly visited Mexico for the last 20 years.

I looked it up to get a bit of information on the guarmochiles. In English, it can sometimes be referred to as blackbead, sweet Inga, or monkeypaw. None of which helped me because I hadn’t ever heard of those either. Like many things that come from a tree, it’s only edible certain time of the year so I was happy it coincided with my time there.

Guarmochile in pods in a person's open hand.
The guarmochile as it comes from the tree. You shell them like a pea pod.

The drinking “first” in Mexico….no it wasn’t alcohol…was a type of coffee. It’s Café de Olla. The unique sweet coffee hot coffee drink has a interesting history. It was created on the battlefield when women wanted to give men the boost of caffeine with the energy of sugar. Traditionally it’s made in big clay pots. While you can buy it in stores, nothing beats having a real cup of it in clay in Mexico. (Feature image and my sister just happened to be wearing a Supersize LIFE tank top.)

Almost a Food First

When we were in the open market of Bucerias one day, there was a vendor selling fried crickets. My first thought? Ooh, that would be a good one for the List of Firsts 2022 edition. My second thought? Wait, you’re vegan.

Coolest First in Mexico

The neatest first I did in Mexico was meditation bowls. I’d never even heard of such a thing. I’m not sure if this is how it’s officially described but I would call it a vibrational meditation.

It was held outside in the warm evening. We brought a blanket to lay on or under. Then for an hour we listened to different gong sounds. The facilitators would walk among us with the gongs. Additionally, they had a variety of bowls and would occasionally place one on your stomach, tap it and let the vibration soak into you. It was relaxing and spiritually uplifting. All for only $10. Because it was at night in the dark, I didn’t snap any photos.

Giant Stuff: In Mexico and After

After seeing so many social media posts of people sitting in giant chairs or standing by giant letters, you’d think doing the same would loose the appeal. But, no. I got a kick out of sitting in a giant chair, after first climbing up to the top of it, at a restaurant in Nuevo Vallarta. The same restaurant, I should note, where I tasted Café de Olla for the first time.

Giant colorful chair. The back reads: Hacienda Mama Nena, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.
It was a bit of a climb to get up.

A few weeks later, we went to the open-air market in Bucerias and, there, I stood next to giant letters spelling out the name of the town with the beach in the background. And on another day we went to an amazing brunch at the Sheridan Hotel and were welcomed by giant letters.

Two woman standing on either end of giant letters that reads: Bienvenidos.
My sister and I on either side of the giant letters welcoming us to the Sheridan.

At the end of the year, I found another giant chair in a town called Seabrook, Washington. A town, I should mention, that everyone refers to as the Stepford Wives town. It’s a strange and cool little place. Unfortunately it is a warm weather kind of place and in November most stores were closed.

Giant wooden chair surrounded by hay bales and pumpkins.
It was the fall when I went. You know…the pumpkins kind of give it away.

I also saw my first live toucan in Mexico. He was a lot bigger than I imagined.

Bright yellow toucan.

The Rest of 2022 List of Firsts

Food-Related Firsts

I tasted jack fruit for the first time when I made jack fruit tacos. You might remember I am (mostly) whole-food plant-based. They were so good that I have since made them many more times.

Work-Related Firsts

I’m not sure if this one counts or not. It’s certainly and obviously not a first ever. However, it is a first since embarking on my RV life. I took a job. While I did both contract work and camp hosting gigs (exchanging work for a camping spot), I hadn’t taken a traditional job (time in exchange for money). Early on in this blog, I identified work I wanted to try on the road. And, getting a little job was one of them. Now I can check that off the list.

I’ve been working a retail job at a high-end boutique for about 18 months. It still allows lots of flexibility for continued adventures.

Woman in a store with sunglasses on her head and over her eyes.
Things you do at a store before you open…try on all the sunglasses.

Exercise-Related First

I have been to a gym a few times but that way of exercising never appealed to me much. Of course, I went years and years without exercising at all. Getting a dog helped with the consistency and got me back to what I enjoy particularly, walking and hiking.

But losing my dog (it’s been almost 5 years now and it still hurts my heart) and spending a lot of time on the very wet coast of Washington finally drove me inside. I don’t consider it a first, but in 2022, I spent many mornings at the gym of the local community club.

The exercise first is that I tried an elliptical machine for the first time. Have you ever been on one? At first it feels weird and awkward but soon enough I was addicted. It provided a good workout with too much strain on the knees.

Also, at the community club, I tried disc golf for the first time. I’ve talked about disc golf before and, in my travels, have found many disc golf courses. I’ve walked them but never played the game. So, it was good to get that checked off my list. It was fun enough, I’d certainly play again. I was terrible and the course was next to water which is a dangerous combination as those discs can go wildly off course. But, at least in my first foray into the game, I started with two discs and ended with two discs. Despite my score, I count the experience as a win.

2022 List of Firsts: The Biggie

I ended the 2021 List of Firsts with sharing that I sold my first book. Well, a long-held dream came true in 2022 when that book actually saw the light of day.

Alaska Shelter was officially published and I had copies of it in my hot little hands on 2/2/22. It was a great day indeed!

Book cover of Alaska Shelter.

Conclusion and a Request

The simple act of knowing that I write this post at the end of each year encourages me throughout the year to try new things. I’m happy to report the 2024 list is off to a nice start.

Please share new experiences you’ve had in the last year. Any goals for a new food or other experiences in the coming year?

And one request…speaking of the book, I am still three reviews short of 50 on Amazon. Fifty is the number needed before Amazon starts recommending a book to others. If you’ve read the book and haven’t done so, I would truly appreciate it if you’d take a couple minutes and write a one to two sentence review.

Previous List of Firsts Posts

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