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Rich Change

“In this world it is not what you take up but what you give up that makes you rich.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

In the past week I made some changes that enlightened me to the difference between taking up and giving up in life. As my motives coincide with a constant search for something better, fortunate opportunities appear that allows little time to negotiate. I’ve found that, unless I grab the brass ring and hold on tightly, the offer disappears within seconds. My ability to fearlessly accept change has often led me along further, into something more fantastic.

Corona y KD

Corona del Templo de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: El Corazón de Puerto Vallarta

With its wobbly cobblestone streets, warm climate and smell of salty sea air, Puerto Vallarta has felt like home since I first visited in 2010. In this historic Méxican town, I appreciate the stoplight-free streets, eclectic art community and opportunity to volunteer with kids; for me, this part of Jalisco feels right. When a recent chance to work here was offered, I jumped for the brass ring.

Jesus y Kendall

Brigada de La Basura’s Jesus jumps for a brass ring over el Rio Cuale with his amigo, Kendall

Gratefully, I accepted a job at a private school with an excellent reputation, secured a small apartment where I can walk to everything, and volunteered with kids cleaning the Rio Cuale – all in the same week. I also made some new business and creative contacts, stayed at a beautiful, inexpensive hostel in Centro and enjoyed a few days at the beach before beginning work. Ah, vivacious Vallarta.

Amigos Brigada

Kendall, Jésus y Roberto: Amigos de la Brigada!

 Of all my recent adventures worth mentioning, volunteering stands out. 2013 marks my third year with La Brigada de la Basura, a group founded by Que?Pasa Bar and Grill. Every Saturday kids of all ages gather at Que?Pasa to put on rubber gloves, open large garbage bags, and embark on the river that runs through their neighborhood.

Con Darren

Darren and I met at La Brigada de la Basura a few years ago, a great friend

Anywhere from 20 to 60 kids collect everything imaginable: from large broken pieces of pottery to dozens of bottles, cans and food wrappers.  It’s inspiring to watch the kids dive and reach for trash like its treasure, knowing after their efforts a snack and TV time awaits them back at Que?Pasa. But the greatest inspiration is watching them grow into teenagers who will hopefully continue caring for their beautiful city and our Earth.

Perro Vallarta

Picking up pups in Vallarta – just another way to stay happy here!

As I count my blessings in life and joyously wait for another brass ring, I am in a great place that feels familiar and makes me happy. Even though the purpose attached to the ring needs constant polishing to make it clearer, if it feels like a rich change for what I’m giving up, then it’s certainly worth taking.

Author: Kate Dana

Teacher, traveler and writer living on the Caribbean coast of South America.

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