This past week Mandy and I found ourselves enjoying mariachis, margaritas and the romantic cobble stone streets of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It had been nearly a dozen years since my last visit, and this Mandy’s first, and much has changed. Most of the historic downtown district is more commercialized with numerous Starbucks coffee shops and tourism retail stores – such as the overly obnoxious Senor Frogs franchise.

Prior to the trip we read and heard much concern about safety in Mexico and travel warnings from our very own State Department.

If there’s one thing I’ve noted about getting older and bearing more responsibility is that fear is a ruthless thing. It creeps into the darkest parts of one’s logic and manifests horrible “what-if” scenarios.

Not long after our arrival we felt very comfortable. There were thousands of “gringos” (aka Americans and Canadians) visiting Mexico and there was little to be concerned about when it came to kidnapping and the sort. Why would someone want to kidnap us except to escape the wrath of another Wick column. The majority of people we encountered in the town, on the board walks or while venturing north to the pueblos of Salyulita and San Pancho were ex-patriots. At no point did we feel uncomfortable and in fact getting out into the country side allowed us to settle into the culture and enjoy it for what it is.

The experience of sensing fear and projecting horrible thoughts and ideas around traveling felt extremely debilitating. As my wife and I discussed this it became clear the influence of fear is something we all deal with on an increasingly frequent basis. It could be fear, concern, trepidation, and quite frankly any type of reluctance and/or resistance, but it’s those negative verbs in life we have to be aware of. It got us thinking about what life is like when fear plays a greater role and how so much of what makes life beautiful – love, spontaneity, curiosity, stem from elements of vulnerability. It’s as Jim Branscome recently wrote in one of his columns that “with risk comes reward” this notion goes well beyond the financial realms of one’s life. It’s sad to think how much can be missed by allowing just a little more fear to control our judgments.

Though the trip was quick, and for good reason, as we missed the twins immensely, it offered us a little rest and relaxation. It also allowed us to step back and identify one of life’s influences that we need to be aware of.

Let’s not allow fear, or those projecting fear upon us, to lose sight of what’s rightfully ours – life.

Francis Wick is the publisher of the Montrose Daily Press. He can be reached at 252-7099 or emailed at francisw@montrosepress.com.