The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Summer Session 2--Billy Stretches Out His Comfort Zone Pizza Dough in Puerto Vallarta with Special Guest Dr. David DeMarkis

July 13, 2022 Billy & Brian Season 5
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Summer Session 2--Billy Stretches Out His Comfort Zone Pizza Dough in Puerto Vallarta with Special Guest Dr. David DeMarkis
Show Notes Transcript

In this week's episode, Billy reunites with fellow disenchanted educator turned digital nomad Dr. David DeMarkis (from Episode 51--The Pursuit of Higher Consciousness) to discuss their adventures in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! 

Billy and Dr. David discuss:
--taking calculated risks to stretch out the pizza dough of your comfort zones
--the kindness of the people in Puerto Vallarta
--ziplining with Vallarta Adventures
--parasailing with Vallarta Parasailing
--why Rhythms of the Night is an absolute MUST when you're in Puerto Vallarta
--putting your faith in others
--learning how to salsa dance

All of our episodes are available at
Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter as well!  We send out weekly meditations!
Throughout this episode, we reference the following Mindful Midlife Crisis episodes.

--Episode 42: Trash the Checklist with Dr. Yolanda Holloway and Tiffany Byrd
--Episode 54: Declutter and Get Organized! with Janet M. Taylor
--Episode 56:  Balancing High Performance, Happiness, and Relationships with Christine Chang
--Episode 63:  Escape the 9-5 Grind with Brian Gallagher

We also reference:
--The Jordan Harbinger Show, Episode 443:  Kidnap Me Once, Shame on You
The Jordan Harbinger Show, Episode 444:  Kidnap Me Twice, Shame on Me
The Jordan Harbinger Show, Episode 670: The Science of Succeeding with People with Vanessa Van Edwards

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Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis. 

Billy: And here’s the thing. I like dancing. I really enjoy dancing, but I like doing the free flow of dancing where I don’t have any choreography. When I get choreography assigned to me, then things go awry.

David: I’m like the big dude in Footloose, I’m terrible, man. I’m not even joking because my fiancée’s trying to teach me cumbia. I could do a little merengue. Salsa’s way out of my league so I commend you for trying that, man.

Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life’s second half. Join your hosts, Billy and Brian, a couple of average dudes who will serve as your armchair life coaches as we share our life experiences, both the good and the bad, in an effort to help us all better understand how we can enjoy and make the most of the life we have left to live in a more meaningful way. Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with us through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.

Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis Summer Sessions. I’m your host Billy. Brian is on vacation with his family. They are taking a trip out on their schoolie. If you want to check that out, you can follow their adventures on Instagram at @wejustboughtabus.

Once again, we want to thank all of you out there who are listening to our show. Last week’s episode where I talked about my road trip to the Pacific Northwest got downloaded in 17 different countries. Thank you to the people in the Philippines, South Korea, Moldova, Egypt, Costa Rica, Germany, Ireland — Carla, thank you — Norway, Portugal, Brazil — other Carla, thank you — Spain, Mexico, Austria, Canada, United Kingdom. Australia once again with big numbers this week. And, of course, the United States. Props to the people of Perth, Australia. That means we are now bicoastal, Perth and Sydney representing. We got Mexico City, Columbia, Maryland, Cape Coral, Florida. Alpharetta, Georgia. What a cool name that is. River Falls, Wisconsin, Davison, Michigan, Seattle, Washington, Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. That’s a very fancy name right there. And Vienna. Thank you so much for listening all over the world. We really, really appreciate that.

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I’m continuing on with our Summer Sessions where I talk about my travels from the last 10 months. I am finally back in Minnesota after spending three months in Korea. I am going to detail those adventures. Last week, I talked about my road trip to the Pacific Northwest and how that manifested some anxious attachment. And this week, I want to talk about my adventures in Puerto Vallarta and talk a little bit about how I was able to stretch the pizza dough of my comfort zone and take some calculated risks. So, in order to do that, I wanted to bring on a very special guest. We’ve had him on before, episode 51, where we talked about the pursuit of higher consciousness. He is a man who is no stranger to stretching out his pizza dough and taking calculated risks. Today’s guest is disenchanted former educator turned digital nomad, so welcome to the show, Dr. David DeMarkis.

David: Thank you. It’s good to be back. I’m excited.

Billy: Yeah. It’s really nice to see you, man. Where are you these days?

David: These days, I just came back from a month in Puerto Vallarta but I’m in the Northeast of the United States right now for wedding season so I’ll be out of state after I see a few of my friends tie the knot.

Billy: Ah, yes. I remember wedding season. Now, I’m older than you are, so wedding season for me was between the ages of like 24 and 28 and I just remember one summer, I had I think like 10 weddings and it was it was absolutely insane. So, is that what you’re experiencing now?

David: Well, I’m getting older so that was what I experienced. I’m 34 now but, yes, so it’s more of the tail end of my friends that are finally — but, yeah, in the 20s, it was wedding after wedding throughout the whole summer and into the fall now.

Billy: Are you planning your wedding? Because you too are engaged, correct?

David: Yeah, we’re taking a long road so we haven’t figured that out yet. We’re trying to enjoy each other and, as you know, you follow me on Instagram, we’re traveling a lot and there’s no set date right now and we like it that way.

Billy: I remember you talked about calendar freedom so it’s good to know that you’re even stressing that in your personal life.

David: Yes, I’m stressing that, yeah. I don’t want to go through life with a checklist. We’ll figure it out — we’ll cross that bridge when we get through it, yeah.

Billy: That’s right. That’s right. Trash the checklist, just like Dr. Yolanda and Tiffany Byrd suggests in episode 42. If you haven’t listened to that episode, go check that out. That is probably a top-five episode for me. I absolutely love that episode. So, it’s great to have you on, I’m glad you’re still living the life, I’m glad you’re still practicing what you preach. You are all about taking the calculated risk and stretching out the pizza dough of your comfort zone so I feel like having you on to talk about my experiences and you’ll share your experiences too in Mexico is perfect because I think that even going to Mexico, some people might view that as a risk in some way and I think because of the perception that Mexico unfortunately has, which the two of us having been in Mexico, I think is truly an unjust characterization.

David: Yeah, I would say so, especially there’s a lot of fear of, when you go to a place like Puerto Vallarta, getting off the resort. I think there’s a lot of fear that Americans have getting off the resort. Yes, you have to be safe and, yes, there are some stability issues within Mexico but I recommend getting off the resort as much as you can in a safe, calculated risk type of way. 

Billy: And I would say don’t even go to a resort. I didn’t stay at a resort. I had so many better experiences because I did not stay at a resort. I had so many better experiences because I was not on a cruise ship. There’s so much to offer in Puerto Vallarta. I just absolutely loved it. I put a lot of faith in the people there because the people that I encountered were truly some of the nicest people I have ever met anywhere on all of my travels. The people of Mexico just really enjoy life.

David: I love the people of Mexico. Actually, my fiancée is Mexican so she’s bilingual. She grew up in Sonora and we love the people there. It’s not just a stereotype. I think the people are genuinely nice and there’s actually this idea of customer service and then just being genuinely nice to one another that’s definitely embedded within the culture of Mexico. I love it there.

Billy: Do you speak Spanish?

David: No. Well, I speak a little — I could understand more than I could speak so I’m at that mute stage where I could understand the conversation and I could order food and get around but I can’t have a really in-depth conversation at this stage. But I understand a lot. 

Billy: How does that then impact your travels? Because you’re going to a lot of Spanish-speaking countries, like you’re going to Panama, you’re going to Peru with no return date here at any time, so how does that impact you? I mean, granted, you have your fiancée who speaks Spanish, but when you’re not with her, how does that impact travel? What sort of calculated risks do you take, maybe even as you’re communicating because that in itself is a risk?

David: Oh, absolutely. And one of the things is I don’t want to rely on her too much. That’s unfair to her experience if she’s translating all the time so she really pushes me to get out there and go grocery shopping on my own, do things on my own, and the biggest risk that I took is I actually got a gym membership at Gold’s Gym in Costa Rica when I was there and I had to really navigate how to speak Spanish to get that gym membership. It was like totally being tossed in the water, barely swimming, Spanglish back and forth, but I figured it out. I got a month or a three-week-long gym membership so that was the most difficult thing for me.

Billy: Good for you. Having been in Korea, especially for three months, I didn’t pick up nearly as much as maybe I would have liked but because I have such a desire to return to Korea, which we’ll talk about in later episodes, I do want to learn that language and having been to a Portuguese-speaking country and Spanish-speaking countries and a Korean-speaking country and my goal here is to go to Japan and Thailand and just to continue on, it makes me want to just pick up more conversational pieces so that I can communicate just a little bit more effectively. And there is a risk, there is a vulnerability when you are trying to speak a language that you’re not familiar with and it goes back to what I talked about in episode 39 too where people are so critical of others who don’t speak English if they’re from another country and it’s like, hold on a second, we’re so privileged that English is spoken all over? The fact that they are learning English and even attempting to speak English, as difficult as it may be, that in and of itself is a huge risk and we need to be patient with people as they take healthy risks.

David: Yeah, and what a humbling experience trying to speak another language and what I’ve seen is it’s really not an antagonistic situation. Normally, the people are very pleased that I’m trying to speak their language, very helpful in trying to get me through it, and also, like you said, we have the privilege of being Americans and English is spoken pretty widely around the world that they’re able to communicate with us so we have that privilege. I like the exchange back and forth, the cultural exchange and I think it’s just a humbling experience.

Billy: Well, you’re putting a lot of faith in other people too when you’re communicating with others in a language that maybe you’re not familiar with and I don’t know how you got around when you were down there but I relied a lot on Uber and there was another app that the locals were telling me about which really requires you to put some faith in others because what you do is you put a bid out there so you go on Uber to see how much the Uber drivers are charging, and then you go on this other app and then you put a bid out there that’s maybe just a little bit lower than what Uber is charging and then drivers who are out there using this app will either accept your bid or they’ll raise you, so I would always look for somebody who was within my bid. It’s not necessarily regulated, it’s kind of just average citizens out there driving people around.

David: Love it, yeah.

Billy: Yeah, but you had to put faith in like, okay, these people are going to get me to and fro and it’d be worthwhile checking out the Jordan Harbinger kidnapping story, we’ll try and link that in the show notes here, because he has been kidnapped not once, but twice. 

David: Wow, wow, yeah.

Billy: Yeah, so it’s wild to hear those stories but at no point in time did I feel like something was going to go down, like everybody was there and they were chatting me up who’s driving, I had one lady, she didn’t speak any English, I didn’t speak any Spanish but we talked the whole way using Google Translate and we laughed and we just really enjoyed each other’s company. And, again, I think that piece of connecting, like we didn’t know each other but we decided to take a risk and be like, you know what, I’m — actually, what I would do is I would put what I was going to say into the Google Translate and I would try and say it in Spanish and she just really responded to that so then she would speak Spanish into Google Translate and then I would be able to read it and it was just a really fun conversation. But, again, you’re just putting your faith in people that they’re going to do the right thing and I think we too oftentimes see so many new stories out there and there’s so much cynicism out there of people doing bad things and I guess I’m on the other side of that where I’m like I think the majority of the world has good intentions and I know the road to hell is paved with good intentions but I just really feel like there’s more good in the world than there is sinister.

David: Absolutely. We had a similar experience. We recently went to El Salvador and it was during a time where there was martial law in place because gang violence was at a high so there was this really, this fear and this nervousness that we had as Americans and even though my fiancée is from Mexico, we’ve never been to El Salvador. The experience was totally counter to what we saw on the news. The news is very sinister but when we were there, it was a very positive — actually one of our favorite countries that we visited because it was just a positive interaction the whole way.

Billy: A group of people that I had to put a lot of faith into was the group at Vallarta Adventures because I went ziplining — yeah, yeah.

David: Great people. They’re great people. I love it. They’re awesome.

Billy: They’re so much fun. I highly recommend doing any Vallarta Adventures tour. I mean, is it touristy? Yes. But it’s so much fun. It’s so much fun. I went ziplining. I don’t know if you went ziplining. 

David: I didn’t go ziplining there but I love ziplining.

Billy: That was my first time ziplining and they lightened the mood so much because I was nervous but it was like a rush of excitement mixed with nervousness and there was one time when they’re like, “Go ahead, you can flip upside down,” and I’m like, “What?” They’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, go ahead, flip upside down. Here’s how you’re gonna go,” and then they said, “You can let go of your hands,” and I’m like, “I’m not there yet.” That was one risk I did not take. That was one risk, I’m like I didn’t let go my hands but almost everybody else in the group, they went upside down and they just let go and they were just flying cross the canyon so it was wild and I was like, oh my gosh, like it was such an exhilarating rush. But then they also have — it’s also like a waterpark too. 

David: Oh, okay.Yeah. I didn’t get to go there.

Billy: Yeah, you’re going down these huge slides and I don’t do well on swing sets, like that motion alone, yeah, that motion alone does not sit well with me so when we took those dips, they were hard dips, and I was like, ugh, my stomach was in my chest and that sort of thing, but that exhilaration, once you got off of it, you’re just like, “Oh, that was awesome. That was so awesome,” and I even felt good about parasailing so I got to give a shout out to my guys Alfredo and Marco, two of the nicest human beings on the face of the earth. They are over at Vallarta Parasailing. If you want to go parasailing, Vallarta Parasailing, ask for Alfredo, ask for Marco, tell them Billy from The Mindful Midlife Crisis Podcast sent you because they are the nicest dudes. I mean, you want to talk about positive vibes and feeling like you’re in good hands, these guys will take great care of you because when you land, they catch you. That is not what I expected. I thought, when I’ve seen parasailing, I’ve seen people get reeled in. No, no, no. They catch you on the beach. 

David: That’s insane, man.

Billy: You want to talk about putting faith in people? Oh my gosh, and it’s funny because I have video on our Instagram, if people want to go check it out, and I was recalling the conversation that we had with Anna Schlegel and Kolin Purcell about breathwork and I am audibly saying, “Deep breathing. Deep breathing,” because I’m like — oh, it’s a blast. It’s so much fun. I highly encourage everybody to go to Vallarta Parasailing. I’ll link that in the show notes too and I’ll link Vallarta Adventures. I don’t know about you but, for me, Mexico was all about adventure. I don’t know if you’ve had that same experience.

David: Absolutely. I think we did three excursions with Vallarta Adventures. So, we did three. So I did two sunset cruises. I liked it so much the first time, I did it a second time. It was awesome. They were amazing. They give you all you could drink and they have little snacks that you can eat and you get to watch a beautiful sunset out on the bay there, it’s beautiful, and then I did with Rhythms of the Night. I think you mentioned that you did Rhythms of the Night too.

Billy: Yeah, Rhythms of the Night is a blast. It’s so much fun. You take a sunset cruise out to this isolated island and then it’s like the show Survivor where they have tiki torches and they lead you into this buffet and the buffet is five-star. It’s so delicious.

David: I saw some reviews, some people on their reviews, they’re really mean on these reviews. They said the food wasn’t good. I thought the food was awesome. I thought the experience was awesome. I thought the service was awesome. 

Billy: It was fantastic. The food was so delicious. The food is delicious. So whoever these people are, they sound — you sound a little hoity toity and maybe you just need to step back because it was fantastic. And then the performance of Rhythms of the Night, like you want to talk about taking risks, the performers, it’s like Cirque du Soleil in Mexico but they’re all over the place. They are flying high, just like you want to talk about putting your faith in making sure everything goes according to plan. I actually met the director of choreography and we talked a little bit about it, yeah, and props to you, Cynthia, for this endeavor that you are currently on because she does such a great job of directing the choreography of it. It’s a fantastic show. And then when you go back, the boat turns into a club and it’s just an all —

David: Party all the way back. Everyone, I mean, everyone was partying all the way back. I had a great time.

Billy: Oh, it’s so much fun. I cannot recommend Rhythms of the Night. I even had locals recommend Rhythms of the Night to me because it was a good time. 

David: Yeah, I had some locals recommended it too. And, normally, you talked about doing touristy things, normally, touristy things are demonized so I hesitate. I’m like, “Oh, I don’t wanna do the touristy things. I wanna be with the locals. I wanna do what the locals do.” But this was a case where I was proven wrong, like this was the most exciting, spectacular show that I’ve ever — I mean, mind blowing. Totally stimulating. There’s fire going on over here, there’s people that are like near death over there. It’s like acrobats. People are flying all over the damn place. It was a great experience. Everybody loved it that went with me too. I wasn’t alone.

Billy: Well, on a much smaller scale, I went cliff jumping by the waterfalls. Yeah, I went to Palo Maria Waterfalls and there’s an easy one to get to but I had to take the bus to get there and then, luckily, there was a guy from England there named Adam and he actually spends quite a bit of time in Mexico and he loves Puerto Vallarta and he was with his girlfriend, Wincey, so they knew where they were going into this trail to the waterfalls and when we got there, it was beautiful and people were jumping off the cliff and I’m like, “Well, I gotta do this.” I’ve never cliff jump before —

David: You’ve never done it?

Billy: No, and what’s crazy is you look at it from the side and you’re like, “Oh, that’s not that high,” but when you get up there, it’s like, “This is way higher than I anticipated.”

David: Now I’m wondering if we did the same one because I did one where you climb up this little ladder. Was it that one? Was it up a ladder or was it just off the side of a cliff?

Billy: So you must have found the hidden waterfalls at Palo Maria because there are two of them. So there’s like the main waterfall but then there’s another one that Adam knew about and Adam didn’t want to tell the other people there because he just wanted it all to ourselves. So, we climbed up this ladder and then we had to shimmy across the side of this rock face using a rope and then all of a sudden we got to this other one and we were swimming around in there and that one was a little bit higher. That one had a couple different levels to it. But when we were at the first one, there was a dude that jumped from, oh my gosh, it must have been at least 30 feet high, like he jumped off a cliff that was —

David: Wow. That’s too much for me. 

Billy: I did the 10-foot one and I’m like, “That’s good enough.” 

David: That’s how I feel, yeah.

Billy: Yeah, that was good enough. I mean, it was wild because, like I said, I hadn’t done anything like that before and it was really, really cool. And Adam actually became my go-to for hanging out because he very much has this laidback adventure vibe like you and I just really appreciated that. So he and I went paddleboarding through the caves at Los Arcos. Did you do anything over by Los Arcos?

David: I went kayaking but we couldn’t go out all the way to Los Arcos but I think it was Playa Mismaloya or whatever.

Billy: Yeah, Playa Mismaloya.

David: Yeah, yeah. We went kayaking out there. We actually saw a shark while we were out there on a dual kayak. We got terrified. A shark came up, it’s a real shark — Yeah, not a dolphin, not exaggerating, we saw a shark, it really freaked out my fiancée so instead of doing a two-hour tour, we did a one-hour tour and went back to land.

Billy: That’s wild.

David: I was fine but she was freaked because she saw it closer. She saw it more than I did. I caught it out of the corner of my eye but she saw the whole damn shark. Yeah. Terrified. Yeah.

Billy: I’ve often wondered how I would respond to seeing like a whale or a shark or even like a dolphin if I was out paddleboarding. Those thoughts have definitely crossed my mind when I’ve been paddleboarding in the ocean, like how would I respond to this? Because I’ve seen videos of octopus climbing on the paddleboards and clinging on to them. What a nightmare that would be. I don’t know how I’d respond to that.

David: Yeah, the ocean’s a terrifying place. Seeing a shark, it wasn’t even — it was like a foot away from us, a shark a foot away, so she was freaked out and we ended up heading back.

Billy: I don’t blame you. I don’t blame you one bit. So when Adam and I actually got back from paddleboarding, there was a woman there by herself and her name is Kate, she lives in southern Washington and she was just looking for a place to eat and we were like, “You know, you can have lunch with us if you want, we’re normal, we’re not creepy,” and so she was like, “Uh, okay,” so then we ended up having this awesome conversation with her because she was there with friends for a bachelorette party but she was just out doing her own thing, you could just tell that was the vibe that she had, like she had no problem doing her own thing. She was very confident in what she was doing and she talked about how excited she was to see her husband who’s coming back from his military service overseas and it was very cool to hear her talk about the emotion around getting to see him because when she got back, I think he was going to be coming back the next day. She was very, very excited about that. And it was just one of those momentary connections that that I made that I’ll never forget Kate because she’s such a badass and she’s so fascinating as a person to talk to and I’m glad I asked her to join us for lunch and I’m glad she trusted two random dudes enough to be like, “Okay, these guys seem harmless.” I wonder if your fiancée thinks about this too or if you think about this because you speak to women who travel alone, sadly, they often have to take far more precautions. So, hopefully, that means that Adam and I came off as genuinely friendly. I mean, talk about a little bit — what concerns does Mari have?

David: Mari, she’s a bold personality herself and she can handle her own but she does mention that — I actually had a conversation with her and my entire family so my mother and my father, we’re out there, and my sister-in-law also came out because it was Mari’s birthday, that’s why we were in Puerto Vallarta, and all of them, three women and then one older man had concerns about safety so I think there’s a lot of precaution that women have to take that I don’t necessarily understand from a man’s worldview. But what they said is that it’s kind of nice. They said that they felt comfortable traveling with me as a younger man being able to — so there’s that comfort zone of being the travel as a couple, a larger man like myself so like I’m kind of their bouncer when I’m out there, you know what I mean? I’m a deterrent, I’m a crime deterrent, yeah. But she definitely has those fears and those reservations.

Billy: Yeah. And I think you hit it on the head here when you say there’s things that we don’t necessarily have to think about. So I went wandering off on my own a couple times and I walked around a Pitillal, which is a barrio over there, and I think when people hear the word “barrio,” they get this misconception in their head. Barrio just means neighborhood so Pitillal is a neighborhood over in Puerto Vallarta and it was a very authentic local experience and I wanted to do that because I wanted to get away from the tourists because I think those local areas, those are things that tourists maybe take for granted and I think they forget that everyday citizens live in these towns, like you think about Venice, everyday citizens live in Venice and are just trying to make a living like anyone else, but because they’re not close to the tourist attractions, we as guests miss out on really cool authentic experiences with the locals.

David: Absolutely. And Puerto Vallarta and other places in Mexico, the street food is phenomenal. The street food’s phenomenal outside of the touristy areas. So I recommend going into those barrios and really enjoying the people, be safe but also enjoy the great street food and authentic experiences you can get in those places.

Billy: Yeah, I went to a place called Tacos Candoras and I got it four tacos for 80 pesos, which is less than $4. So I got four of the best — they were huge tacos. I think I got beef tacos and they had beans on them, they had rice on them, they had coleslaw on them. You can have the best kind of sauce that you wanted on them. You can make them as huge as you want. And they were delicious. They were absolutely spectacular.

David: Absolutely. We had a similar experience. I think it was 22 American dollars for 20 tacos, three Cokes, and a water, and it was the best tacos al pastor I’ve ever had. So I’ve traveled throughout Mexico, my girlfriend’s Mexican, we had the best tacos al pastor in Sayulita, which is a little further north in Puerto Vallarta. Twenty-two dollars. In inflation, right? I came back to the States, I’m like, “Why do I have to pay this? Why do I have to go to the grocery store and pay this? Like I could be in Mexico right now and get 20 tacos for $22.” It was crazy. It was crazy. The money goes further down there and it also does help their economy so it helps the locals too.

Billy: To me, that’s what I think people who are doing cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts are missing out. I went and visited a friend who was at an all-inclusive resort and, I mean, yeah, you get a lot of food there and it’s all there but I wasn’t drinking at the time and I know you don’t drink so —

David: Yeah, I don’t drink.

Billy: — you get your money back, I feel like, in the alcohol and so if you’re not drinking, it’s really not worth it. And if you are drinking and you’re just there, then you’re missing out on a lot of really cool, authentic experiences when you’re doing those cruise ships and the all-inclusive resorts.

David: Yeah. I think there’s a time and a place for that. I prefer the adventurous type but I do do cruises and resorts. It’s now self-care time so I’m not drinking —

Billy: Oh, okay. 

David: — I’m not doing excursions, and I’m just going to the pool and I’m lifting so it’s like a fitness vacation for when I go to the resorts. Because you don’t have to cook for yourself, you get to go to the buffet — like you can eat semi-healthy at these resorts, you can eat healthy, and I’ve changed that perception. It’s not a time to drink and get drunk and go crazy, it’s a resort for fitness and self-care and just time for myself.

Billy: I like that reframe right there. And I will say this, if people are like, “Billy’s bringing on this guy who must be making all this money,” go back to episode 51 and listen to how Dr. David got to this point because it’s a journey. I mean, you have cultivated this experience for yourself and I think that is really what taking risk is all about and stretching out that pizza dough of your comfort zone. You’re living it, man, like you’re doing it, which is amazing. 

David: Yeah, this whole lifestyle is a risk for somebody who comes from where I come from. Not a lot of people come from where I come from and do this. But, yeah, I do it and I do it thrifty. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have fun at these locations. In fact, you could do it on the cheap.

Billy: One other local experience that I had is that I went salsa dancing for the first time. 

David: Hey, how was that?

Billy: It was so much fun. I took swing dance lessons when I was in college because I wanted to impress a lady. 

David: That’s great. 

Billy: I took six swing dance lessons and I still kind of have that in my head, which really messes with you when you’re trying to learn a different style of dance. Like salsa dance, I sort of got it. I mean I was not good, let’s be very clear on this. I wasn’t good. I was not good but I had fun. And I would go back and do it again. And here’s the thing. I like dancing. I really enjoy dancing, but I kind of like doing the free flow of dancing where I don’t have any choreography. When I get choreography assigned to me, then things go awry.

David: I’m like the big dude in Footloose, I’m terrible, man. I’m not even joking, because my fiancée is trying to teach me cumbia. I could do a little merengue. Salsa’s way out of my league so I commend you for trying that, man.

Billy: It was a lot of fun. 

David: I love to go too. I love it. It’s great. It’s freeing. It can be freeing, even if you’re doing it — you can’t do the steps or the moves, it’s a freeing experience, I think. 

Billy: The reason why I went is because I met this older woman, she’s a real estate agent who lives in Kansas City and her name is Ophelia, she’s just absolutely wonderful but then she also does real estate in Puerto Vallarta and I just happened to be at lunch one day and I overheard her talking to another older couple who had bought down there and so they were talking about the market so it piqued my curiosity and so I’m talking to her and she threw out the invitation like, “Hey, you know what? You sound like a nice young man. Why don’t you come and go salsa dancing with us tomorrow night?” and I’m like, oh, go salsa dancing with a bunch of people who are maybe a little bit older than I am and like this salsa dancing is stuff that I’ve never done before, but I was like, you know what, I’m here for this kind of experience. I’m here to meet people. I don’t care how old or how young they are. And we had a blast. It was so much fun hanging out with that group and I need to send this episode to Ophelia so she knows how much I really genuinely appreciated meeting her because you want to talk about someone who is full of life and someone who really just embraces all the goodness in the world, that is Ophelia, and I just want to thank her for that. So let’s do this. We’re going to take a quick break and then when we come back, we’re going to talk about some of the non-adventure ways I was stretching my comfort zone and we’ll continue talking to Dr. David DeMarkis about what he’s doing and what he’s got on the horizon for stretching out his comfort zone as well. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. 

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And now, let’s take a minute to be present with our breath. If you’re listening somewhere safe and quiet, close your eyes and slowly inhale…for four, three, two, one. Hold…for seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Slowly exhale…for eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Let’s do that one more time. Inhale…for four, three, two, one. Hold…for seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Slowly exhale…for eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Go ahead and open your eyes. You feel better? We certainly hope so. And now, back to the show.

Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I’m here with Dr. David DeMarkis. We’re talking about our adventures in Puerto Vallarta, not together, but we went visited here recently and we’re talking about ways that this Puerto Vallarta trip stretched out the pizza dough of my comfort zone where we took calculated risks. Dr. Demarkis has talked about the calculated risks that he has taken and how he stretched out the pizza dough of his comfort zone in episode 51. You can go back and take a listen to that, The Pursuit of Higher Consciousness. So, I talked in the last episode about just where I was mentally and the gray area, it was a dark gray area, for sure, that I was navigating at that time and I was really doing the best I could to network with people so that I could figure out what it was that I wanted to do and I took a lot of Zoom meetings during that time, like I took a Zoom meeting with Klatch which is this online learning system and I thought maybe I would do something with that and I haven’t followed through on that. I met with my friend, Betsy, to plan out some mindfulness sessions for her company and it just wasn’t the right time for that and I wasn’t in the headspace for that. I had a zoom call with my friend Mike about, hey, maybe there’s an opportunity for me back in Minnesota but that didn’t feel right either and I’ll explain more about why that didn’t feel right later on in the season. And we did our interviews with Christine Chang and we did our interviews with Brian Gallagher during that time and I had my one on one with Brian Gallagher where he slapped me in the face with a “You need to get clear on what it is that you want” and that was really the first time that that sunk in with me. And, for months, I’ve just really floundered and didn’t follow through with things, but the one risk that I did end up taking was I registered for Gloria Chou’s Small Business PR Program. If you don’t follow Gloria Chou, please do. She is just a treasure for all you small business owners out there. She has courses about how to market your small business and how to construct PR for your small business. She is just a wonderful, wonderful human being working hard for the little man and the little woman out there who are trying to make a difference with whatever they’re trying to sell. And I finally just handed over the money because I was like, okay, this is something that I feel, if I’m going to continue to attempt to grow this podcast, this is me investing in the podcast. It was really one of the first times that I invested in the podcast and then the other time that we invested in the podcast is we built our websites. We reached out to Alessandro in Italy and he did a great job of constructing our website. So those were two big financial risks that I took because, all total, that was over $2,000 in order to do those two things, and when you’re traveling, you’re on a budget.

David: Oh, yeah. $2,000, yeah. $2,000 goes a long way when you’re traveling. That’s a couple plane tickets, that’s a place to stay. Yeah. 

Billy: In Mexico, that was two months. That was two months’ rent with a handful of tacos on top of that too. Taking that financial risk, admittedly, I haven’t done enough yet with that PR program, because I didn’t exactly know what direction we were going with this but what’s exciting, and I’ve previewed this before and I’m going to preview it all summer, is that my friend Jill and I are cooking up something spicy for those people out there looking to develop awareness of thoughts and behaviors through self-reflection in order to cultivate a more fulfilled life. So, be sure everybody stays tuned for that because we have something big coming up. We’re very excited for that. That sounds interesting to you, Dr. DeMarkis?

David: Oh, that sounds absolutely interesting so send me that information. I’d love to follow up.

Billy: Absolutely. Absolutely.

David: I’m interested. I’m in. Yeah, I’m interested.

Billy: Good deal. Good deal. I feel like you’ve got the experience, you might have to be a guest in that course we offer —

David: Absolutely, yeah. Let me know.

1; So I’m curious, how many times have you been somewhere and it just felt so right that you’re like, “You know what, let’s extend for a few more days, a few more weeks”?

David: Oh, wow. Yeah. So that happens a lot because I think every place that I’ve been so far this year, so I’ve been to five different countries. I’ve been to the Dominican, I’ve been to Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and Costa Rica, and in all of those places, I didn’t extend my time there because I had scheduled stuff to get back to, that’s one thing that’s — you think you have calendar freedom but you don’t always have calendar freedom and I would have loved to extend every single stay, especially in Puerto Vallarta, man. I could have stayed there forever.

Billy: Yeah, and for someone who is very structured in his mentality, I’m like, okay, I’m going to be here from the 7th through the 24th and then I’m leaving these last four days because I had something that I was looking forward to the last four days and it didn’t work out or it was unclear that it was going to happen so I was like, you know what, I’m going to stay through the end of February. So I extended it an extra four days and, in those four days, I met my lovely new friend Anna and I had the time of my life at Rhythms of the Night because if I had an extended it, that was my last night in Puerto Vallarta was Rhythms of the Night so it was a great thing that I extended it because, otherwise, I would have missed out on that amazing evening and I won’t have met the director of choreography, Cynthia, and I got to hear her amazing story. She’s traveled and performed all over the world with the actual Cirque du Soleil group so it was really cool getting to know them and meeting these people and I met a lot of really cool people on the Rhythms of the Night boat trip as well. And the past 10 months, I don’t have a lot of regrets, but not extending my time another three weeks in Puerto Vallarta is definitely a regret that I have because I was just beginning to develop more meaningful relationships with the people I had met down there, like Adam, and it’s actually a good reminder, I need to reconnect with Adam because I’m sure he’s back in London right now but he’s just such a good dude. And Alfredo, I sent him a message today because I wasn’t sure if you were going to be able to make it on and Brian wasn’t able to make it and I’m like, “Oh, you know, Alfredo would be great to have on here too,” because, I mean, like I said, Alfredo from Vallarta Parasailing, that’s the dude that you want to hang out with. He’s just got so much joy and so much happiness and every time — I would see him all the time on the beach because that’s where you would parasail so I would see him all the time and he was always like, “Hey, Billy, how’s it going?” and Marco who is one of his colleagues over there, they were just so excited to see me and I was so excited to see them that it was kind of sad when I had to leave them behind. And the same for Anna, it was really sad to leave her behind. I would have liked to gotten to know Cynthia a little bit more. I met Christine from the Shamanic Yoga Institute. She was extremely fascinating. And, unfortunately, like I felt pulled back to Minnesota to resolve some of that anxious attachment that I had discussed in last week’s episode about my road trip to the Pacific Northwest and it’s one of those things where it’s like I wonder how the trajectory of my life would be different had I stayed those extra three weeks. And as I look back on it now and where I am, in terms of how complete and how clear I am, I think now is when that saying “Everything happens for a reason” is applicable. I hate when people say everything happens for a reason when you’re in the moment, because that only exacerbates my anxiety more. In fact, there’s a great — I can’t remember who the guest is but there’s a Jordan Harbinger episode, I love the Jordan Harbinger show, it’s definitely worth your time checking out. I can’t remember who the guest is but she talks about how saying things like that to people who are anxious, like everything happens for a reason, it only makes things worse for them. It’s like telling somebody to calm down. It’s just a Minnesota nice way of saying calm down. No, not everything happens for a reason, dammit. In this moment —

David: It’s not great advice in the moment, yeah. It’s good reflective advice but not in the moment, yeah.

Billy: Right, right. Yeah, and I actually wrote about that in one of the newsletters and if you’re not subscribed to the newsletter, go to and click on Contact, you can sign up for the newsletter. We’ll send you our weekly meditations too because, as I tell people, I meditate so I can be this high intensity, so I can be this level of intensity, and you and I are similar and Brian falls into this camp too where we’re very high energy, we’re very high intensity, so we have to have these self-regulating techniques because if we didn’t, we would be running in the red all the time.

David: Absolutely. I crash. That’s one of the things I’ve been working on. Even with this travel schedule, like you’re making me think about, I’m booking, booking, booking, I’m structuring it even though when I’m talking about calendar freedom, so I’m pushing myself so I need that reflective space and kind of an introverted space and a place of solitude to recharge my social battery and then come back with high octane energy that I bring in social settings. 

Billy: Brian and I joked about this in the last episode too where we’re like there’s a reason this is called The Mindful Midlife Crisis, it’s because we’re navigating this midlife crisis but we’re trying to do it mindfully, we’re trying to do it with awareness so that we’re calling to attention those moments when we do freak out because, that way, we don’t allow that tornado of negativity to sweep us up to where we get completely carried away with our behaviors or we project our insecurities and our inferiorities on to others. We can recognize, “Oh, hey, wait, I’m kind of being an asshole right now,” or, “I’m allowing myself to get wrapped up in this narrative of negativity that I’m saying about myself so I’m gonna interrupt that and I’m gonna reframe it,” because I feel like it’s so important for us to be able to do that so that we eliminate these self-limiting beliefs about ourselves so that we can then start doing things that stretch out the pizza dough of our comfort zone and we can start taking these more calculated risks.

David: Yeah, absolutely, and I think anyone in this space, call it a midlife crisis, call it an existential crisis, anyone in this space really needs that reflective time because there are moments of anxiety and there are moments of like, “Why am I here and what am I doing? Why do I exist?” and those are terrifying questions to ask yourself and you can’t really navigate those without reflection and without that space.

Billy: Yeah, and that’s why I’m grateful for the time that I did have back in Minnesota. I definitely spent far too many weeks in Minnesota the last two months during the winter months. 

David: Yes, oh, yeah. Brutal, yeah.

Billy: It was time to get away. I should have done a better job of planning to be away from Minnesota during the winter months, but for whatever reason, that’s just how things worked out but I’m so grateful for what we call here Minnesota nice. I mean, I said before that there’s passive aggressiveness to Minnesota nice but there’s also a genuineness to Minnesota nice and that was something that I experienced during my time back home. So, next week, I’m going to share with everybody why the small town of Crosby, Minnesota, should be your next summer vacation. We’re going to have my friends Mitch and Jenn who graciously let me stay at their Airbnb for two weeks during that time. As someone who grew up in a small town and doesn’t particularly enjoy being in that small town, Crosby, Minnesota, was really a safe haven for me and I can’t wait to share my experiences with everybody about that. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you like and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, follow us on Instagram at @mindful_midlife_crisis. Go to our website,, sign up for our newsletter under Contact. You can also send us a message there or you can email us at We really appreciate everybody tuning in. Dr. David DeMarkis, I really appreciate you filling in for Brian on the bass today. This was a lot of fun to reconnect with you, man.

David: Hey, man, I loved it. I had a great time. I’m always here if you need somebody to hop on the show.

Billy: So for Dr. David, for Brian, this is Billy, thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care, friends.

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