In Pictures: Vallarta

A bit of a rant, and then some pictures.

In Pictures: Vallarta

Hey folks 👋

I have a difficult time explaining what exactly I do around here. Writer, I guess? But that doesn’t sound quite right. My inner imposter lets out a nice chuckle whenever I dare assume that title.

Plus, I often find myself with a finger on a shutter button these days. I’ve been taking pictures and sharing them on Instagram for a few years now, but the true ascetic practice of photography is still a very new undertaking for me. It’s been a fun journey, and it fits well with my ethos of having ample time ambling about a foreign locale and observing without an agenda.

For what feels like an eternity, I’ve been trying (and failing) to merge the sharing of my writing and photography. The two have never really felt in sync. I’d try to put some writing in the Instagram captions, but hardly anyone reads those, so I felt doing so cheapened the words. The pictures are more frequent, and the writing is slower and more deliberate. And don’t even get me started on Reels. The whole landscape has made me feel like I have two different personas online, one on Instagram and one here on Substack.

I bet most people would agree that social media (and the internet writ large) feels like a dumpster fire. My blood pressure rises within minutes of scrolling through whatever feed. So, I’ve found myself opening and posting less frequently. The closest thing I’ve been dabbling with is Threads, which feels maybe(?) better but still mostly bums me out. The Fediverse might save us, but for now, I’ve been enjoying the reclamation of my time.

So that got me thinking—maybe now is the time I can finally merge my split online personalities? I have so many photos from my travels that haven’t been shared because I’ve been too busy trying to make short-form videos for the algorithm gods. Plus, I know not everyone has the time or desire to read 2,000 words on some local hooch in the mountains of Jalisco, Mexico (but please do!).

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is I want to feature more photography in the newsletter. Is that cool with you? Since we’ve been talking about raicilla lately, I figured we’d stay in Puerto Vallarta.

Vallarta, In Pictures

If you’re new around here, check out my first two pieces about raicilla, a type of mezcal local to Jalisco, Mexico. The folks making it, the raicilleros, live up in the mountains outside of Puerto Vallarta and grapple with the same questions we all are right now—how do we industrialize but steward the environment? How can we balance progress and preservation?

I still have one or two parts left to round out the series, so stay tuned!