Are you looking for a way to enjoy the beauty, flavors and fun of Mexico with a familiar, Iowa twist?
Look no further than My Trish Advisor, a company started by Siouxland native and current resident of Puerto Morelos, Mexico, Trisha Kirstein (daughter of Tuxedo Rose's rose lady, Pam Long). Kirstein started this company after falling in love with Mexico on a vacation and she wants to share the amazing things that country has to offer with other visitors.
"I moved away from Sioux City in 2002 to California, where I lived for eight years," said Kirstein. "I then moved to New York City and was there for four years before moving to San Diego. Living in San Diego, I started getting really curious about Mexico. I decided to go there by myself because nobody wanted to go. I wanted to try jetpacking over water. In San Diego the jetpack experience was $250, but in Mexico it was only $100. That was my deciding point. That first time, I was only going to stay one night, but ended up driving to Rosarito and spending three nights."
At that point, the country had already captivated her and she fell in love with the place. Even though she had a really good job (monetarily) in San Diego, she decided to go down to visit Mexico again. While there, some of her friends from south of the border said they were going to drive to Cancun, and she decided to go with them on their journey.
"I knew that even though I was making good money with outside sales at a construction company, that wasn't everything," said Kirstein. "That's a big part of my story. We get so caught up with money, but it isn't really important. I left a job where I was making $130,000 a year and I ended up driving across 18 states in Mexico with four dogs, six people and two cars before finishing the drive in Cancun."
She wasn't without apprehensions about stigmas attached to Mexico before she went.
"I was deathly afraid, and that is where a lot of my anxiety stemmed from," she said. "I started to get over that fear after I had had an apartment in Tijuana. That apartment was $200 a month and it was huge, while my apartment in San Diego was $850 and small. I learned that Mexico wasn't that scary."
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She even says that her health has improved due to her time in Mexico eating non-processed foods.
"The people there can all cook, I swear," said the trip advisor. "Because of the lack of processed food and hormones, I even feel healthier than when I lived in the U.S. Here, fast food is pushed on us all the time. There, if you want fast food, you go to a taco stand."
My Trish Advisor came about after Kirstein had been selling fine art at Now Jade Resort in Cancun. One day she kept getting messages from concerned friends in the U.S. about a travel warning being issued for Mexico. She was outraged and wanted to show that there was nothing to worry about while traveling to that country. That was the first of her videos that went viral on YouTube, and since then she has posted many more, with a growing following.
"I was so angry when I heard about the travel advisory that I went to a taco stand to make a video," she said. "I said that I was by myself at a taco stand in the dangerous part of Mexico and I'm fine. Don't change or cancel your travel plans to Mexico just because there is an advisory. Just like in the U.S., it depends on who you get involved with, but we have beautiful culture and beautiful food, etc. I woke up the next day and the video had 20,000 views."
She mentioned another news story from the U.S. she watched that was reporting about dead bodies on a Cancun beach. She said she noticed that in a photo used in the story, the sand on the beach was yellow, whereas Cancun's sand is white. In ten minutes of research, she said she learned the photo wasn't taken in Cancun or even in Mexico. In other words, the report about dead bodies on a Cancun beach wasn't true.
The mission of My Trish Advisor is to encourage people to travel to Mexico and experience it for themselves instead of from what they see while on the couch watching TV. Kirstein doesn't personally go on the trip with you due to increasing business (unless you pay an extra fee), but her service guides you to amazing locations for food, sights, adventure and relaxation.
"I want to be a guide for people without having to actually be there," she said. "We are creating a map system with my logo so they can see these amazing locations. I'm basically creating my own Yelp. People want to get out of the resorts and see sights without being scared, so I want to be their digital guide. I've set up bachelor parties, birthdays, weddings; groups are what I love, but I also love to encourage solo female travel."
Some of the fan favorites from My Trish Advisor are snorkeling, visiting the underground river system in Cenotes and visiting the Mayan ruins of Chiza Itza. Just don't expect to swim with caged dolphins, because Kirstein believes it is morally wrong to cage these beautiful beasts for the pleasure of people. She also donates a portion of proceeds to an animal rescue.
"Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and try something new," said Kirstein. "Do what you want to do without the pressures of what other people tell you. You can see many of the adventures My Trish Advisor recommends on www.mymexicoadventure.com. www.MyTrishAdvisor.com is basically the map. Eat, stay and play. Also, eat more tacos!"