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Mar 29, 2015

Hola From Mexico!

Earlier this month, I went on vacation to Playa del Carmen in Mexico with my parents.

For those of you who have never been to this part of the world, imagine a postcard of beautiful tropical beaches surrounded by jungle, coral reef, and Mayan Ruins. That would just about scrape the surface of how beautiful this place is.

As far as people go, you can’t do much better then those living in the Yucatán Peninsula. They possess a sense of honesty, humility and earnestness unlike any community I have lived in. I have a very special place in my heart for these people.

I was at a tequila bar in Mérida talking with a friend about Phlearn when all of the sudden the kid behind the bar spoke up and said, “Did I just hear you say you teach Photoshop?”

I said, “Yeah, I do. Check out Phlearn.com, we teach Photoshop for free.”

You should have seen the smile on this kid’s face. It turns out that he works at the bar to pay rent, but his real passion is design. He has already learned Java online, and now wants to learn Photoshop so he can become a designer.

Alejandro Gomez is a young man with a dream and a plan. In the next year, he will quit his bartending job and start taking jobs as a graphic artist and web designer.

For Alejandro’s life in Mexico, learning Photoshop could mean a HUGE pay increase and a higher standard of living.

We talked for a while about the employment opportunities in that part of the world. Most of the work is tough, manual labor but if you can speak English well, and have some computer skills, you can get a decent job.

Before leaving I made sure to get his email address so I could send him some free tutorials.

This encounter with Alejandro was one of the highlights of my trip for a few reasons. It reminded me of when I first started learning Photoshop and carved a career out of a passion. I saw the same passion in Alejandro’s eyes and it inspired me. It also reminded me how fortunate I am and how much has been given to me in the process of carving out a career. Being able to share a little of what I have the way others have shared with me was real honor.

Good luck to Alejandro and to everyone with a dream and a plan.

123 Comments


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    Lorenzo

    Iguanas eat insects when young and after are mostly vegetarian (their staple is leaves and flowers). They have much more to fear from humans as some people consider them to be “organic” aphrodisiacs. They are shy animals and at worst make noise – a kind of bark- to warn you and will only bite if you try to stick your fingers in their mouth but hey! they warned you! They love to sunbathe and are great swimmers.

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    Scott

    Great story. Nice to know that we are all not just a “customer”. Thanks!

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    gale

    Love love phlearn and you guys. Have a fantastic trip! Put your electronics down and enjoy yourself. cool pics, by the way ?

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    Ernie

    That first pose with the marquesita could be used as an example of how not to pose for a picture. Great shots – enjoyed them all especially that one. Good story as well.

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    Vladimir Ambia

    Aaron (insert spanish accent) , you really are truly a joy to watch and I have learned a lot from your tutorials, payed and free ones. I am a huge fan!

    Vladimir

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    Paul

    Great to see you having a great time with the folks. You deserve a good break with all the hard work you put in at Phlearn! 🙂

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    Suzy

    So nice !! You really seem to appreciate your trip and have a lot of fun! Been there a few times and always fun to go and party !! Here is a shot I made t that I was not able to resist, while I was on the street shopping (again 😉 . Love that funny face and he was so please when I asked him if he would let me do a nice shot 😉

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    Sean

    Awesome! I lived in Bolivia for two years and loved the people there. Made some great memories at the time but knew nothing about photography. Love your work and the way you teach! Thanks again for helping others realize thier dreams Mr Nace!

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    Ivan I. Acuña

    Really cool! I’m from San Luis, Mexico, glad to know you enjoyed your vacations here… Greetings, hope you come back soon… BTW I’m a big fan of yours, keep doing your awesome tutorials & being such a great person.

    PD: I don’t speak english very well so excuse me…

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    Will

    Cool Story Aaron. I traveled a lot through Central and South America and it’s truly eye opening to see how they live, especially outside of the major cities. In Managua I saw a shanty town where hundreds of families were living in shacks they built from corrugated metal and other stuff they found, all around a communal water source. It really makes you think about how lucky you are to be born in the U.S. and how small our everyday problems are by comparison. “First world problems” might be a meme, but it hit home with me.

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    John Olivo

    Great pictures and company. I’ve never been to the that part of Mexico but have always wanted to. Your mom and dad I’m sure had more fun then you (talking from a parents point of view) I can say that because going places with my kids doesn’t get any better in life. Next month we’re traveling 400 miles to the Star Wars celebration in L.A. and that’s all I think about.
    Wish you and your parents the best

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    Alejandro

    Building on the momentum of this story should boost Spanish or subtitled tutorials to facilitate this learning … and last win more subscribers … Well, in my humble opinion … another of Mexico Alejandro …

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    Nubia

    Looks like you had a great time. I love your monkeying around on that tree, we missed the jump photo. Your parents seem to be having as much fun as you, lovely parents you have.

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    Jack Zeman

    We love everything that you share with us, Aaron!! All the Best to you!!!

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    Nubia

    Hi Aaron,

    I went straight to the photos and missed your inspiring letter. Just by watching you on the tutorials, it is obvious you are a very nice, generous and fun young man. You take the time to help others learn your great talent, and as with the mexican guy you met, really go the extra mile to do it. I am sure that Alejandro Gomez will be successful and will always remember and thank you.
    I have a very creative photographer friend who makes wonderful unreal composites. When I mentioned you he of course knew who you were. I think he actually follows you. I just do simpler things in PS, not technical or computer savvy, more into landscape, people and nature. But I greatly enjoy the casual manner in which you create your magic and how much you enjoy doing it. You make it look so easy, when it really requires a great deal of knowledge. Thanks for enriching my photography scope. I can probably speak for many people.

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    Joshua Bailey

    Fun photos mate. Lol @ the tree and tourist ones. I thought you were vegan 😛

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    Jerry

    Hey Aaron,
    That looks like you and your parents had a great trip. Also cudo’s to you for the inspiration you’ve given to Alejandro and many others. Keep up the great work! I’ll send you some of my Astro images after I edit them with CS6.
    Take care,
    Jerry

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    Damian

    Hi Aaron!

    Playa Del Carmen is AMAZING! It’s been years and I am itching to go back. My Girlfriend and I enjoyed walking Quinta ave (5th ave) and hitting 100% Natural or the Blue Parrot for food; Heck, just about all of the food stops were great! We also visited Xcaret (which was great), Cozumel (insanely populated when cruise ships come in), and Tulum.

    Thanks for sharing your adventure, seeing those images stirred fond memories and brought a smile to my face.

    Keep up the great work, and have an awesome day.
    Sincerely,
    Damian

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    Lee Robbins

    Glad you and your folks are having such a great time!
    Have fun – Be Safe – Enjoy!!!

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    John

    Looks like you and your folks had fun in Mexico. Thanks for sharing your shots.

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    Jeff Kingston

    Aw, you can really see both parents so clearly in your face. They must be very proud of you and the work you have done with Phlearn 🙂

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    Agus Pande

    What a quality time you have there with family…..congrat to your parent to have such a talented son like you….

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    Marian

    Your parents could never deny being YOUR parents – especially your mother’s smile looks just like yours (or probably vice versa.. 😀 ).

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    Lynda Adlington

    Thank you so much for sharing these great pics – needed to see some sunshine and fun

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    Jenny

    Thanks for this info Aaron.
    I’m in the UK & am going to Playa del Carmen in 9 weeks. Can’t wait to take lots of photos :o)
    Jenny

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    Bjarte

    Great photos! Especially the one With Your parents acting like “gangsta”! 🙂

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    CharlyChive

    Ooh! So cool you when to playa del carmen, I lived in puerto morelos for 12 years, right next door.
    Glad you had a good time! And those marquesitas are the best!

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    Devienne

    Bonjour Aaron,
    Trop cool le voyage. Je profite de ce petit message pour te dire toute ma gratitude.
    En effet je suis vraiment fan de tes leçons et j’attends impatiemment les nouveautés à chaque fois !
    Ma “petite maitrise” de Photoshop je la dois en grande partie à ton travail.

    Merci à toi et à toute ton équipe.

    André DeVienne from France

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    Crossway Photography

    I love how your mom has her iPhone up to her eye, like it’s a camera – very phunny!

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    lex

    This was awesome, Aaron! Thank you for re-inspiring me this week! Good luck to Alejandro & everyone with a dream and a plan.

    P.S. Your tripped looked AMAZING & your parents are awesome.

    Inspired,

    Lex

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    Matthew Mathieson

    My partner and I moved down to Playa del Carmen last July and we love living and working here. Glad you had a good trip.

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    Gordon Betsill

    Several of these photos certainly prove the truth of an old saying; the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. Your parents seem to be such wonderful fun people and great to travel with.
    Also, a close 2nd to seeing your folks is wondering where you purchased your hat. Gotta love it!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

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    Henning Hansen HIH Ad.

    Aron, What a pleasure to see a young man on vacation with his parents. It brought back so many priceless memories of trips I shared with my parents. Now that they live inside me, I,m so grateful that I can relive my memories with the help of all the slides and photos I took along life’s journey. I strongly encourage people today print their memories before the pixels flyaway. I congratulate you on your wisdom. Henning

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    Henning Hansen HIH Ad.

    Aron, What a pleasure to see a young man on vacation with his parents. It brought back so many priceless memories of trips I shared with my parents. Now that they live inside me, I,m so grateful that I can relive my memories with the help of all the slides and photos I took along life’s journey. I strongly encourage people today to print their memories before the pixels flyaway. I congratulate you on your wisdom. Henning

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    Jim Berton

    My brother owns an Inn in Merida called Villa Verde (www.villaverdemerida) and one of the local restaurants. he has been featured in Yucatan Living and his place is awesome. Great place to vacation and let it all hang out!!!! Glad you had a great time. Now that you are back..get back to work and make us some more of your total coolness tutorials!!!

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    Frank

    Thanks for sharing. It was nice to meet your parents and see a little of your personal life.

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    Paul Albanese

    Photos are very nice. I have been to Mexico several times and it is amazing. Glad to see a smile on your face all the time. Tell me what is the difference between photo shop and photo shop elements 12?

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      Phlearn

      Thank you! And the difference between elements and CS/CC is that CS/CC have more features. For our tutorials we use the latest version of Photoshop CC2014..i feel like CC2015 could be coming soon -_-

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    Larry

    Hola! We must have been in Playa at about the same time. It is indeed a great location. Perhaps Vacation Photos or Family Vacation Photos would be a good contest theme?

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    tom bennett

    Looks like a great trip. I bet a chicago rat could take the lizard. Lol it is always a great feeling to help some one else.

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      Phlearn

      I had a great wonderful time. I feel like our squirrels can take on the lizards haha!

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    Joe Sedik

    Love it seeing you with your Mom & Dad. You are an amazing man Aaron Nace 🙂
    Cuz

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    cayenne

    Looks like fun. Goodness, it seems like it has been over a decade since I’ve seen a beach….I gotta get some time off and do something like this!!

    Glad you had fun with your folks too…that’s important, because it won’t be too long from now when you won’t be able to enjoy them like this. My folks are getting at that age, I still have them with me thankfully, but they can’t really travel like this anymore.

    Glad you had a good time Aaron!

    PS. Nice to see that you also take just plain old, non-photoshopped family snapshots too.
    🙂

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    Mario Cavazos

    Have a fun time in Playa del Carmen. That place is one of the best Caribean beaches, enjoy it.

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    Enrique osorno

    Deam! Hey aAARON, Im from Mérida, it is a shame i didint saw you arround here. I work as a photographer for the guvernor of Yucatán and im plenty of time at centro, very close to the plaza where you ate that marquesita, jajaja. Please give me a shout next time you come back to my city. I would like to host you and have a drink, by the way i like your PHLEARN show! Good vibes!

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    David Robertson

    Lovely pics ….. When I was your age, in the 1960s, I turned down several offers to travel with my Mum & Dad, almost always back to our birth country of Scotland. Of course I was “too busy” working, building my career etc. All the usual excuses. What a load …. they’ve been gone for many years now, yet I still have the 8mm films of their trips back to Scotland, sans moi …. Some say “You should never have regrets”. I say, “Well I have some.” In any case I keep Phlearning …. you made my day.

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      Phlearn

      Hi David!
      Thanks for taking the time to read my story and check out my vacation pics. Hopefully you’ve been traveling more , the world is full of beauty 🙂

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    Sebastien

    Great pics! Love the one of your parents in front of the ‘f*** tourism’ graffiti LMAO!!! You look like a sweet bunch. Thx

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    Serge Gerin

    Hi from France
    My name is Serge. I think it was a very nice trip in this part of the world. Thank you for sharing. I feel i know you better. I appreciate the way you are teaching and the fact that you share your skills about photoshop. I follow you on youtube and get now your Phlearn Newsletter. Thank you for all. Serge

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      Phlearn

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read about my trip and check out my vacay pics 🙂 And thanks so much for being an awesome fan 🙂

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    Jay Krier

    That area of Mexico is so beautiful! My wife and I got married there last year and are returning again later this year for our 1st anniversary. Looks like you had a lot of fun too! That’s awesome!

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      Phlearn

      Oh awesome, congrats! Yup, theres definitely something about that place 🙂

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    Qanea

    Wow, I quite enjoyed reading this text.
    I wish we could see a photo of Alejandro though.
    Reading this was fun, thank you.

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    Bud

    You’re right, Aaron, Mexico is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. I vacation there twice a year (just south of PDC).

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    Shimul Hossain

    I think it was one of your good journey with your family “Aaron Nace”. But what were you doing upon the tree! Have a great journey.

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    Joe

    Aaron, you’re a spitt’in image of your father (sorry dad) and your mom is really into the beat on and off your show, she’s great. I’ve been following you for some time and the instructional videos are great and they are easy, simple, and quick. So have a good time and until next video…keep shuttering!!!

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    Gaby

    hey! if you still in playa del carme try to go to “La Ceiba” is in the 30th ave with CONSTITUYENTE street. And PLEAASSEEE try the Venezuelan Food in KAXAPA Factory they are in front of the municipal palace nearest of walmart! I usted to live there. Now we are in Cancun so… I hope You can go to those place. Have fun!

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    fober61

    This is a simple photog of your vaca…but where is the kid at the bar???