Monday, April 29, 2019

How A Vacation Turned Into A Freelance Career in Mexico

From International Living:

“I came to Mexico for a two-week vacation in 2003 and still haven’t left,” says Toronto born Kelly McLaughlin.

“At the time, I was getting divorced and we’d sold our house. I decided to travel a bit with the money. So, I spun the globe, closed my eyes, and my finger landed on Cozumel. I had never even heard of it.”
As Kelly discovered, the island of Cozumel is in the Caribbean just a short ferry ride away from Playa del Carmen and Cancún, Mexico. Famous for its white-sand beaches, palm trees, blue skies, and scuba diving, Cozumel is a beach lover's dream. However, it wasn’t to be Kelly’s forever home.
Fast forward to 2019 and she now lives with her teenage son about two hours from Cozumel in the city of Cancún. Known as the gateway to the Riviera Maya (Mexico’s Caribbean), Cancún draws about 22 million people through its airport each year. And while it’s perhaps best-known as ground-zero for the spring break set, there’s more to the city than its glitzy resorts.
“My neighborhood is typical of Mexico,” says Kelly. Far from Cancún’s touristy Hotel Zone, the residential area has quiet streets. Her condo comes with a shared courtyard with a garden and swimming pool. “It’s a four-story building and we live on the top floor. I call it our tree house of love. It feels like living in a treehouse because we’re surrounded by palm and ceiba trees. It’s quiet, and at night I can hear the coconuts falling.”
Her rent is $309 per month and she has a weekly grocery delivery (about $50 worth) and a cleaning lady. Her electricity ranges from $25 every two months to $150 every two months if she uses the air conditioning a lot. Her high-speed WiFi is $15 a month.
Kelly is a former television producer turned freelance writer and social media manager. She even started a blog about living abroad, where she chronicles her adventures in Mexico. As a freelance writer, she spends her mornings writing web copy for area businesses and her afternoons going on adventures with her 14-year-old son.
They both love zip lining, riding ATVs, snorkeling, and visiting Maya ruins. “I love to float for hours in the Caribbean. My son windsurfs, kitesurfs, and works as a lifeguard. We also enjoy camping and road trips.”
Kelly also has a soft spot for cats. She volunteers with the Stardust Kitten Rescue. “We find abandoned kittens and bottle-feed them until they can eat on their own and then we find homes for them.”
Kelly and her son enjoy sampling the different restaurants in town, including the local taco carts. “We have excellent neighborhood restaurants. There’s an authentic Italian restaurant I go to at least once a week, Le Fate Ristorante Italiano. I also like a buffet place that serves food from the Jalisco region, which is on the other side of the country. And I love Yucatán food, especially the queso relleno, which is Gouda stuffed with ground beef and rich white sauce on top.” Local restaurants are budget friendly as meals rarely run more than 100 pesos (about $5).
Her family back in Canada loves coming to visit. “I haven’t been back to Canada in 14 years. When you live in Cancún, everyone wants to come and see you.
“Living abroad is the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental health, emotional health, and my growth as a person,” says Kelly. “I understand it’s the people in my life that count and not the things. Here I can work to have more time with my son and to have more adventures.”
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

In the US Boomers Facing Brutal Retirement

Authored by Lance Roberts via, The “real” cost of raising a family in the U.S. has grown incredibly more expensive with surging food, energy, health, and housing costs.
  • Researchers at Purdue University recently studied data culled from across the globe and found that in the U.S., $132,000 was found to be the optimal income for “feeling” happy for raising a family of four. 
  • Gallup also surveyed to find out what the “average” family required to support a family of four in the U.S. (Forget about being happy, we are talking about “just getting by.”) That number turned out to be $58.000.
With the vast amount of individuals already vastly under-saved and dependent on social welfare, the next major correction will reveal the full extent of the “retirement crisis” silently lurking in the shadows of this bull market cycle.
For the 75.4 million “boomers,” about 26% of the entire population heading into retirement by 2030, the reality is that only about 20% will be able to actually retire.
The rest will be faced with tough decisions in the years ahead.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Saturday, April 27, 2019

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE — A favorite destination

By Rodrigo Cervantes/KJZZ

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE — A favorite destination in Mexico for American retirees and tourists is San Miguel de Allende. The increasing influx of travelers to this small, colonial town in the center of Mexico is bringing with it a growing demand for real estate, and also concerns for the fate of the city’s natural and historical legacy.

Downtown San Miguel has a bohemian, but quite a cosmopolitan vibe in its restaurants, cafés, and bars. For decades, this historic place has attracted travelers and immigrants that have helped create this atmosphere.

The town currently has 170,000 inhabitants, and nearly 8 percent of them are foreigners — the vast majority, American retirees. But more recently, San Miguel de Allende has become a hotspot for younger expats with home offices, premium Mexican tourists and investors with strong buying power.

“There are a lot of people in their mid 20s and 30s bringing their family and raising their children here,” said Teri Kavanagh, a Los Angeles native currently working as a liaison with the foreign community for the city’s government.

Kavanagh thinks that American immigrants come for a more peaceful and less expensive lifestyle.

“I definitely think is less stressful, more family oriented. And you get more for your money, and you get more quality of life for your money,” she said.
But Kavanagh also notices the rising prices of property. Whenever a city becomes popular, real estate goes up, she said.

And as the popularity increases, fewer homes become available, explained Maryanne Allen, a sales associate at Agave-Sotheby’s Realty in San Miguel.

 “We see not as much inventory available; it’s getting better with all the building and everything, but the inventory is low, and the demand is high,” said Allen.

San Miguel’s New Face

The new constructions that Allen refers to are mainly on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende, where a mall and golf courses are bringing a new face to the once-bucolic area.

In the hilly southwest part of the city sits a 120-acre lot with views of the old town called “Colinas de San Miguel.” Janielle Penner from Phoenix is an international real estate broker managing the project.

“We know that the market in Phoenix is quite hot, and actually, we know that the same is true here, in San Miguel,” Penner said.

Penner said they don’t want to build a project for the second home market, as they see the potential of bringing the “live/work” concept with premium houses and even a luxury hotel designed by a prestigious architect.

“We’re really excited about this potential project, as San Miguel happens to be in the heart center of Mexico,” she said.

Penner thinks the new developments and population growth in the area are challenging, but it’s also helping improve the region and the market.

“I think the problem and the opportunity kind of go hand in hand,” she said.
But the growth of the city and the real estate boom have become a serious concern to some local leaders.

Preservation And Growth

Guillermo González Engelbrecht is the director of the San Miguel de Allende Tourism Board.

He proudly describes the buildings surrounding San Miguel’s central square: the house of Ignacio Allende, the first soldier of the country, the historical homes turned into restaurants and museums, the city council, which is the first city council of independent Mexico, the emblematic neo-Gothic style parish church.

These pink limestone constructions are the main reason why the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated San Miguel’s old downtown as a world heritage site, a nomination that has brought big responsibilities.

 “Well, I wish we got money! No money, but we got obligations,” González said.

He said the 64 blocks protected by UNESCO need to be carefully preserved: for example, using certain kinds of traditional floors, applying only certain terracotta colors, leaving facades and buildings intact, avoiding modern signs.

But many homeowners decided to sell their properties or transform them into businesses.

“People see that there’s money in this town, and they want to make big business, and it’s not usually the best for the city,” González said. “We love San Miguel, we love the way it is, and we want to keep it like this.”

The local authorities decided to temporarily block anyone from selling, buying or remodeling downtown properties while new regulations come in a few months. New research will help set up limits to the growth of San Miguel.

The expansion of the city is unsettling, and the authorities want to control it. Water supply and visual noise brought by contemporary constructions on the surrounding hills could become a problem.

“That’s actually the biggest problem we’ve had,” González said. “We had two administrations from the government before that let that happen, and we don’t want it to happen again.”

Richard Shaw is the Phoenix developer that co-owns the Colinas de San Miguel lot. He said they’ve been filing the proper paperwork, including documents to preserve ancient Otomí ruins that fall into their land.
Shaw wants to start building this year and is still working to find a local partner. The developer thinks Mexican businesses are relationship-driven, which could be an inconvenience sometimes, but not an obstacle.

“You know, there’s politics, so if you don’t have relationships, or have bad relationships, it will affect how you’re gonna succeed,” Shaw said.

And while Shaw and other investors bet on the prosperity brought by the boom of the realty market, locals wait for the new guidelines to protect their town’s history and nature.

Here are the spots with the best weather for retirement

Many people nearing retirement and craving warmth think of Florida. Yet some destinations offer even more idyllic weather — if you’re willing to look beyond the U.S.
A new report by International Living, a guide to retirement abroad, ranks destinations where you might think about spending your later decades by their weather. Of course, not everyone loves the heat.
“The sort of weather you prefer is a very personal thing,” said Jennifer Stevens, executive editor of International Living. “And one of the strengths of our highest-scoring countries in the climate category is that they all offer a variety of climates, so retirees can find the spot that best suits their tastes — from steamy beaches to cooler highlands.”
Here are the top five places on the list.
  1. Ecuador
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Colombia
  4. Mexico
  5. Peru and Portugul (tied)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

6 Reasons Why Mexico is Safer than You Think

From Mexperience, listed here are six reasons which demonstrate how Mexico’s drug-related issues, which remain a body of work to address, do not make Mexico wholly unsafe

Mexico continues to attract a record number of international visitors: Mexico’s National Statistics Institute is responsible for collecting and reporting data on Mexico’s international visitors.  Mexico is one of the world’s top ten most visited nations and despite negative news flow, especially about drug-related violence, people keep coming to Mexico.  Statistics from foreign consulate records consistently show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico pass trouble-free.
Mexico is one of the world’s most important economies. Mexico has a welcoming economy with policies that encourage trade and partnership. (Mexico has tariff-free trade agreements with 46 countries around the world.) This, coupled with years of sound macro-economic management, has created an attractive environment for investors and foreign companies. Mexico took a positive approach to the NAFTA re-negotiations — now titled the USMCA — advocating an agile trading framework to benefit all three countries involved. Mexico is today one of the world’s few ‘trillion-dollar’ economies and mature nations are keen to work with Mexico.
No foreign resident exodus. In decades now long-past, when Mexico’s economy was less open and less stable, foreign residents would often flee home in the event of a peso crisis.  Today, even with the drug-related flare-ups, no such exodus is taking place and, furthermore, we are seeing consistent demand from foreigners who are interested in relocating to Mexico.  Mexico’s government is expecting its expat communities to grow over the coming decade, and offers choices in the facilitation of this, as welcoming foreign residents—who bring their energy and capital to Mexico—creates significant mutual benefits. If Mexico is a wholly dangerous place to be, why are existing foreign residents staying put and inquiries for relocation to Mexico growing?
The violence is mostly confined to drug-gangs. When you drill-down into the detail of the data, figures show that the surge of homicides in Mexico over the last decade has come about through criminal gang members fighting each other. Tourists, business visitors, and foreign residents are not being targeted by the drug gangs, and statistics from foreign consulates show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico pass by trouble-free.
Mexico matters. Mexico is a good neighbor to the U.S. and is also one of the world’s most important emerging markets.  Mexico and the U.S. share a broad range of common economic, social, and security interests and behind the scenes, both nations continue to work closely together on issues concerning trade and security in efforts to bring prosperity and well-being to the continent they share.
Mexico’s underlying story remains strong. Notwithstanding the drug-related issues, the country’s macro-economics are in good shape; Mexico has substantial oil and gas reserves as well as considerable mineral and precious metal wealth. In recent times, the country has been enacting structural reforms across key industrial sectors with the intention to transition the country’s economy away from being heavily dependent on oil and manufacturing.  Foreign visitors keep coming despite the negative news-flow; Mexico’s free trade agreements are bridges which cultivate understanding, trade, and prosperity between the signatories of these accords.
In summary: Every day, tourists arrive in Mexico to rest themselves and enjoy its rich culture and heritage; business visitors arrive to trade, cultivate friendships and agree on deals that create new wealth; and foreign residents living here are going about their lives normally and contributing positively in the Mexican communities they love calling home.  These activities don’t make headlines, but they are indeed the real-life experiences of people visiting and living safely in Mexico.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

5 Types of Herbs in Mexican Culinary Culture

Thrive Global shares 5 types of herbs in Mexican culinary culture that are interesting and yet complex herbs. By taking a dive into just a small section of the Mexican culinary culture, why don’t we discuss at least 5 types of herbs that are common among Mexicans?

This is a special type of herb that packs a wealth of benefits in terms of the nutrients it offers. This herb requires full sunlight or can also grow well under some light shade. It performs better in moist soil which is well drained. This herb should not be grown in hot weather as this makes it bolt very quickly. It is advisable to maintain a spacing of between 6 to 8 inches when planting cilantro.

While cilantro is known to contain no cholesterol and is low in calories, its green leaves contain essential oils, antioxidants, dietary fiber and vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, folic acid and beta carotene. It is also an excellent source of minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Culantro and cilantro are two herbs that can easily confuse you if you are not so keen. Culantro grows well in partially shady areas where you can expect to experience prolonged harvest seasons with very large leaves. If grown in sunny areas then culantro will flower earlier hence resulting in a shorter lifespan as compared with those grown in partially shady areas.

A spacing of 8 to 12 inches is usually recommended to be used when planting culantro. It has so much medicinal value to human beings. It contains iron, carotene, riboflavin and calcium that is necessary for keeping us healthy. The leaves of culantro are effective in treating constipation, diabetes, fevers and curing flu.

Culantro is also used in alleviating stomach pains while its roots when eaten raw help in curing scorpion stings. What’s more, culantro is also very rich in vitamins. It contains vitamins A, C, crude oil and calcium as well. The calcium content in culantro helps in building strong teeth, bones, and hair.

This here is yet another one of the Mexican culinary culture herbs that you should try out. This herb can be grown from seeds or is also sometimes grown as a cut and come again plant. This herb can grow perfectly well in full sunny areas or even in partially shaded areas. When it comes to the type of soil, it grows well in any soil with a lot of organic matter content and a slightly acidic pH.
It also requires a sufficient amount of water at an optimal temperature of around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kale contains a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for us as human beings. It has vitamins K, A, C, B6, manganese, magnesium, potassium and copper. It is also loaded with some powerful antioxidants such as kaempferol and quercetin.

These antioxidants will help in counteracting the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in our bodies. By minimizing oxidative damage, the leading drivers of many diseases like cancer and aging are well taken care of.

The broccoli is well known to almost all herb lovers. The best quality broccoli is that grown in fall because it can be somehow challenging to predict the spring conditions. Too much heat can stress up the broccoli and make them open their flower buds prematurely hence leading to bitter broccoli with less tasty and small florets.

This herb requires slightly acidic soil and enough sunshine. It is advisable to use a spacing of 15-18 inches between the broccoli plants when planting. One of the strongest points of broccoli is the high nutrient package that it packs. This herb contains various minerals, fiber, vitamins, and bioactive compounds.

Broccoli also provides antioxidants that are essential in offering us protection from various diseases. The presence of fiber may also aid in controlling the blood sugar level as well. There are also several studies that indicate that this herb can support your health in so many ways. What’ more, broccoli also promotes reduced constipation and healthy digestion.

Garden Cress
Here is yet another herb that most people love due to its nutritive and general health benefits. It grows perfectly well in sunny locations with loose soil which is also well drained. This herb can be grown either indoors, outdoors, in hydroponics or in containers. Garden cress performs well in a somehow narrow pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. The recommended spacing should be about 2.5 cm.

When it comes to the benefits of garden cress, the sky is the limit. It is believed that this herb potentially has some anti-cancer effects. What’s more, this herb provides a lot of carotenoids which is excellent for the health of your eyes and your vision in general because it has vitamin A in abundance.

This herb will also provide you with enough vitamin C which will keep your bones, gums, and skin healthy. Vitamin C also helps in providing some cardiovascular benefits. This is together with vitamin K which is also present in garden cress.

All the herbs discussed above are very important to every human being because of the nutritional and health benefits that they provide. Apart from just spicing up your foods and providing the best delicacies, these herbs will make sure that you are always healthy and as fit as a fiddle. Maintaining better health is a very valid reason why you should try out these herbs discussed above.

Author Bio:
I am Rank Feed and I am a great herbs enthusiast. I am the owner of website when I share some of the best tips on how to care for herbs and get them ready for your kitchen.

Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Vanilla, Another Endangered Species and the Target of Thieves

From Mexico News Daily, "Many growers have given up on the crop since its high price made it attractive to steal

Vanilla is the world’s second most expensive spice after saffron and one of 16 Mexican products that enjoy denomination of origin protection, but its long-term survival in Mexico is at risk. The product is increasingly being targeted by thieves, driving growers to abandon the crop and grow something else.

"Vanilla orchids are grown in several Mexican states including Chiapas, Oaxaca, and San Luis Potosí but the epicenter of production is Veracruz and in particular Papantla, a city that has been known as “the vanilla capital” and which once upon a time was dubbed “the city that perfumes the world.”

But the heyday of vanilla production in Papantla and the wider Totonacapan region in the north of Veracruz is over, according to Óscar Ramírez, a vanilla farmer and president of a growers’ association. “. . . They’re just memories,” he said, referring to Papantla’s erstwhile nicknames. “Vanilla [in Mexico] is sadly in danger of extinction.”

A kilogram of vanilla can yield prices as high as US $700, making the crop an attractive target for thieves for whom there is little deterrent against committing the crime. In Papantla, a decades-old municipal decree establishes a fine of just 20 pesos (US $1) for stealing it; a penalty Ramírez described as “ridiculous.”

“The law has to be updated,” he said, adding that new, specific laws that set harsher penalties for vanilla theft should be adopted nationwide. In recent years, a huge number of vanilla growers in the north of Veracruz have given up on cultivating the plant after seeing their hard work come to nothing as a result of theft.

It takes three years on average for producers to get to the stage when the pods on their vanilla orchids are ready for harvest, whereas thieves can profit much more quickly. “Just imagine, years of work is stolen in minutes,” said Juan Salazar, a vanilla grower in El Ojital, a community near Papantla. Vanilla orchids: years of work can be stolen in minutes. The farmer said that vanilla theft usually occurs in October and November just before the harvest, explaining that higher prices for “gourmet” vanilla in recent years – the per-kilo price has tripled – have only encouraged would-be thieves.

Salazar, who grows vanilla on a three-hectare property for customers that include tequila and perfume makers, said that growers last year were forced to take drastic measures to protect their crops. “To guarantee that they would be able to harvest what they worked for the entire year, they [the growers] stayed at their plots, they made fires, and they slept 10 meters away because those who cut [the plants] enter in the early morning,” he said.

“A lot of farmers carry machetes, but if a thief has a gun, one puts his life on the line,” Salazar added, explaining that there have been cases in which growers have been killed while defending their plants.

While many producers have decided to get out of the vanilla-growing business altogether, others agree to sell their yield to opportunistic buyers who prey on their fear, Salazar explained. “They come to purchase the vanilla early before it completes its nine months of ripening. They pay low prices and the producer sometimes prefers to sell . . . so that their crops aren’t stolen,” he said.

The grower explained that the prices the coyotes pay are sometimes less than half the product’s real value but added that farmers prefer to get “a few pesos” than nothing at all.

In light of the increasing number of thefts, vanilla growers have appealed to authorities to bolster security in the north of the state to protect their industry as well as others, such as tourism. “Vanilla has to be protected, it’s in danger of extinction and like any other species or animal that is in danger of extinction and for which laws are to protect them, the same must urgently be done with vanilla,” said Ramírez, the growers’ association president.

In addition to theft, climate change, the loss of tropical forests and cheap synthetically-made vanilla imitations also represent a threat to Mexico’s vanilla industry.

 While the problems faced by Mexican vanilla and those who continue a tradition of cultivation that dates back to pre-Hispanic times are serious, Ramírez said the situation is not all doom and gloom. “What nobody has taken away yet is the denomination of origin – Papantla vanilla, the best quality in the world.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Atlas Obscura and The Monarch Butterfly

"Each year, as winter gives way to spring, tens of millions of monarch butterflies leave the safety of their wintering grounds in central Mexico and migrate north. But the history behind how the global scientific community finally came to understand the unique role that this part of Mexico plays in the lifecycle of monarchs is just as fascinating as the butterflies themselves."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Most Beautiful Streets in the World

The historic and colorful Aldama street in San Miguel De Allende Mexico
Photo: Getty Images/tdphotostock

San Miguel De Allende, Mexico The historic and colorful Aldama Street in San Miguel De Allende is a must-see for any traveler heading to centrally located Mexican city. Roughly 170 miles north of Mexico City, San Miguel De Allende was voted the "2013 Best City in the World" by Travel + Leisure.

Viernes de Dolores

If you are open to meeting strangers in San Miguel, you can learn much. I was walking Javier this morning, stopped to say good morning buenos dias to a man who looked familiar to me.

"Are you celebrating Viernes de Dolores tomorrow?" he said.

"What is that?"

He explained April 12, 2019, is "Friday of Dolores."It corresponds to the Friday before Palm Sunday. It is within the "last week of Lent," known as the Week of Passion. In some localities, it is considered as the beginning of the Holy Week.

Many celebrate with altars in their homes, and they share food items with neighbors and friends. it is a devotion to make an altar to the Virgin of the sorrows of 7 steps. Each step symbolizes the  7 weeks of Lent. The first tier has an image of Christo Ariva. It is covered with white Savannah and decorated with maize or wheat. They are beautiful as offerings. Oranges are also placed as a symbol of the stones of the road to Calvary and lit with candles. At nightfall, people come to visit them and ask questions. When they arrive (the Virgin is already crying), the people of the house say so. They go over and give them a glass of fresh water. of Jamaica or Tamarindo or of the fruit that they wish symbolizing the tears that the painful one shed.

Martha Hernandez explains, “As part of their gratitude for visiting their homes, families give paletas, nine fresh waters, capirotada, and pumpkinlike  preserves.”

Look what I learned about San Miguel, Mexico from Juan by slowing down and showing an interest. Juan invited us to view his family’s altar.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Little Tokyo in Mexico City

Architectural Digest has an interesting article on the Japanese district in Mexico City known as Little Tokyo

A look inside of Ryo Kan, a new hotel designed by architect Regina Galvanduque of GLVDK Studio.
Photo: Courtesy of Ryo Kan

“For a quick trip to Japan, look no further than Mexico City. Although the capital has a thriving Korean community, few know about its Little Tokyo district, tucked in the quiet Cuauhtémoc neighborhood directly north of Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s main artery. Contrary to popular belief, Japanese culture isn’t unfamiliar to CDMX. It all started four centuries ago when a samurai sailed to Acapulco and became the first ambassador to New Spain. Another wave of Japanese people followed suit during World War II—laying the foundation for Little Tokyo by opening Asian groceries, teppanyaki restaurants, and a Japanese Embassy in the ‘70s.”
“One of those immigrants was the grandfather of Edo López, the man who has single-handedly transformed Little Tokyo. Born in Tijuana to Mexican parents, López adopted his Japanese roots—including his mother’s maiden name, Kobayashi—after learning about his maternal grandfather, who fled Japan in WWII to seek refuge in Mexico. He then pulled all his savings to debut the first high-end establishment in his empire of more than 10 sushi spots, izakayas, and sake bars across Mexico City.”

“Thanks to the efforts of Kobayashi and other entrepreneurial Japanese immigrants, Little Tokyo has garnered attention as a destination in the heart of CDMX (so much that the embassy and local businesses are lobbying for a formal designation). Today, the area’s leafy blocks are lined with yakitori eateries, ramen joints, and whisky watering holes.”

Monday, April 8, 2019

Where Would You Go?

When expats sit around and talk, the conversation covers the latest news about San Miguel, the outstanding weather (Can you believe it's December and we are eating dinner outside on the terrace!). We talk about the restaurants, people coming to visit, safety, our health (We are always grateful for our health.), and the weather.

Then the perplexing question. If you had to leave, where would you go? Very few say the United States, Herer's one answer in what will be a recurring theme of Mexico Calling from Family Rocketship:

It’s with a sad heart that I even write this. But I gotta say it.
We have decided to leave Cozumel, Mexico.

When I say leave, I don’t mean to spend the summer in Europe or the U.S. and then come
back. I mean, we’re moving away from here for an indefinite amount of time.
Mexico, is now part of who we are. We love it. It’s a home for us. In fact, 5 years ago,
I wrote a post called, “Confessions of an American Mexican”. I just gave it a quick read and
I still stand by every word I wrote.
I still love the word “amigo”.
If you’ve seen our timeline, you know that we first came to Cozumel back in 2012.
We planned to stay initially for only 6 months. “We’ll stay as long as it’s fun,” we said.
It turned into 2 ½ years!
When the time came to leave, we decided to check out Europe for a while and spent 5 months
Then we headed back to Southern California for an “American Breather”. After about a year
we got bored and ended up coming back to Cozumel.

Why We’re Leaving

It’s hard to put into words why were leaving. We love it here.
I think it’s mostly a feeling of wanting to make forward progress. We have some big goals
to knock out in the next two years. We feel like changing things up will help us do so.
We want to leave the familiar, comfortable life with the intention of getting uncomfortable
so that we can grow more.
Also, being totally honest, we get a lot many visitors! In 2017 alone, we averaged about
wo visits a month from friends and family coming to check out Cozumel.
Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE our friends and family. BUT, while they’re on vacation,
we’re trying to live a “normal life”. You know, work projects, school & homework,
swimming lessons, etc.
Sure we can say “no” to visitors I suppose. But actually, we can’t. And we don’t.
So while it’s not the main reason we’re leaving, it’s definitely on the list.
(*UPDATE – I’ve received some feedback on what I just said above and everyone seems 
to think I sound snotty. I promise it’s not meant that way! Yes, we worked hard to have a 
vacation lifestyle and enjoy having friends/family visit. But now, we’ve got some big plans 
and we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.) 
When we left Cozumel the first time in 2015, we wept. Seriously, there was some ugly
crying happening. We didn’t realize how much we’d grown to love this place.
The culture, the food (tacos!), the beach, the ocean, the scuba diving, and of course, the
people.  I can almost cry just thinking about leaving now… I’m sure I will when the time 
comes, which is next month.
Fam in Mexico

Where are We Going?

Obviously, the question is: where are we going next?
And that’s the hard question. When you work online and can live literally anywhere in the world,
how do you choose one place to actually live?
It all starts with your values. It’s followed closely by your goals and the stuff you just plain want to
learn and do and enjoy.
Because of that, we’re headed back to Europe. We’ve gone there a couple of times with the kids
and we’ve always loved it. But it’s always been to slow travel, never with the intention of
living there.
This time, we’re headed there with the intent to stay there for 6 months (it may become more –
“as long as it’s fun”)
Fam in Europe

So which country are we going to specifically?
( queue drumroll now… )
Family Rocketship

I know, of all the cool places (like New Zealand, Bali, Italy, Peru, and more), why in the world
would we choose Scotland?
I know it’s not most people’s first choice for a vacation but it’s actually pretty perfect for us.
In fact, here are a few very-specific-to-us-right-now-in-our-life reasons why:
  • It’s cold – I personally am more productive in the cold (I want to get a lot done this year)
  • It’s cold – nobody will be tempted to come visit us and get their tropical vacay selfie pics 
  • (correction: LESS people will be tempted to come and visit)
  • It’s the U.K. – full of amazing culture that Heidi and I both love
  • It’s the U.K. – which means we can stay for 6 months at a time on a tourist visa
  • It’s freaking Scotland! Have you heard their accent? In real life it’s even better
  • It’s freaking Scotland which means highlands to visit, castles to explore, and all the history
  •  we can handle
  • It’s a great base camp for the rest of Europe – seriously, for well under 50 euros a ticket,
  • we can be in Rome or Prague or Istanbul or Mallorca or Lisbon or Marseille or well, you 
  • get the point
  • It’s a launching point for the next phase of our life – more on that later
  • And a bunch more less tangible but still super valid reasons…
So there it is.
We love Mexico. There are certainly a lot of things we will desperately miss.
But we’ve got to move on to the next chapter in our lives. Even if it does mean trading in
tacos for (gulp) haggis.  🙂