This afternoon I interfered with nature by rescuing a centipede from a violent gang of tiny ants that were pecking away at its head. I then relocated my hundred-legged friend to a different part of my balcony where it was able to wander around freely. So proud was I with my act of heroism that I crossed my arms and leaned back against a plastic deck chair, staring out towards the ocean, envisioning an endless stream of future rescues.
I then accidentally tipped the chair a bit and the puddle of water on the seat fell to the floor and drowned the centipede I had saved. So it goes.
What does that short tale have to do with this post? Not much.
However, just as I had to relocate that centipede, is it not true that we all, at some point in time, have to ponder a possible move from one place to another?
The reasons we may move are infinite – job relocation, proximity to family/friends, climate, economic situation, restraining orders, a search for better Indian food, the avoidance of violent ants…
Whatever the reason, you will one day decide to pack up your house, give away your two cats (your new apartment doesn’t allow pets), sell your bed on Craigslist and drive a Uhaul to your new home. Maybe you’re headed to Los Angeles or Seattle or Austin. Perhaps it’s Providence or Savannah…I suppose it could even be Ohio if you’re left with no other options.
Let me ask you this…have you ever thought of moving to Mexico? Not New Mexico…THE Mexico. Actually, don’t even bother to answer, I already know your reaction.
And six months ago, the horchata would have poured out of my nose as well upon hearing this suggestion. But now, not only does the tasty rice beverage stay in my mouth upon contemplating living in Mexico, but I order another large mug of it to celebrate this brilliant idea.
Before I’m beaten like a piñata and hung for treason, let me explain why Mexico has become the first entry in my “Why Live at Home When You Can Live Here“ series. (Each entry will be examined according to 9 factors – diversity, cost of living, proximity, hospitality, way of life, food, employment, extra benefits, downsides)
1. Diversity: Beaches, tropical islands, deserts, mountains, lush jungle, massive cities, medium-sized towns and tiny villages – it doesn’t get any more diverse than this.
2. Cost of Living: The high quality of life Mexico offers is an absolute bargain. If a $500/month modern beachfront apartment, half-priced groceries, $1 beers, $3 movies, dirt-cheap and efficient local transportation and low-cost internet and utilities doesn’t sound appealing, you’re weird.
3. Proximity: If you’re from the USA, Mexico just isn’t that far away. The flight time between most major US cities and major Mexican cities is less than 4 hours. A move to Mexico could very easily bring you closer to family and friends than you are now. You’ll at least enjoy an increase in visitors when living on a Mexican beach as opposed to living in a suburb of St. Louis. (If you’re actually looking to move farther away from everyone you know, just mention swine flu and drug wars and you’re guaranteed to be left alone.)
4. Hospitality: Mexicans actually like ‘gringos’! It was a surprise to me, but it’s the truth. It might not last forever though so I’d get down here as soon as possible before they wake up from their siestas and change their minds.
5. Way of Life: Slow, laid-back, friendly and peaceful (with the exception of a few scattered regions), and with a focus on happiness over life-draining work. What does this mean for you? If you somehow manage to be stressed while living in Mexico, you deserve worldwide recognition, for you will have achieved what is quite possibly the most impossible feat on earth.
6. Food: Forget about burritos and nachos, both of which are NOT actually Mexican food (don’t argue, just accept it)… it turns out that there are more variations of the tortilla/beans/rice/cheese combination than are conceivable by ordinary human beings. Two dollars gets you some tacos, spend $7 bucks and you’ll have a feast laid out before you.
7. Employment: If you don’t have your own mobile e-business already set up, what in Julio’s name are you waiting for? In the meantime, you can always find some work the old-fashioned way. In Mexico, foreigners have several opportunities for employment – working for tour operators, as scuba diving instructors, teaching English, hotel/resort/timeshare positions, bartending and more.
8. Extra Benefits: Perfect place to brush up on your Spanish; Excellent surfing; Free year-round tanning; Endless festivals, events & celebrations; Surprisingly good cheese; Hammock naps; Cheap avocados; Prescription-free medication
9. Downsides: The occasional scorpion in your apartment; an absence of Indian food; Blaring musica banda being played a wee bit too early in the morning; Excessive amount of speed bumps; Not as many donkeys as you’d imagine; Prescription-free medication
Come on down…respect the culture, learn the language, meet the people and you’ll find yourself in a more affordable, healthy and rewarding living situation than you can find in most parts of the world.
That’s just my opinion, man.
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Hi Earl…Gil Magee here from Nashville TN. I am considering spending four months of the year, Nov.-January in either Playa del Carmen or Sayulita, Mexico. Is there a comparable website for del Carmen as sayulitalife.com is?
Hey Gil – There isn’t such a site as sayulitalife.com unfortunately for this region of Playa del Carmen. That would be great if there was though!
Hey Earl! Just curious, how much of a language barrier is there when living full time in Mexico? I speak spanish below a kindergarten level I’d guess, and I’d be worried about trying to live down there if I couldn’t communicate well.
Hey Sean – The language barrier isn’t too bad as English is spoken a decent amount. If you are along the coast or in any of the towns/cities that are popular with travelers, it will be even easier to communicate. The only issues are when you are in a non-touristy town. But with that said, Spanish is easy enough to pick up as you travel…everyone you meet will be willing to help you practice so you just need to start speaking from day one and progress will be made!
But overall, I wouldn’t let the language barrier stop you from visiting Mexico…it won’t be much of a big deal at all 🙂
So glad I found your site! Great job! After spending 30 days traveling Europe last year I’ve officially caught the travel bug. For starters I would like to stay and volunteer in Playa del Carmen or surrounding areas for a few months. Can you offer any advice or websites on where to find info on apartments/condos? Your place looks beautiful….modern and clean. Thanks and keep up the good work!
I can retire in two years and my daughter and I want to move to Mexico. She has taught band in school and worked in after school day care as director and in a nursing home as activities director. Would there be employment for her in Mexico? I would be drawing around $1300/month social security and not sure that would be enough. Would you recommend us emailing some of these rentals to see what their prices are even though it’s a couple of years away? Absolutely love your blogs! Thank you for the help you give all of us.
Hey Brenda – Thank you for commenting and I’m always happy to hear when someone is considering moving to Mexico 🙂
The amount of $1300 is definitely enough to live down there but in terms of your daughter finding work, that is going to be a little more difficult. Most of the foreigners living in Mexico either work on the internet or have created their own small business down there. Also, it would depend on how well your daughter can speak Spanish. But in the end, even working in similar positions as she’s had in the US, she would not earn very much money at all in Mexico. So she would have to get creative and try to start her own business or find another way to earn income.
As for apartment rentals, I would wait until you’re ready to think about moving there, maybe 6 months before, before you start to email them. Things change quite quickly down there and by the time you’re ready, there will be plenty of more options for you as well!
[…] I spend approximately $800 per month to live well (according to my basic nomadic lifestyle) in wonderful Mexico. India – On two occasions during my many visits to India over the years, I decided to stop […]
Alright. You’ve convinced me. Ive always wanted to try living in Guanjuato for a month or so and strengthen my Spanish and their Spanish school. Thanx!
First things, your blog is fantastic and such an inspiration. My boyfriend and I were looking into spending 6 months in Sayulita, Mexico sometime in the next year. Would it be possible for you to e-mail me the best times to go/apartments/etc? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Hey Sheryll – Thank you so much for your comment and kind words 🙂 I’m always excited when I hear that other people are thinking about spending a significant amount of time in Sayulita. It’s still one of my favorite places on this planet to live. I’ll definitely go ahead and put together an email with some helpful information for you…I might be able to get it done today if this internet connection holds up, but if not, I’ll get it to you as soon as I find another good connection somewhere (it’s not so reliable here in Syria!).
Hi Earl. I couldn’t agree more with your rationale. I’m planning on taking a leave from my job and moving to Sayulita. Will you please share the same info with me about your apartment complex? I am planning on driving from Vancouver, Canada and hope to arrive in Sayulita in late October 2010. Thanks!
Hi Angie! I will definitely send you some information about Sayulita. I’ll get it out to you in a few minutes. October is a great time to be there as it is still the low season, rents are inexpensive and it is as peaceful as it gets!
Hi Earl, great web site! Could you direct me to place/person who can locate long term
apartment- much like what you have? Can’t seem to find a web site with rental (not for
a vacation)- a year’s stay. Thanks and Sayalite real seems wonderful! Thanks
Hey Phyllis – Thank you for the comment! I would recommend having a look at SayulitaLife.com. While at first it appears to be for vacation rentals, all you need to do is click on the 1-BR or 2-BR tabs towards the top, find the cheapest nightly rental places and send them an email. Explain to them that you are interested in long-term rental and they will then email back with long-term rates. This is exactly how I found my apartment as well as some other good options, so don’t worry about those nightly rates listed on the website at all 🙂
Also, the place I rented was called Casa Jaqui and a few other good ones were Casa Namaste, Casa Jacobo and Casa Yaka! Feel free to let me know if I can be of any further assistance as well…
Hey Derek…thanks for reading! Sayulita is amazing indeed. Let me gather all the contact information and i’ll send you the details.
Sounds like paradise!
What’s the deal with internet? Do you have wifi in your apartment?
And if you wouldn’t mind, can you give me some contact info for your apartment complex? I’ve been looking into Sayulita for a little while now.