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.