People constantly ask me, “Why are you living in Mexico?” The answer is not easy to articulate, but I’m going to take a stab at it.
Eleven years ago my husband David and I went on a one-week vacation to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It was March; we were in the northeast and I was sick of overcast skies. We’re not big beach people and someone had told us there is sun in San Miguel! We figured we’d have an adventure. Little did we know that that “little adventure” would totally change the trajectory of our lives.
Within a week we were making plans to come back. Something in Mexico seemed to be speaking to us. (I should say, speaking to me. David wasn’t as enamored as I was, but that’s another story.)
It was after this second trip that we went home, ended our professional lives, sold the house and everything in it, and drove to Mexico. The car was packed with photograph albums, small oriental rugs, and all of our clothes. The winter clothes, ice skates, and sleds went to Goodwill. We had a house sale to end all house sales!
This was an impulsive decision and we are not impulsive people. At the time of moving to Mexico I thought we were going for the sun and for the ability to walk everywhere. I was sick and tired of driving. We lived in suburbia, had raised two children with all of the driving that that entails, and we both commuted to work. The idea of NEVER having to drive again was so attractive!
Clearly we realized that moving to Mexico would be a good economic decision. I was only 53 when we made the move to Mexico. I ended my life-long profession as a psychotherapist. We were both retiring 20 or 25 years earlier than is “normal.” We could only consider this if we were going to be spending less money.
It was only after about the third year in Mexico that I realized that I was a changed woman. Something had propelled me to make this physical move to Mexico, but it hadn’t been conscious. Eventually I realized that living in Mexico had given me the opportunity to be more relaxed, less competitive, more in the moment, more authentic, and more myself.
There was a freedom that I felt in Mexico that I hadn’t felt in my old home. There was a warmth that I felt just in walking the streets. I’ve interviewed many expats in many countries and they all report this phenomenon. There is something about leaving your country of origin and being an expat that allows you more freedom. You no longer have to behave in a set manner.
Before I sum this up, I have to mention something else. After people ask why am I living in Mexico, there are usually two more questions:
”What about health care?” and “Aren’t you scared?”
David and I and most of our friends have intenational health insurance. It is about $2500 per year per person and covers catastrophic care. It allows us to choose any hospital in any place in the world should we need serious treatment or surgery. We pay out of pocket for check-ups and we’re quite satisfied with the care we get. (I am sorry to say, to those of you reading this in the U.S., you are not eligible!)
Safety? David and I both feel very safe in Mexico. All the press that bombards the U.S. is about drug war events near the border or in Mexico City. The press rarely tells you where the horrible events are taking place. The press keeps saying “Mexico.” This is a big country and if you are thinking about moving to Mexico you are not thinking about moving to Juarez, just like you wouldn’t move into the south side of Chicago or the east side of L.A. As for Mexico City, it is a fabulous world-class city and tourists rarely are frightened. Again, it is unlikely that you would be hanging out near the drug cartel guys!
1)Weather. The weather in Mexico is delicious! Human beings are adaptable. We just get used to whatever is around us. Would someone CHOOSE to live in 9 months of freezing ice and cold? Would someone CHOOSE to live in 110 degree heat day after day? Yet, we stay in Wisconsin and we stay in Arizona.
2)You can walk everywhere! No car needed! And for trips you can go by bus. A first class Mexican bus is state-of-the-art. Most are Mercedes. The seats have pull- up foot rests and the seats tilt back so that you are “lounging.”
3)Psychological well-being. Mexican people are generally happy people. Researchers in the “Happiness” area of psychology have tested nations for happiness and Mexico ranks in the top three. The U.S. is # Living in Mexico definitely affects your mood! Furthermore, getting away from the unconscious constraints of your country of origin is energizing.
4)Economics. Your money goes a lot further!
5)Affordable health care.