Welcome to the Blog of Lost and Found in Mexico Documentary Film.
My documentary film is an exploration of feelings, changes, thoughts, of people who have left the "American Dream" to live in a foreign country. The film seems to be of interest to people who feel unfulfilled by the culture in which they've been raised. It also appeals to people thinking about living in Mexico or retiring in Mexico.
Hi Caren. Is this still an active blog? Do you still live in San Miguel?
Helen Andrews from Colorado
Ms. Cross, I recently purchased your dvd and loved it. Although Mexico has long been on my radar for a retirement possibility, I have to admit I have begun to rethink that choice. As a law enforcement officer, I have access to classified reports of the Narco-Drug related violence that plagues the border region and it causes me some concern about relocating to Mexico. In light of the drug violence on the border, has your opinion changed any as to Mexico being a viable retirement spot for Ex-Pats? A lot has changed in Mexico since this documentary was done in 2007. Would you make the same documentary toady?
scott burlin from texas
Hello i am very interested of getting the documentary, do you do shipings to Morelia Michoacan in Mexico?
Efrain Davalos from Mexico
Hi Caren, I came upon your site by sheer chance. I was doing a google search on spirituality in Mexico and there you were. I read the bio on your movie and cannot wait to purchase it. Must be something about Mexico. I had the same experience. Last may 2011 i visited Zihuatanejo for the very first time for 1 week. I returned home, sold my house in 1 day, quit a successful medical/esthetic career and oct 2011 i had relocated and am happier than ever. I made the move alone, what decided me was the fact that i did not want to look back in 25 yrs time and have the biggest regret of my life. Yes..everyone thought and still thinks im totally insane.
My life now is simple,i go about without makeup( no need for it), don't put on layer upon layer of winter clothing. The food is so fresh and natural..etc,etc.For the first time i can say that i am living whereas before i was simply existing.
suzanne from canada
Caren, I bought Lost & Found video 2 years ago and posted a comment on this website. Your video so inspired me that I sold my house, closing in May; I rented a cute house in Chapala and will be on the road with my dogs on June 1st! Once I am settled I am coming to SMA to meet you and hopefully some of the the people in your video. Thank you for your inspiration!!
MaryAnn Saffery from Jacksonville, Florida
I will be visiting SMA in a couple weeks. Is there a chance to get together over coffee to talk about life/moving to SMA?
Jennifer from Atlanta
Caren, I have probably watched your film close to ten times. I identified so closely with some of the people who are interviewed. ie.the teacher who had taught for thirty years and decided that was enough! I told myself when I retired I was going to rent a little apartment in San Miguel for a month. Well, I retired and my fear of drug violence has kept me from Mexico. Maybe no longer! Thank you.
I loved "Lost and Found in Mexico." My husband and I are hoping to go visit San Miguel as soon as we can plan something. I would definitely love to see any other documentaries you might make in the future!
L. Engle from La Habra, CA
I loved your film. As soon as I watched it, I wanted to write you a long letter about how it made me feel but it seems that my job has gotten in the way. . . I know that you understand. Since seeing the film and planning my move, I have struggled with just not walking out the door at work--and that is so not me. Any way, I just wanted to let you know how wonderful your film is and I will figure out how I got the information and write you a longer letter. Thank you so much for making me excited about the future again!
Georgia Ekstein from Shaker Heights, OH
Caren, I watched "Lost & Found in Mexico” and cried. I identified with so much in the film. You really did a good job of portraying the town and the people (expats and locals.)
Like many other boomers, I feel it is time for me now. I feel that if we don't make the move now, we'll get too old and just settle in like our friends.
We’ll be moving away from six grandchildren. For years, I have hosted all holiday dinners and celebrations from Easter to Christmas. After cooking and cleaning, I am left with a pile of dishes and more cleaning the next day.
We want a simpler life now. We are going to try to slow down and enjoy every moment. Thank you for your film that really spoke to us.
Janis Wood from Dallas, TX
I am from Birmingham, AL. And I am a recent widow. But to make a long story short, my brother has been visiting San Miguel de Allende for the last 27 years. I have visited 4 times, and FELL IN LOVE WITH SAN MIGUEL, the very first time I was there. My brother was there for the month of March and found out about your Documentary and has bought one. I saw it and cried ALL THE WAY thru it. It was so PERFECT and it related my feelings fully. I had always told my husband that we were going to retire there, but my husband passed away at the age of 61. But, I have not given up my dream of going to San Miguel for at least 6 months of the year. My son is having a fit, but I KNOW that is the only place I will find myself again. I have told my family it is the only place I will be able to find peace on my heart!!!!! THE VERY MOMENT I get off the plane in Leon, I feel San Miguel gathering me up in a "soft peaceful blanket" and calling me to "come on home to where I belong."
I hope this does not sound real silly. It is just how I feel. I feel safer in San Miguel than I do here. I have read many, many books on retiring to San Miguel and know there are other widows or single women living there and doing fine. I know a few people there already and would like to volenteer and in some of the things that "expats" do there. I am also sort of an "artist".
Well this old southern woman did not make this short, did?!?!? When I do get down there I would hope we could met and talk a little.
THANK YOU FOR GETTING OTHERS AND YOURSELF TO PUT INTO WORDS WHAT SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE MEANS TO THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just found your blog and I want to thank you for speaking out about your experiences in Mexico.
I am from Monterrey and I am very happy to see that many Americans have chosen to live in Mexico and have embraced our cultural heritage.
I think also that we in Mexico are reciprocate to Americans, we love to shop for American products, we love american movies and books, we have also embraced american culture too.
God Bless You!!!
Over the years I have visited San Miguel many times and hope I will be there once again before too long.
I was there last spring. But, the item I wish to share with you occurred two years ago.
I was attending the writer's conference and workshop in a hotel near the center of San Miguel
I took a taxi and left my apartment near Tres Arches Shortly after I arrived at the hotel I realized I had either left or lost my coin purse containing money and one important credit card. I took another taxi and returned to my apartment reporting the loss of my credit card while there.
I then took another taxi back to the hotel. While in the taxi I mentioned to the driver that possibly I had lost my purse in the earlier taxi ride.
The driver said, "Just a minute" I thought "Oh! Horrors I will spend half a day in the office or police station because of this."
However, a few minutes more I was back at the hotel /convention site. My taxi pulled in next to another taxi.
THERE I found waiting for me, the first taxi driver standing there waiting to hand me my purse, credit card and all the money
Because I was most grateful I offered him most of the cash in the purse. The man did not want it all saying, "It is too much."
I told him if he had not been so honest I would have none of it and as well the worry over the missing credit card.
He finally accepted what I offered.
There are all sorts of people in this world and it's, I think, very wrong to judge people less than individually.
This was an older Mexican man who likely has little money. Yet he had in him a great deal of self respect and belief in personal honor
I received your film and I absolutely LOVE IT!!! It made me laugh and cry, but it affirmed that I haven't lost my mind as I am planning a relocation to Mexico myself. I was thinking about you and wished that I had your email so that I could communicate with you directly. No I won't inundate you with emails! But your story touched my heart.
I heard about your film from a website "Falling....in love with San Miquel" created by Carol Schmidt and Norma Hair. They presented a trailer of your film on their site. And I am a member of Mexico-MySpace which also presented a trailer of your film just recently.
I am a widow with 3 grown sons who think I've lost my mind wanting to relocate to Mexico (drugs, warlords, highwaymen!). I decided to do this partly out of economics because I can't afford to live in the US anymore, but more than that, I felt like you that I lost a big part of myself over the years. And I'm finished trying to fill others' expectations of who I am or should be.
As a young woman I felt pressured into marriage and motherhood by peers and society. I felt defined for several years as "Roy's daughter, "Rick's wife, Ricky's mommy" etc. One day, when my boys were young, someone called me by my first name and I cried. It felt foreign to me.
Now that I'm a 66 year old widow, my sons and grandchildren expect me to play the role of a cookie baking, babysitting grandma. As much as I love them all, I spent most of my life catering to others and I want to spend the remainder of my life catering to ME. It sounds selfish, but like you said, somewhere along the way I lost me, the girl I was at 19-20-21.
I have played your film a dozen times since I received it and may need to buy another one in case I wear this one out!
Bless you for sharing your story and the stories of others, each of which mirrored my experiences.
Hi, Caren... San Miguel has been pulling me intermittently for many years, even though I have never been there. I bought your DVD when it first came out and viewed it several times in the first month... then it got lost in my busy life. When a friend visited last month, I remembered I wanted to show him the section where Jim talks about his life as an attorney and the transition to living (literally and figuratively) in SM. It brought tears to my eyes and I have watched the film three more times since then. I am happy to read your comments about the safety in SM (and most of MX). I should be retired by next Spring and hope to visit before then. If the grip San Miguel has on me now remains once I have feet on the ground, I hope to be a neighbor soon. Thanks so, so much for the film. I suspect it has been like a life preserver saving lost souls from drowning in what they (we) call a life. -- Best regards, Don
I have now shown your film a dozen times to various friends as I try to "explain" my reasons for relocating to San Miguel de Allende. Each of those interviewed in your film offered insight to so many things I have so often felt myself. After my previous life of chaos and stress (which can take a huge toll on health) I realized this is absolutely NOT how I want to live. The American "Dream" ?? I've learned it is not for me.
With each trip to San Miguel I've been fortunate enough to meet many incredible people - creative, intelligent, happy and at peace. There is truly a reason for this. Your film has been an inspiration for me and the upcoming change in my life. Most of those who viewed the film with me are ready to pack their suitcases, at least to visit me in this wonderful place since most are not in the position to pick up and leave.
Your film is beautiful and positive. I do hope many more will have the joy of viewing it. So thank you.
Colleen Sorenson, artist
Caren Cross's "Lost and Found in Mexico" is my constant conduit to SMA. It sits in my DVD player. I savor it with fine Tequila or with veggie-burgers, fries and cold Coronas. SMA, the Heart of Mexico: epicenter of the Revolution 200 years ago; the history of Mexico in art, culture and architecture; the place without red, green or yellow lights, without stop and go signs; the place where people dance with vehicles through the streets; the place Caren captures on video for you and for me.
I am well-traveled. I find many cultures, places and people fascinating. But I love San Miguel. That is where I find the most peace and joy.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hello Caren Cross-
A neighbor loaned me your film yesterday..and this morning...when the roosters and pigs of the neighborhood were still asleep...I watched it. I found it enchanting...challenging...and accurate. Congratulations again on a masterful explanation of "Why I've continued to return to San Miguel to live!"
Caren, your DVD is amazing. It arrived yesterday and I've watched it
three times already. Very well done and interesting... I'm coming
back to my comfy chair!!
Looking forward to our visit. We are going to try to 'be calm and
walk slow' !!!
Caren Cross--I want you to know that I first saw your film at a small movie theatre in Sausalito. I was in San Miguel two years ago by myself and had the same "home" experience. Actually I referred to it as "I was there alone, but never felt lonely".
Your film made me cry, longing to go back. I'm planning a trip back because of the film. Great job! (I'm a retired yoga teacher/holistic lifestyle coach)
I've had two groups now at my home to see the film...
Libby in San Francisco
Well, I've done all the reading here that I can handle for one day/night ....it's now 2:41am. So now it's time to check out & buy your
film. I spent some time in SMA in 1986 & hardly recognize the place now from the many photos I've looked at recently. I am coming to SM in Nov. & plan on staying until the end of Jan. or the first of Feb.
I will be looking for a place to live & hopefully retire to next year. I am very much looking forward to watching your film as soon as possible. I also hope &, feel as if I will, meet you some day in one of the absolute best places on earth,...SMA !!!!
I got your film within a few days ...and watched it 3 times in a row, then another 2 times the next day with someone else. I thought the women's narratives were deeply moving and resonated with me, as I'm sure they resonate with most female viewers for all kinds of reasons. But it was the ex-lawyer and his wife who moved me so much that I cried. I found his life story and especially the way he told it, incredibly compelling.
Claire, Itheca, NY
Yes it never ceases to amaze me how the press and the rest of the TV media and so on jump on a subject and work it to death. Then they just move on to the next hot topic, most of them ignoring the damage they have done along the way.
I thought another good example was what they have done with the Michael Jackson situation. It was as though nothing else was happening in the world of any importance. No Iran, Pakistan, Obama etc. Give me a break these reporters I like Ostriches, or at least their editors are. Please don't even get me started on the celebrity BS. I am not picking on Jacko as I loved a lot of his music even though he did not add a lot to my life in any other ways.
I thought for a long time the swine flu issue was being overstated and thank you for your update on what seems to be happening locally there.
Continued good luck with your DVD it is very inspiring to see what you have done.
I was able to watch Lost and Found in Mexico multiple times over this past
weekend and came away with many ah-ha! moments and insights. I will not
bore you with TMI on my past history-suffice to say it is complicated, like
many, and includes years with a therapist. I arrived in SMA in late March
and have been very down about being here for a while now.
The bottom line, I now realize, was I had to leave everything I know as
familiar, family and friends, a house and yard I enjoyed, strip away
everything, to find the one person I was not familiar with, myself. Who am
I, what do I want, like, believe---another phase of healing for me. So,
thank you so very much for making this film.
My partner and I had been considering San Miguel de Allende as our future home before seeing Lost and Found, but your film sealed the deal. I've now watched it four, maybe five times, alone and with friends. It's such a litmus test; if they get the same tears in their eyes at the realization that SMA is what they've been longing for since they smoked dope and ran around naked in the 60s knowing one day there would be a better world, then I know that one day they could be happy in SMA. If they comment with fear on the open markets, worry about health care, freak at the mention of stomach issues, become more anxious than they were before they watched the movie--I change the topic of conversation.
Thank you Caren, Lost and Found isn't only wonderful because of what it says about San Miguel, but because of how you've encapsulated something essential about human need and aspiration. It's a much better movie than I bet you know.
Soon to be full-time resident of SMA with freedom, finally, to be full-time novelist.
Congratulation on the success of your documentary!
Some of your words keep flashing in my head, when you said you found the person you were at 20.
I traveled for 5 years, then met a Canadian and married him, came to live to Canada, and we worked a lot, had limited social life, everything seems too formal or rigid,and I just realized how much I have changed from the "all smiles, happy girl I was."
My shock came when at work the management brought a movie called "the fish" about how to have fun at the work place. I was thinking mexicans do that all the time, they can have the most stressful job, but there is still time for a joke and to laugh.
My husband and I want to move back to Mexico and I can't really wait to set roots there.
Thank you for the film and for the honesty !
Today my husband and I were talking about visiting San Miquel for a few months to get the feel of the place and people.
Is there a way I can purcase your "Lost and Found in Mexico" DVD from you? I don't want to join Paypal and we do not use credit cards. Suggestions would be helpful.
Thanks so much, and keep enjoying yourselves.
I loved your film.
Interestingly, I have found myself in a similar place to many of you depicted in the film...working a gazillion hours, loving my job, resenting the imposition is has on any sort of real life I might have, but believing I would probably do it 'til I'm 80. I am a researcher studying men with prostate cancer and having moved to Texas just one year ago, I have made a concerted effort to refocus my work on the specific concerns of the Latino men I have encountered. I have lived mostly on the East coast and in San Francisco, so while the concerns of Latinos were less a part of my world, I have struggled with the work/life balance for some time.
I went to visit friends here in Texas over the Labor Day w/e and while bemoaning my burned-out state, not havingstopped working since I arrived in Texas, I told them that the caveat to my experience of being overworked is that I have loved meeting the Latino men I study. I love their way of life, their culture, the concerns they have, etc.- I am fascinated by the impact of some of the cultural mores, such as collectivism, machismo, etc.that embody who they are. While we were talking, my host excused himself from the table and came back with a copy of Lost & Found in Mexico. A retired physician, with a ranch in Texas, he has been visiting San Miguel for the last 10 years, and just bought a house there in June. He told me a little bit about SMA just after I arrived in Texas in 2007, and although I was immediately enamored when I read the local paper he gave me and searched the Internet, I haven't been there yet. When he heard my story on this last visit, he went right to his office to get the film. I couldn't believe what I read in the liner notes and could not wait to get home to watch it.
I watched your film 3 times - I just couldn't get enough of it. It 'nailed' what I have been thinking and feeling - I had to buy a copy for myself. I also shared it with a friend of mine, a psychologist working in San Antonio, who also struggles with this issue. He bought a copy too....
In response to the question posed by jeanne guibord where she asks if the influx of expats might contribute to more "Americanization" of San Miguel, I must say that it has happened, and apparently continues to do so, in many ways.
I am a former "gringa" who lived in SMA from 1993 until 2007, having visited annually following my mother's settling there in 1978. Very soon after my introduction to many expats who were living there back then, maybe 1500 of them, I came up with the phrase to describe what SMA was then, i.e. "The Haven for Runaway Senior Citizen Hippies"! Many of them had achieved significant recognition in a variety of areas - art, music, writing - but were not prone to tout those achievements and were just "real" people. They did not impress me as wanting or needing to have available at their whim all of the products, services, or expectations of what had been taken for granted in the U.S.
And so it was for a number of years. Then the publicity started through travel and retirement publications and word of mouth from visitors which generated more and more exposure. As the numbers of expats who decided to make SMA their home grew, changes also began. Of course, there have been very positive benefits as a result, especially for the locals in regard to educational, job, and health care opportunities along with economic growth, and availability of many services and things the expats had taken for granted in the U.S.
So, my answer to jeanne is, Yes, there has been - and probably will continue to be - more "Americanization" of San Miguel de Allende. I will confess, however, that I do miss my life there in spite of the changes. For so many years my Stateside friends would ask why I liked San Miguel. I attempted to list the various reasons, only to get a blank look with obviously no real understanding. Finally, I would say, "Because down there, the people think I am normal." And they understood!
Gracias, Jose Manuel, por tu mensaje en mi blog. Lo agradezco mucho y veo tu amor por este pueblito. Si vienes a San Miguel, avisame para que hagamos una cita para tomar cafe y platicar.
Y tus sentimientos de los cohetes--es en realidad en San Miguel! Es la vida aqui!
Mis padres se enamoraron por primeras vez en San Miguel y Yo me case con una chica de padre Norteamericano y madre Mexicana que emigraron de Florida a esta bella ciudad. Adoro la ciudad. Mis lazos son muy fuertes con el lugar.
Lo unico que lamento son los cohetes toda la noche. Dejo de ser una tradicion y se convirtio en una invasion al descanso y la privacidad de las personas. Los que amamos la ciudad debemos hacer algo antes de que la ciudad pierad su valor por algo tan tonto.
Estoy muy interesado en el documental. En mi siguiente dia de pago lo ordenare inmediatamente.
Howdy! I saw your wonderful documentary for the first time last night. I am returning to Dallas tomorrow after spending some time in Guadalajara visiting an "expat" who, several years ago, took Spanish from me at a college in Dallas where I've been an adjunct intstructor for 25 years. During my visit here, we made a trip to Patzcuaro, Michoacan, and I just loved it as well as the surrouding areas. I just retired from my main job as a first grade bilingual teacher for the Dallas Independent School District for 27 years. At 54, I am embarking on a new career as an English Spanish court interpreter; I'll take my state and federal exams next month. My partner of 17 years, Jorge, who is from Puebla, also teaches first grade bilingual for DISD and has several more years to go before he retires. He is also a professional ballet folkorico dancer, having danced with Amalia Hernandez Ballet Folklorico de Mexico from 1988-1991. He traveled all over the world with the company. He took English-as-a-second-language from me at the college; months later we began a relationship that is still going strong 17 years later!
We both would like to move to the Patzcuaro area in 5 years and either build a home or refurbish an old one. As a "gringo", I have been blessed with being fully realized and complete in my work and life in Dallas, where I have lived all my life. I grew up in University Park -- my dad was dean of Perkins School of Theology at S.M.U. from 1960-1981 -- and now live in Oak Cliff with Jorge and Sonny, our beautiful Golden Retriever. We are avid gardeners at home and at the elementary school and were even filmed by a DISD crew on June 2nd for a video to be shown to the teachers at a kick-off event for the 2008-2009 school year. When I move to Mexico with Jorge, I will not so much be finding myself but rather enriching my life and honoring Jorge's wish to return to is homeland. I speak Spanish fluently -- Jorge boasts I speak it better than some natives, to which I smile and agree with...sometimes! -- and am working on reviving my Portuguese to at least near-fluent status. I spent...
I am from Birmingham, AL. And I am a recent widow. But to make a long story short, my brother has been visiting San Miguel de Allende for the last 27 years. I have visited 4 times, and FELL IN LOVE WITH SAN MIGUEL, the very first time I was there. My brother was there for the month of March and found out about your Documentary and has bought one. I saw it and cried ALL THE WAY thru it. It was so PERFECT and it related my feelings
fully. I had always told my husband that we were going to retire there, but my husband passed away at the age of 61. But, I have not given up my dream of
going to San Miguel for at least 6 months of the year. My son is having a fit, but
I KNOW that is the only place I will find myself again. I have told my family
it is the only place I will be able to find peace on my heart!!!!! THE VERY
MOMENT I get off the plane in Leon, I feel San Miguel gathering me up in a
â€ soft peaceful blanketâ€ and calling me to â€ come on home to where I belong.â€
I hope this does not sound real silly. It is just how I feel. I feel safer in San
Miguel than I do here. I have read many, many books on retiring to San
Miguel and know there are other widows or single women living there and doing
fine. I know a few people there already and would like to volenteer and in
some of the things thatâ€ expatsâ€ do there. I am also sort of an â€œartistâ€.
Well this old southern woman did not make this short, didI?!?!? When I do get down there I would hope we could met and talk a little.
THANK YOU FOR GETTING OTHERS AND YOURSELF TO PUT INTO WORDS
WHAT SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE MEANS TO THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I saw your beautiful film at the Biblioteca in March 2008, my first visit to San Miguel. I found it moving, powerful and inspiring. The people you interviewed were very real and have obviously gone a long way spiritually. I have one worry after seeing this film: if too many Americans, Europeans and Canadians choose to live in San Miguel, won't it lose its magic and attractive qualities ?? Won't expatriates bring in all the ''comforts of home'' and turn it into a small Americanized town ?? Just a thought.
Sending kudos your way doesn't seem to be enough! Thank you SO much for filming LOST AND FOUND IN MEXICO.
For a number of years now, my husband and I have been considering a retirement outside of the U.S. We have been "hearing" about San Miquel for about the past 5 years and I have been doing serious research on the town. And that is how I happened upon your wonderful documentary. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering a transition to Mexico, or anywhere, for that matter. Because even though your film is specifically about San Miguel it could certainly be about anywhere in the world that sings to a person's soul.
If you find yourself at this website, there is some reason why you were led here. The universe works in strange and magnificent ways. Buy this DVD and enjoy....let your soul speak instead of your mouth. See what happens to you.
Again, many thanks, Caren.
Sharon De Caria
Colorado Springs, CO
I will have to see your film & see if it can provide any pearls of wisdom. My situation is similar but under much different circumstances. I am 30 years old and was forced to early retire (if you want to call it that) to Mexico, Queretaro (not too far from you), by the fact that my 34 year old Queretaran husband was unable to obtain papers in the US despite our marriage. Moving here wasnâ€™t something we relished as a relief of the rat race, actually, he was very pained to leave his successful job as a construction foreman, and I had to leave an incredible environmental program I had built at a high school in CA and a recently completed Masters project, friends, and family. But the reality of our move was impending- we could not afford a home in CA & my husband and I tired of the daily fear with his traveling the streets unlicensed. Good fortune shone on us, we were able to save up enough to build a beautiful house on a small piece of land gifted to us by his father who is an ejiditario here in Mexico. There are the occasional sweet moments with family members and the cultural events down here. However, aside from that sunny side, life has been quite difficult for us since we moved here. We needed to live with my inlaws for the first 9 mos while we were building, and multiple in-law issues were very challenging & the neighborhood very rough. Donâ€™t get me wrong, Iâ€™m not some princess- I have been a volunteer in various environmental and social services since I was in high school & am quite aware of the issues- but when youâ€™re faced with the results daily, somehow itâ€™s harder to distance yourself from the painful places. The community our house is in, that we now live in, is on the city edge in the mts. (San Jose el Alto) is still quite mixed between residents who live on the edge daily, to landed individuals who are busy selling off and filling their pockets. Rural in transition to urban. In all cases there is a great deal of sexism, classism, racism, and neglect for the Earth everywhere you look- distinct from San Francisco we moved from. Even though Queretaro is close to SMA it doesnâ€™t have the same vibrant expat communty,...
My husband and I LOVED your documentary on San Miguel de Allende! We are looking for a change in our lives and we think that this small town in the countryside of Mexico may just be the place for us!
We long for a place where we can walk around town, get coffee and eats on the spur of the moment, greet friends daily, and just relax and be in the moment. We have spent many years doing just the opposite of this and we are tired. We figure we have another 20 good years ahead of us and want to spend them in a meaningful existence.
All of the people that you interviewed in your film have put into words what we feel deep in our hearts.
We wish you much success with your film.....it should be required viewing for everyone who is burnt out on life. Whether they want to live abroad or not, they should watch it and allow their souls to soak up the positive vibes. Life is for "being", let's all try to remember that!
THANK YOU, CAREN!!
Sharon De Caria
Colorado Springs, CO
I am so glad there is a site like this! My husband and I are considering moving to san Miguel de Allende. It looks so charming, peaceful, beautiful. Thankyou for giving us insight on this charming city.
Got your DVD and must ask...will watching it too much wear it out? :)
You did a great job! I really appreciate that it's available. I've been interested in going to Mexico for some time. All the research and reading just can't compare to seeing and hearing it...thank you!
We received the dvd and watched it immediately. It was fantastic. My partner, Richard choked up immediately upon hearing the comments of having found
"home". He feels exactly the same way about San Miguel.
For me, the points of greatest connection were your own comments
about how much of your life you had dedicated to living up to
expectations and image, and the relief of stepping outside that world. Your words encourage me to follow in your footsteps as soon as possible.
It was also a beautiful film- the images, the colors, the music. I loved
all the footage of your walking, walking, walking...it's a great metaphor for slowing down the journey.
Thank you so much for this work of art and heart.
Caren, I was blown away when my best friend in Sebastopal, CA sent your film to me this week after seeing you in the Sonoma Film Festival. She had no idea I knew you. I was so excited for several reasons. Knowing someone who has successfully left their profession and who recognized, on some level, that your search was all about "freedom to be". And Mexico-of which I have a particular special place in my heart! This is just so cool! When I watched it last night, I cried. Your expats expressed so much of what I have felt a longing for for years. I won't go into detail about my attempt to close down and get away from practicing therapy. All I can say is that some day I'll be free to leave and get my fanny to Mexico. I hope you have all the fun and success in this wonderful creative process. Jean
I will be ordering this documentary because I miss San Miguel de Allende. I am 28 years old now but I spent my 18th Birthday living with a mexican family not too far from the center of town. I lived there from September 1997 till the end of March 1998. I was taking classes at the Instituto Allende for spanish, jewlery, and sculpting. I have had the yearning to visit to see how much has changed since then but I find myself unable to actually find the time and the money in which to have an enjoyable trip. I vow one day that I will get back down there and see the town I fell in love with back when I was a teen. I hope the documentary is all I need to give myself a good boot in the rear to get myself motivated.
After "accidentally" seeing the trailer, I ordered a copy of Lost and Found in Mexico. I will be travelling to San Miguel in a few weeks and I expected the film would give me a preview of the quaint little town I've heard so much about. I had no way of knowing that I'd get so much more.
I was not expecting to laugh and cry and relate so deeply to the people in the film. In sharing their story, each person in the film told a bit of my own story. The film turned out to be about hope. Hope, that I too can find my 20 year old self and the joy I lost somewhere along the way to meeting my responsibilities and reaching my goals of attaining a happy life.
I don't know if I'll find my self in San Miguel or someplace else, all I know is that it's possible and worth searching for.
I'm telling all my friends about this precious gem of a film.
Caren, I saw your post on the civil list...am looking to make a short documentary and a u tube for Hospice.
I am co-founder and President of Hospice SMA and feel that we need to publicize visually for our community that can not read...also an english version. to send in our fundraising package.
If this would be of interest to you let me know
Delibertly wanted to see your doc about San Miguel. I saw it at the Sonoma Film Festival and enjoyed it throughly! I call it syncronicity because I had begun some research on San Miguel as a place where I can learn Spanish, art, and cooking. Thus I need some help. Kindly contact me. I gave you my card at the filming.
To me, the film had a spiritual weaving of why American folks came to San Miguel...a place where they found themselves and much more--A true coming home experience. I was also aware of the use of intense colors worm by the subjects and in their surroundings. Colors are associated with aliveness, many people are afraid of color--very interesting visual. Pleased to hear that the locals are comfortable with Americans and that Americans are participating in Mexican Charities.
Linda Raven, Sonoma, Ca.
Hello...I noticed the editor Elise Durant on your film. Elise and I were best friends when we were girls in Sarasota, FL. She moved away and we lost touch. I have been trying to get back in touch with hr for years. I was so excited when I found her on Google. If you know how to contact her, will you please give her my e-mail address? I would love o catch up with her.
I'm 25 years old, and I was born and raised in the US. My parents came here (from Durango, Mexico) when they were very young. All my life, I thought of Mexico as a poor, third world country, full of people who were in a desperate need to travel north and make an attempt at living the American dream. I didn't know any better. But then I got married to a man who originated from Guanajuato, Mexico. When he suggested we visit his home state, I wasn't overly excited. I really didn't know what to expect. As we were driving to his home town from the airport, my jaw dropped and probably stayed like this for a few days. I was amazed! I was bombarded with beautiful picturesque towns, perfect weather, amazing flowers, and friendly people. When I went to San Miguel de Allende, I thought to myself, "Why are all of these Americans visiting this small town?". We went to the plaza in the "centro", and there was a movie being filmed. There were a bunch of cameras, and horses, and a masked man. Apparently it was Antonio Banderas filming the sequel to El Zorro. Again, I thought, "Here? How do they know about this small, secluded place?". As I chatted with an old European man in the garden, he told me about his move. He had a thick accent, but I didn't ask where he originated from. All I know is that I was in complete shock to learn that all those foreigners that were there, were not visiting. They lived there. At that moment I realized that Mexico was not at all the place I once thought it was. It was full of people who had their values straight, and there was an undeniable sense of peace among them. You can tell that from the moment people in Mexico awake, they are alive. They aren't dreading their day at work, or the rush hour. They're not locked inside their homes all day watching tv. They go outside, they talk to the neighbors, go to the garden, go to church, play with their kids...They enjoy life! At that moment, I thought to myself, "I can live here too". It's been four years since I was last in San Miguel, but my husband and I, and possibly my parents, will move there within a few years. I...
I watched Lost and Found for the third time this past weekend. We shared the DVD with my in-laws who were in Austin for two days before driving to SMA on Monday of this week. I have been to SMA twice before and we are in the process of building a home in the area about five minutes from the Jardin. I literally cannot wait until the day I call it quits and move to Mexico. Your simple documentary is charming and thought-provoking to the nth degree. Thanks for the stories.
Hi Caren: I saw your video last saturday at a friend's house who just returned from San Miguel de Allende. I was impressed with your footage and the interviews. They were real and informative.
I at a 62 year old divorced lady retired from Toronto, Canada. I would like to travel to S.M.d.A. this year. I would be coming alone.
Could you recommend a place I could stay (not a hotel) for a couple of weeks and be fairly save and close to action of the town?
I have not travelled much and was yearning to go somewhere special my first retirement trip.
I would appreciate hear from you or at least have you pass on who or where I can contact someone. I am not an artist. Just an adventure seeker.
The dust of Mexico in SMA fell on my heart in 1967, and I returned summers for 7-8 years until I moved here to see if it would"work".
My experiences and friends go way back: how can you think you are documenting SMA without interviewing me?
All the recent nuevos want to pull in the ladder after they get here.
See me and get the inside story.
just wanted to thank you again for "turning me on" to San Miguel. We met last week at the Bibliotecha. I was the person who heard you on NPR in Jan. I wish we had time for lunch, but my time was short in SM. I hope our paths will cross again soon. I had an incredible experience during my short stay and I owe it to you.
This is great! In my opinion many folks would like to get away from the paranoia in the States. Patriot Act, Real ID Act, Camera surveilance everywhere,etc. You can get to these small Mexican towns and feel the freedom that has been lost in States in last 7 yrs.
Writing from Iqaluit, Nunavut in Arctic Canada
Just viewed your wonderful work today after speaking with Patricia Smith about her time in San Miguel last year (Oct 2006 - Mar. 2007 and previously)
What a great expression of the power of healing gifted to various places around the globe.
We visited Oaxaca several years ago and experienced some of the same power.
The story is one of healing and transformation for those who dare to experience it and follow where it might lead.
I remember reading Herbert Marcuse (California) and his analysis that western capitalist culture systematically must separate people from their souls, and in particular the sensual, aesthetic and erotic dimensions.
To accomplish this, we all must stay in the hot water long enough to be gradually alienated from our centeredness and be infected by" false consciousness" or the desire for all the consumable products of a materialist economy isolated from organic unities of any or all kinds........
This work elicits healthy self-questioning for all those who enjoy your experience, and those experiences of re-birth of your acquaintances who have generously shared their journeys.
Great work. Thank you.
I bought this film just before leaving San Miguel in March 2007,(my fourth visit). I have fallen in love with San Miguel and its people and just had to have this film so I could experience this feeling again and again.
It is so heartwarming to know that someone not only had the courage to leave the â€œAmerican Dreamâ€ and all that she knew to be comfortable and move to a small third world, Spanish speaking country, but who also made a documentary about it. I immersed myself into every moment of the film saying, â€œyes, yes, I agree with you allâ€. Caren captures the pace and flavor of San Miguel as well as the peaceful. kind ways of the Mexican people. Whenever I am unhappy about living in the US, I watch the film again and think,â€” Caren, I hope to follow you soon.
Caren: Thank you for sharing your experience.
I bought this film just before leaving San Miguel in March 2008 (my fourth visit). I have fallen in love with San Miguel and its people and just had to have this film so I could experience this feeling again and again.
It is so heartwarming to know that someone not only had the courage to leave the "American Dream" and all that she knew to be comfortable and move to a small third world, Spanish speaking country, but who also made a documentary about it. I immersed myself into every moment of the film saying, "yes, yes, I agree with you all". Caren captures the pace and flavor of San Miguel as well as the peaceful. kind ways of the Mexican people. Whenever I am unhappy about living in the US, I watch the film again and think,--- Caren, I hope to follow you soon.
Caren: Thank you for sharing your experience.
Yesterday I received your DVD entitled "Lost and Found in Mexico". I was very eager to see it, so I wasted no time in doing so. First of all, I commend you for all the effort you made in producing this documentary. It should serve as a model for other expatriates in Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, etc., to produce similar works, in order to shed the light of truth on living in Latin America.
San Miguel de Allende-- It strikes me as a typical, dirty, third world environment, rife with all the poverty, squalor, uncleanliness and corruption that such places have to offer. Yes, the atmosphere is relaxed and laid-back, compared to America's "pressure cooker", "life in the fast lane" way of life, but many of the modern conveniences we too often take for granted are missing. For instance, I noticed the garbage lying around on the streets of San Miguel, along with stagnant water (excellent breeding place for mosquitoes and dengue fever). I also noticed the rundown condition of most of the homes, and the lack of basic hygiene and sanitation practices in the meat markets, etc.
I sympathize with you and other expatriates with your collective disillusionment with the so-called "American dream". It seems that the American dream has turned into a nightmare! I absolutely despise the Bush administration and everything it stands for, but I don't see much hope from the Democrats, either. I'm fed up with America trying to be the world's police force! We need to stop throwing money down a rat hole in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have plenty of problems here at home to attend to! I could talk for hours on this subject, but I don't want to bore you!
I guess if I could pick my favorite place to live, it would be somewhere in Costa Rica. Every Latin American I have ever talked to tells me that Costa Rica is by far the premier country in Latin America. Having been there myself, I would have to agree! My second choice would probably be Panama; more specifically, the Altos del Maria Retirement Community 58 miles west of Panama City, and 10 miles west of El Valle de Anton. Panama still has an attractive tax incentive package for North American retirees, and...
I heard the last part of the interview on NPR the other morning with Mrs. Cross and I guess I would say it hit me at just the right time. While I have not seen the movie yet, it is on the "high priority" list. Recently a couple I have been friends with for a few years announced they had sold their business, houses, lots, etc. and would even leave behind many of their personal belongings as they embark on a transformative life change similar in some ways to this movie. They are doing some world traveling and then plan on living on two sail boats docked in a California coastal town for the next twenty years. I'm not nearly able to retire yet but just the idea and excitement of going for it in terms of change thrilled me! The one small thing I did that night as a result was to clean out my closets and drawers and "shed" the things I didn't need anymore. Now that is small scale but it was pretty nice. I feel on the verge of a major transformative life change...
We live in Mexico and love it. Yes one finds another part of ones self.
Life is good, safe and beautiful. Seeing the constant changes every day on the Sea of Cortez in beautiful San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
Aloha Caren, Thank you so much for creating this Documentary.
I am in very nearly thesame situation as you were. I visited San Miguel many years ago and cannot get it our of my mind. I am spending the month of Jan in San Miguel This next year and ultimately plan to live there at least half the time. Congratrulations for sharing you story.
I discovered Mexico in the early 1960's when stationed at the Long Beach Naval Station in Long Beach Ca.
On a long weekend, I had the opportunity to drive down to T J and then visit Rosarito Beach and Ensenada.
Since my discharge in 1960 and after College graduation from the U of Arizona in Tucson, My wife and I have had many trips and vacations to Mexico.
We absolutely love Puerta Vallarta (Time Share Condo vacations).
Being an avid ocean fisherman, I have had the privelege and honor to fish in the Sea of Cortez - (San Felipe-Cabo, etc.) and also on the Pacific Ocean as well.
We would love to someday live in Mexico and enjoy the beauty of Mexico as well as the wonderful Mexican people that are so warm and friendly.
Who knows? This may someday be a reality. Thanks for the movie and Hasta La Vista. El Bud
I am lost and found in Istanbul!
A single 45 year old American woman, I traveled the world for nine years searching for a new country, new tribe, new home. I lived for 2 months to five months each, in Paris, Kathmandu, Bali, Bangkok, Brazil, Argentina, and more as part of my search.
Who knew I'd end up in Istanbul! There are great stories here. As well as in many of the world's expat havens. I am writing a book now about my nine year search for a country and the expats I met along the way.
How do I see a copy of your documentary? If I purchase it, can I have it shipped to Istanbul? Can I get it online?
Let's talk about expanding on your documentary. Why not Lost and Found - Istanbul. Lost and Found - Thailand, Lost and Found - Brazil.
Check out some of the stories on my website at
I also wrote and edited for EscapeArtist.com...where you can find columns and stories written over the past eight years by me.
I've been hoping to watch this film for some time. Today I was fortunate enough to see a screening at the Biblioteca Publica's Teatro Santa Ana in San Miguel. I found myself smiling and nodding in recognition for the enrite 53 minutes. Of course, I walked out with a copy under my arm.
Beautifully shot and exquisitely edited. Now, when people ask me why I choose to live in central Mexico, I will simply tell them to watch this film.
Thank you, Caren, for articulating so beautifully what I have been trying to explain to people for years.
I really enjoyed meeting you and David. The documentary is wonderful! As I told you the film captured the feeling I had when I was in San Miguel earlier this year. I think your documentary will touch many and push them to reflect on their own lives. I hope to see you and David when I am in San Miguel the next time. Good luck! Dianna
Caren's film was a big hit at the Hope and Dreams Film Festival in Hope, NJ.
The content really struck a chord with the audience members. People are still
talking about the documentary.
The biggest question, "What do you do about health care in Mexico?"
David also held his own and mixed well with filmmakers, groupies, and others.
Hope they will visit again with a new film in tow. HDFF
I found you via your home exchange site. My husband and I are inn keepers in the Big Bend area of West Texas.
We have a twenty three year old son who is a chef. His passions are music and visual arts. He would like to begin a new career in the film industry. Could you tell us how you made the transition from your first career to film making?
I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel, The Lacuna. Some of the book is set during the McCarthy era in the 50′s and although I knew about that era, I wasn’t fully aware of how pervasive the “watching” was of people whose thinking was anywhere towards the left.
It strikes me that there is a parallel between the 50′s and what is happening now in the U.S. Our freedoms are being denied once again. In addition to the law, the press sensationalizes the news and makes grand sweeping strokes. Sensationalism seems to be the modus operandi.
So, I’d like to make a point about danger in Mexico. Most of Mexico is SAFE. When tourists are planning their trip to San Miguel de Allende, they often get shocked reactions from their friends. “What, are you crazy? Mexico? You’ll get killed!”
Now word is out that NBC is planning an expose about Mexico and how dangerous it is. Mexico is a big country. There are some dangerous places, especially near the borders. Would you not go to L.A. because east L.A. is dangerous? How about Chicago? New York? Yet people are frightened by all of Mexico.
Here is an email I just read from a friend:
“We surely cannot stop NBC or anyone for that matter, from reporting harshly about SMA and Mexico. What we might need to do instead, is for those of us who live in the USA part-time to perhaps collect some statistics which make SMA look ‘rosey’ as many of us feel it is – or get together and start a site: WHAT I LOVE ABOUT SMA
So, here is mine: With so much turmoil in the world I love the fact that it is still peaceful here. Total strangers unite in a place where you are NOT A STRANGER within an hours time. Where you learn to embrace the real things in life and learn to share that wonderful ‘Ah SMA’ feeling with everyone you meet. You participate in culture and creativity, in nature and humanity! We live pretty much ‘as one’ – all of us who have been privileged to find this place. And the love for it is very binding”
Author Barbara Kingsolver spoke last night to an appreciative crowd of over 800 fans in San Miguel de Allende. Her latest book, La Lacuna, is set primarily in Mexico and features Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Trotsky. One of Kingsolver’s interests is in how history is often rewritten. Lacuna: the missing part. Kingsolver, with a very light touch and much eloquence, spoke about how forbidden it is in American culture today to look at itself objectively. How to question who we are and what we are doing is not acceptable these days. She spoke about the thousands of pieces of hate mail that she got when she questioned America’s response to 9/11.
Kingsolver’s favorite foreign country is Mexico. She loves the diversity, the sense of community, the love of family, the colors, and the food. I’m with her!
â€œMexico has suffered this year from a serious case of bad press. That’s good news for you if you can see past the headlinesâ€¦. `I just spent three days in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in a meeting with 150 very sharp folks from around the world, and the consensus is inâ€¦ the best time for Mexico is now.â€™â€
This quote is from International Living. You can find them on the web.
I couldnâ€™t agree more. The exaggerated bad press about the swine flu and the drug cartel has really hurt Mexico. I recently was in the states and I couldnâ€™t believe how scary the press makes Mexico sound. I want to raise my window and shout, â€œIâ€™m mad as hell and Iâ€™m not going to take it anymore!â€
To all of you up north, please take note that the drug problems are in the border towns and that the seriousness of swine flu is FAR worse in the United States.
In the town where we live, San Miguel de Allende, the real estate market is picking up as foreigners are realizing how far their money can go here. Also, I’ve talked with people who lost a lot of their retirement stash, but realize that if they move toÂ Mexico, they can retire now and not put it off any longer.
Our daughter had a baby in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, last week. (All went well. The baby is precious and our daughter is healthy and happy!)
Iâ€™ve watched whatâ€™s gone on in the last 7 days and just shake my head at the difference between my first week as a mother in the U.S. and hers here in Mexico.
My daughter isnâ€™t wealthy, but she can afford to have someone cook all the meals and clean the house. Her housekeeper even goes to the pharmacy to pick up essentials. All that my daughter has to do is take care of the baby and herself. I love this! She can pamper and love that baby and not have to cook, clean, or wash the kitchen floor.
My daughter has health insurance, but had she not had it, she could have afforded the $1500 (U.S. dollar equivalent) that included three doctors (the OBY, anesthesiologist, and pediatrician) and the hospital for a two night stay.
Iâ€™m not suggesting that everyone move to Mexico. Far from that. However, in these poor economic times, people struggling with making ends meet might start to think about what is really important to them. For me, the quality of life here is outstanding. I love being in a small community where people look out for each other. I love not having to drive when I want to go somewhere. I love the sun that shines every single day.
I found a new blog today by someone who is trying to spread the truth about Mexico. The press has really been irresponsible about Mexico and this blogger is trying to help! http://mikofun-therealmexico.blogspot.com/
Friends in the U.S. have the impression that Mexico is dangerous. They read the headlines and are appalled that we live here. If only they knew the truth. In San Miguel de Allende we continue to feel very safe.
A friend of mine wrote a beautiful description of her feelings about the “dangers” of Mexico. Betsy McNair gives culinary tours in Mexico and here is what I found on her website this morning:
â€œWay back in the spring when I started writing this newsletter, I planned to address the current economic situation and how it affects travel to Mexico, which is still an appropriate subject to discuss. Here’s the thing: No matter what, you still need a break once in a while, period. The real question is where best to spend your travel dollars and guess what, I vote for Mexico. And with the peso hovering at around 13-14 to the dollar we get 33% more pesos for our dollars than we have in years and that buys more bang for the buck in Mexico than ever before. You’ll note as well that prices for all of my current tours did not increase from 2008, in fact, by making some changes and tightening my own belt, I’ve been able to lower tour prices this year. Yup, you read that right. I lowered them.
I’ll close with a few words about safety and Mexico. If you’ve read the newspaper or watched the news lately, you may have a somewhat distorted idea of what it is really like in Mexico these days. Contrary to the sensationalized “news” reports, the entire country of Mexico is not under siege by the drug cartels and it is not filled with sick people. Those stories sell; the truth is a little less sexy and a lot more complexâ€.
And later Betsy says, .
â€Here’s what I think about you and travel to Mexico: The risk of being involved in a drug-related scuffle or catching the flu while on a tour with me in Mexico are close to nada. In truth, the risk of that happening is lower than what we face at home each time we get behind the wheel of a car or cross the street — but we’re used to those chances so we don’t let them stop us. I urge you to not let the media stop you from discovering the true treasure of any travel opportunity, and especially one in Mexico. Wherever you are and whatever you’re going, be proactive and take measures to ensure your safety. Just like yer mama always told you, don’t hang out where drugs are being bought, sold, or used. Cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands often…
“You are what? Going to Mexico? Are you crazy? You’ll get killed!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard tourists tell me this exact story. The U.S. press has really done a job on Mexico. Anyone reading this, please know these facts:
1) The drug cartels are after drug dealers. Not tourists. Not citizens.
2) Swine flu has been incredibly exaggerated. Now the thought is that it didn’t even start in Mexico! Has the US press apologized for the damage it’s done to Mexico’s economy? Have they tried to get the truth out?
3) Mexico is suffering greatly. The hotels and rental units are down 85%. Visit Mexico! It is a country of wonderful people, many of whom are living hand to mouth. Your American dollar will be appreciated!! And, it is an economical vacation, especially when compared with Europe.
A new website has been developed to help foster the relationship of Mexcio with the rest of the world. Check out www.thecatalist.org It is an interesting site that is focusing on the positives of Mexican/foreign relationships.
I remember feeling a little guilty when we left the states. We were leaving behind many friends who were working their asses off, trying to keep things together, trying to save for their retirements. It didn’t seem “fair”. Dave had to remind me that they could leave too. There were lots of people who came here when we did who were living on social security. (I think it is harder to do that now as the cost of living in parts of Mexico, especially in San Miguel de Allende has risen.)
Ten years ago we seemed to be farther away from America than we are now. We were living more in the present. We always kept up with the news, but not the way we are now.
Now it seems that everyone is glued to CNN, and CNBC, and Google News reports, etc etc. The details of the presidential race are discussed constantly in the streets here. The state of affairs in the states is affecting the entire world. The outcome of the race is on all of our minds. Most of us care deeply and are helping out in some way and do not feel immune to the state of affairs up north.
Yes, we’ve escaped the fast-paced life that leaves little space for relationships and the constant barrage of consumerism and competition. But, we care deeply.
Just got a note below from Avi in Israel who saw my documentary film on television! Who woulda thought? I really embarked on making this film as a a personal exploration. I wanted to know if I was the only person who felt so different from the experience of livingoutside of the United States. Did other expats feel the same way?
Never in my wildest dreams did I think this film would be purchased by others, let alone purchased by tv networks! How fun…and to do something so new at such an old age, is quite a joy!
San Miguel de Allende is in the midst of celebrating its patron saint, St. Michael. Colorful decorations are festooned on many streets and the fireworks are more prevalent than normal!!!