It seems like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? You are at point in your life when a major change is possible. You’ve traveled to a few places in Mexico, kicked back on the beach at sunset with a cold cerveza and thought “I really like this place – the weather is perfect, prices are good, the people are amazing – yes, maybe I could make this happen.” And then, of course, most of us go back home and dutifully fall into the familiar daily grind, only occasionally allowing ourselves to remember that day on the beach and the possible plan that always seems…just out of reach. But now, more and more of us are acting on those elusive dreams. For many that time in life has arrived when the impossible becomes the possible, the impractical becomes “just maybe.” The Baby Boomers, those ‘60’s counterculture rebels-in-waiting, have worked for 40 years and are finally ready to be the people they remember they were. At the core, they are still the backpackers and wanderers, the idealists and the dreamers. And Mexico, after all, is so close, and it has all those warm beaches, and history, and food carts serving those mesquite tacos…just maybe.
And it’s not just the Boomers. The internet has changed everything over the past 20 years. Today you find younger gringos, many with families, living in Mexico. They have web-based businesses they can run from anywhere, or they have started a physical business in Mexico – a restaurant, a tour business, a real estate office. They live in a Mexican neighborhood and are learning Spanish. They have discovered the concept of community, a soul-satisfying lifestyle that has all but disappeared in many towns and cities north of the border.
Moving to another country, without doubt, is a big deal, and requires extensive research and planning. That beautiful little colonial town in the highlands seemed like a place you could call home forever when you visited for that one idyllic week last year. As did the fishing village where you spent two weeks last Christmas – well before the rainy season with all the bugs and humidity that no one thought to mention to you. Finding your spot, the place that you could live, requires that you spend some time there, summer and winter. You need to see if you can adjust to the pace, the daily life challenges, the Mexican way.
Pick several places that you think you could live. Do extensive research on the net, read the blogs and join the discussion groups. Ask questions from people who are in Mexico. Learn all that you can, and then plan a road trip, either by car, bus, plane or most likely a combination of all three. Initially, spend at least a few days in the places you are considering. Look at the neighborhoods where you might live, not just the tourist area. How is the local transportation, the town infrastructure, the cultural options? Can you get back to the US or Canada directly if you need to without sitting all day in the Mexico City airport waiting for your flight. If you’re on the ocean is the water actually accessible for safe swimming? How are the medical services? That is a big issue. How will you spend your days? If you are retiring, what are you going to do with yourself? Will you soon be bored, waiting for happy-hour every day? These are just some of the many questions you will need to answer before you haul all your things down there to set up house and a new life.
I am always asked “where is the best place in Mexico?” And, of course, it is impossible to answer. It is a different place for everyone, and is answered from the heart more than the head. For me it is the West Coast of mainland Mexico, in the states of Nayarit, Jalisco and Colima. I like the jungle, warm water, and crashing surf. I like to watch the sun set over the sea and the discovery of a beach with no footprints that I haven’t seen before. Yes, for me, that is the best place in Mexico, I answer them.
So, is Mexico for you? It is estimated that about a million Americans and Canadians live at least a few months in Mexico every year. I know many of them, and most have told me it is the best decision they have ever made. They feel safe, leading full, interesting lives, and wouldn’t go back full time to their old hometowns if you paid them to. They have discovered that it’s never too late to be that person they remember. How about you?
Submitted by David Simmonds July 7th, 2012