Sometimes it takes a while for us to perceive the patterns in our lives.
For example: over the past 16 years of living and working abroad, I’ve spent a total of seven of those years based in Mexico, in four different communities. And I’m currently a Mexican resident.
This says two things to me about the last 16 years of my life.
First, there are a lot of really nice places to live here in Mexico.
Second, there is something about Mexico that keeps me coming back, even after spending years in other countries…something so compelling that it’s worth having a resident’s visa and calling Mexico home.
The fact that Mexico is a big, modern, diverse place still comes as a surprise to some of the people I talk to back in the States. Folks who’ve never been here sometimes have pretty one-dimensional views of Mexico thrown together from tacos, mariachi music, some old movies, and a news story or two.
Even folks who have been here once or twice, sometimes equate Mexico with whatever resort or hotel they spent a week in on vacation.
Start to explore the potential places to actually live in Mexico, though, and you quickly learn how rich and varied this country really is. It has beaches and coastline from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean Sea to the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific Ocean. There are so many livable towns and cities just along these magnificent coastlines, that choosing one to settle in is a delightful challenge…Puerto Vallarta, Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, Puerto Escondido, Huatulco, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cancún, Progreso…just to name a few.
As nice as Mexico’s beach communities are, I personally am a confirmed highland lover, and Mexico’s interior has just as much choice to offer. Places like San Miguel de Allende, Chapala, Mérida, Guanajuato, Oaxaca—not to mention the bustling cultural centers of Guadalajara and the queen of Latin American history, culture, and cuisine, Ciudad de Mexico—are all places where expats enjoy the kind of great weather, modern conveniences, and Old World charm that only Mexico can provide.
Given all the potential places to call home in Mexico, my personal record of living in only three seems paltry.
But with the vantage point that time provides me now, I realize that there is something else that has kept me coming back to Mexico over the years. And as much as I love the culture, the food, the huge variety of locations and geographies, and the undeniable friendliness and pride of the Mexican people, I’m not ashamed to admit that one of the biggest draws of Mexico for me is…the convenience.
There, I said it. I’m not a spry young backpacker any more. My days of roughing it for adventure are over. I like comfort. I like fast Internet. I like modern medicine. I like movie theaters and great cafés and restaurants.
These days, I like my overseas adventure served up with liberal doses of civility, culture, and yes…even a little elegance now and then.
And I like to be able to get back to family and friends in the States, as easily and quickly as I can fly from one city to the other in the U.S.
Mexico has all that. And it has something else as well…affordability.
My cost of living in Mexico is a fraction of what it would be in the States. The wonderful weather keeps the cost of utilities low. Property taxes are miniscule compared to the U.S., and healthcare costs are so low that, unlike in the U.S., I can actually afford healthcare.
Mexico is convenient, affordable, warm, interesting, close to family and friends, and has something for everyone.
So yes, with the vantage of hindsight I can see why I’ve been bouncing all over Mexico for years now, why it keeps calling me back, and why I will probably continue to be a Mexican resident for the foreseeable future.
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