“I’m no world adventurer,” says Richard Marazzi. “I’m just a guy with a laptop who can run my company from anywhere there’s an internet connection…and has had some incredible experiences because of it. I’ve biked through Baja’s desert, swum with large manta rays in the Sea of Cortez, zip-lined across deep valleys, and rafted swift rivers in Costa Rica. I’ve even climbed ancient Maya pyramids in Mexico.
“And all the while, I was actively running my design business back in Canada,” says Richard. “This winter, I’m back in Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya and life is good.”
This is Richard’s third winter season in this city on Mexico‘s Caribbean coast. In recent years, it’s grown from a laidback backpacker’s escape to a chic, modern city. Now touted as the fastest growing city in Mexico (and, as some reports claim, all Latin America), Playa’s appeal is easy to understand.
“Playa del Carmen is the perfect place for me,” says Richard. “I can really feel my stress levels drop from the moment I arrive, and it just gets better the longer I stay. In general, I’m more content and relaxed. The weather is nice and consistent, and I love all the sunshine and warmth.”
“My job’s mobility allows me to see beautiful cities and countries, meet wonderful people, and experience adventures I’d never have otherwise. I did Central America in 2011, Todos Santos in Baja in 2012, and Buenos Aires in 2013. I discovered Playa del Carmen in 2014, spent the winter in Costa Rica in 2015, and returned to Playa in 2016 and now again for the 2017 winter.”
While Playa del Carmen has some affordable rental properties, Richard admits that his condo in Playa is a bit pricey and a bit of a luxury. “It’s bigger and nicer than I need. I’m paying the equivalent of $2,000 Canadian dollars (about U.S. $1,500) monthly for it…but it’s beautiful. Fortunately, I offset that expense by renting out my place in Canada for the same amount, while I’m away. I’m close to the beach. And it’s quiet, no loud bars or music nearby. There’s also a rooftop pool which is wonderful after a long day.
“My work requires inspiration and creativity. With my condition, Canada’s winters essentially close those doors. Being in a good mental space surrounded by a warm, sunny climate allows me to do my work in a normal fashion. I let all my big clients know when I’m traveling. At first, they were a little apprehensive. But now they are used to it and know the work gets done. Richard’s found it’s hard to be bored in Playa and enjoys his free time to the fullest.
“I received my SCUBA certification a month ago and recently went diving with friends. We dove with bull sharks, which is a great way to kill a Saturday afternoon. “I also like to discover unknown restaurants off the beaten path. I recently found this barbecue chicken place that is open only for lunch,” Richard says. “You get a half chicken, rice, and tomato salsa, all for only 60 pesos (about $2.80).”
From his “digital office,” Richard can work with any client, anywhere in the world he happens to be. All he needs is an internet connection to stay in touch with his clients and team. Richard says that there is no question that his seasonal move to Playa del Carmen has made a positive difference in managing his seasonal affective disorder. “I’m much more relaxed and content. I am cooking a lot and that is a good gauge of my mood. I have also been meditating every other day and that helps with maintaining a positive mental state.”
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