Work Where You Want, With a Portable Income

Ashley and Frank Campo moved with their dog, Miko, to Tulum, Mexico in 2016 and they haven’t looked back. After several years of visiting the postcard-perfect beach town every chance they could, they decided, “why not?” and made the move.

Now, when friends visit from the States, Ashley and Frank can stroll down to the beach on a Tuesday afternoon and meet them for margaritas. “Everyone else spent thousands of dollars to come here and this is our life,” says Ashley.

Back in San Francisco, the two had good jobs but recognized the cost of living was high. When they’d vacation in Tulum, they’d look at the condo developments going up and daydream about a 10-year plan.

“Then it became a five-year plan, then three and finally, why not now?” says Ashley. “I asked Frank what was the worse-case scenario? We’d make the move, decide it wasn’t for us and move back to the States and find new jobs.”

When viewed through that lens, it was simply a matter of figuring out a way to provide income for themselves.

They both decided to follow their passions. Frank launched an online running and triathlon coaching business, Prana Endurance Training and Ashley launched a travel site, Tulum Traveler.

Now the two spend their days in the tropics creating their schedule to fit their energy levels. Frank spends three mornings a week training for La Travesía Sagrada Maya (The Sacred Mayan Journey) which is an annual re-enactment of an ancient Mayan ritual that honors the Mayan priestess, Ixchel. 400 participants row canoes eight miles across the sea to Cozumel, spend the night there in ceremonies and then row back the following morning.

Ashley’s days are less physical. She walks their dog in the mornings and goes to Spanish class five days a week. In the afternoons they run errands, take a dip in the pool, or handle marketing tasks for one of their businesses.

“It’s great to have the chance to build your day around your productivity and have the chance to build a life with flexibility, which is worth its weight in gold,” says Frank.

Ashley’s even written a guidebook. Travel to Tulum: Your Guide to Paradise. “It was born out of our trips to Tulum and answers all the questions I had when I first started coming here. Questions like, “What to do besides visit the ruins?” and “What type of car rental insurance do you really need?” I want to help others love Tulum as much as I do.

They bought their brand new two-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse for a fraction of what it would cost in San Francisco. It has a rooftop palapa, jacuzzi, and wet bar. They share a swimming pool with the other condo residents. They enjoy going out to dinner with friends, maybe dining on tacos for a total of $5 for the two of them, or enjoying a nice dinner with appetizers, entrée, and wine for around $30.

Ashley’s advice to those who want to move abroad, do so with a good sense of humor and a little bit of extra patience. Experience everything you can. Learn Spanish. Get involved in local organizations. Jump in and enjoy it.

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