Updated: May 20, 2018
Yesterday I put in my job resignation. After months of thinking through moving abroad, making the decision, and putting all of the puzzle pieces into place to make it happen, the time had finally come to let my job know that in a matter of weeks, I’d be relocating out of the country. Much like my family and friends who were shocked by my sudden decision, the very first question I was asked by my colleagues was,
I’m asked this question often. Sometimes I’m asked with genuine interest. Other times I’m asked in disgust and disbelief that I would make such a decision for my son and I.
Out of all of the places in the in the world to choose to embark on this adventure, why there? After all, Mexico hasn’t gotten the best coverage in the U.S. media as of late. What was it about this vast country that was making me want to pack up and leave the life I have always known here in the States?
Each time I’m asked, my mind dances around the not just one, but several reasons:
...Maybe it’s because as a single parent in the U.S., it is almost impossible to live a comfortable life unless you’re making a six-figure income. In Mexico, I know that I can live in a 3-bedroom house or larger with a yard (sometimes even more) for a fraction of what I'd pay in the states for a one-bedroom apartment, and pay for a month’s worth of private schooling for my son less than what I’d pay per week in the States. Health and dental care is available to the public, and is affordable enough to be paid out of pocket without insurance.
...Maybe it’s because I’m so OVER the lack of basic human decency and courtesy among one another in the U.S. We rarely speak to strangers or help one another when needed. We've increasingly become a selfish culture, who could care less about the well-being of anyone else. Money and material things are put above all. In Mexico, people lend a hand to one another when needed. They share tables with strangers at restaurants, and don’t hesitate to speak to you or offer you something that you need, even if they don’t know you. They recognize that money and owning "stuff" is not the only means to living a happy and fulfilling life.
...Maybe it’s because I want my son to be able to actually be a kid and not be frowned upon for playing out in the open, exploring, or vocalizing when he is upset. In Mexico, children are encouraged to be themselves. To run around freely, and express themselves. They are looked over and protected by complete strangers who understand that it takes a village to raise a child.
...Maybe it’s because I’m tired of all of the processed and over processed foods being pushed in my face, while the healthy foods only become more expensive and unattainable. In Mexico, there is access to fresh, natural food at every street corner, and it won’t cost me half of my paycheck.
...Maybe it’s because I’m tired of the rat-race...because I want to live in a place where family is actually valued and where people take the time to care for and spend time with one other-- not just meet up at home after an 8+ hour work day, rush through dinner, and go to bed just to do it all again in the morning. In Mexico, people work just as hard, but family time is cherished and always put first. Meals are eaten and enjoyed together.
...Maybe it’s because of the “better than” and “privileged” mentality that many within the U.S. have-- the mentality that other races, social classes, beliefs or backgrounds aren’t as good as or better than one another. In Mexico, different races, cultures, and backgrounds are welcomed. There is an understanding that at the end of the day, they are all working hard to survive and take care of their families.
...Maybe it’s because as a woman of color raising a young man of color, I’m absolutely terrified of my own country at times and what may happen if we do or say the wrong thing, or simply happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Mexico, I don’t have to be worried about being negatively targeted simply because of the color of my skin, because they are welcoming and loving of anyone who loves their country as much as they do.
...Maybe it’s because we now live in a country where anyone, including children can show up at schools and large gatherings with a military-grade weapon, and eliminate hundreds of completely innocent people at any time. In Mexico, I only need to fear violence if I’m at risk of a run-in with the cartel, or involved in drugs or other illegal activities-- and trust me, those things are NOT on my agenda.
And last but not least…
...Maybe it’s because I like tacos. Like, real tacos. You know, the bite-size, mouthwatering corn tortillas topped with freshly grilled meat, cilantro, onion, and a variety of salsa. Mexico is the only place I know who can deliver the real deal...because after all, it’s Mexico.
I’m not saying that Mexico is perfect-- they certainly have their fair share of problems and conflicts just as we do here in the U.S. Likewise, I’m not saying that life here in the U.S. is completely unbearable...it’s just undesirable at this day and age.
No matter what my reasons are for choosing Mexico, I know that most wouldn’t even begin to understand if they aren’t in my shoes. So instead, I keep it simple: I tell them that I want to learn a new language, experience a different culture, and spend more time with my son in a different country not too far from home.
I don’t know what the future in Mexico holds for us...but what I do know is that in Mexico, we will be able to live the stress-free, judgment-free, fear-free lives we deserve. There will be major cultural adjustments as well as times that I will get frustrated, lonely, and sad. But I will never know a life outside of our box in the U.S. if I don’t make the effort to step outside of it...and now couldn’t be a better time to put my faith in God, take the plunge, and make it happen.
I’ll let my photos and videos tell the rest.
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