Dear Cherished Friends,
I’m a traveler – it’s one of the true loves of my life. I’ve always known that I would like to live outside the U.S. after living in London in 1991.
I became an intentional traveler after my experience in the U.K. Any time I went on vacation, I selected a location where I might be interested in living. This has been a great strategy over the years. Some places I loved but wouldn’t live there and other places have remained on my list for years.
In 2006-2007, I lived in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico and fell in love with the culture, food, people and lifestyle. It was this experience in Mexico that won my heart. I knew Mexico would ultimately be my home.
Research online, speaking with others and personal experience helped narrow down different cities. Which ones would make the short list?
#1 Consider within the U.S. or outside the U.S.
Some of my favorite U.S. locations were Scottsdale, Honolulu and Venice Beach.Outside the U.S. favorites are Riviera Maya, Mérida, Providenciales (Turks & Caicos) and Aruba.
#2 Consider accessibility
Once I decided on Mexico, I looked at accessibility including cost, flight time and airport location. In the event of an emergency, would I be able to get back to the U.S. quickly?Flights to Mérida run about $800. With a short layover, flight time is between 4 - 6 hours. I can also fly into Cancun for $325 on average with a 3 hour drive time to Mérida or take the bus from Cancun for $40.
#3 Consider time zone
Being in the same time zone is also important for me. I have many consulting clients in the U.S. Being on the same time zone was extremely important. Mérida is on Central Standard Time!
#4 Consider cost of living
The older I become, the more I feel like I'm living to work or “exist and get by”. What I'm looking for is quality of life to “thrive and be alive”. Cost of living is not only the financial aspect but also the mental, spiritual and emotional aspects.
I realized I was spending a lot of time, energy and effort into existing when what I really need is to invest in feeding my soul and increasing my quality of life.Financial cost of living in Mérida for house/apartment rental (includes electricity, internet & pool services), food and transportation is approximately $1,250. Quality of life cost? Priceless!!!
#5 Consider being “selfish”
I use this term because that’s what people will tell you when you talk about moving. They will find every way possible to convince you not to do it, offer free advice and give you lots of what if’s.
My response is always the same, “I don’t live my life based on what if’s that usually NEVER happen.”If I don't move now, WHEN will I do it? There is always another person, situation or circumstance to consider. This time in my life is about ME!
#6 Consider wants/needs/must-haves/like-to-haves/deal-breakers
Sometimes determining what you don’t want helps you find what you do want. I did not want to live in a primarily touristy location. I love Riviera Maya but there are a lot of tourists…same with Aruba.
I did not want to live somewhere with a tremendous amount of ex-patriates. I wanted to live in a location that was rich with arts, heritage and culture; a vibrant city with comforts of home as well as authentic local lifestyle - Mérida has it ALL!!!
#7 Consider the population dynamics
This was HUGE. Once I began researching population make-up, I realized I preferred a bigger city vs. a smaller city.
San Miguel de Allende has approximately 60,000 residents.
Lake Chapala - Ajijic has a combined population of about 50,000. I felt that the smaller the population, the quicker the ex-pat population would overtake the local population.
Additionally, in a smaller city, I may not be able to find or order things I might need or want (you know, those Amazon.com delivery types of purchases).
Mérida is about the size of Fort Worth, TX with different "colonias or barrios" that are sections of the city. Each has their own park, cathedral, events and activities - promoting community and connection!
Here is some additional information for my Mexico short list of cities:
As I begin my third, final and BEST life cycle, I invite you to join me on social media to learn more about MY exciting adventure:
Wake up in the morning and feel anything is possible!
Living a life full of light, joy and inspiration is possible,
let’s start here ➡️ Calendly.com/AmyJones