I can’t believe we have been living in Merida, Mexico for one year now!!! After traveling the world for over two and a half years full-time we finally can call a place home.
I need to be honest. When I first booked tickets to Merida, I didn’t want to go. I was dreading the trip. Our purpose with going to Merida was to surprise a former client of mine for her birthday.
I assumed Merida would have a similar vibe to Playa Del Carmen and although there were many things I loved about Playa, there were also a lot of things I didn’t love like the fact that it is super touristy.
I had no idea what was in store for me but my love for Merida was almost instantaneous after we landed and got into our first Uber.
I was mesmerized by the beauty of the city. It reminded me of a mix of Old San Juan Puerto Rico and New Orleans. This was totally unexpected. The people were so warm and welcoming and the touristy vibe was not there.
Instead the city was full of culture and beauty.
Still… as much as I already loved it, I never imagined that a year later we would still be living in Merida, Mexico but here we are.
So much has happened this year.
We filmed for HGTV’s House Hunters International which was crazy but also absolutely amazing. Our episode was titled My Three Daughters In Merida. I was so worried about what people would say but we received mainly positive comments after our episode aired.
Keeping the fact that we filmed for House Hunters International secret for nearly 7 months was super challenging because we had opened up the Single Moms DO Travel House which was the house featured in the episode.
This was an 8 bedroom home for single moms wanting to try out living abroad.
The bulk of our year was spent running the Single Moms DO Travel House.
We learned so much through this experience and although at a lot of times it was tough, I don’t regret it for one second. The experience of running the Single Moms DO Travel House transformed us for the better.
The people we met this year have become family.
First there is Barbara. Barbara was the client of mine that I came to surprise for her birthday. She is now family. I have loved watching her grow her business, Merida Moves, over this past year. She helps expats find homes and she has helped me find two homes during the past year. First, was the SMDT House and then when we ultimately decided to close the doors to the SMDT House she helped me find our current home.
We still joke that in the end that my girls did get there choice of the modern home with a pool that you see in our House Hunters International episode.
Choosing to close the doors to the Single Moms DO Travel House was a difficult decision. The concept of having a house where single moms could live together is a good one. But the actually running of one is super challenging.
I was stressed constantly and my teens really struggled to adapt to sharing a home.
I didn’t realize how much we all were struggling with it until we closed the doors and moved into our own home. For the first couple of weeks in our new home I stayed home instead of going to social events which is unlike me.
I needed to be alone because I hadn’t been alone for the 7 months prior.
Even sitting in my living room became special. In the SMDT House that was a rarity for my family. We normally stayed upstairs where our rooms were and left the living room downstairs for the other single mommas in the home.
It was so nice being fully comfortable and relaxed. I could be myself completely.
The Inner Circle
While at the Nomad Summit, I came up with the idea of the SMDT Inner Circle member’s club. I literally wrote out the program after being inspired by one of the guest speakers. The Inner Circle is a membership club for single moms who want to live a life of freedom through travel and living abroad.
Over 100 women signed up before our official launch which was February 1st. More single moms sign up ever week!
Community In Merida
The community in Merida has grown tremendously over this past year. I was instantly pulled in while visiting Merida for the first time by the feel of community. People here seemed so special and different than what I have experienced my entire life.
They got it.
If you don’t understand what I mean by “it” let me explain more.
These beautiful souls are not defined by societal norms. They all are dreamers and creators that enjoy life.
Most work online and have a love for travel and experiencing new cultures.
Every day there is someone to hang with and something to do. When we have parties and get togethers it seems like everyone comes out.
When someone needs help, there is always someone available to help them. When someone is feeling down there is someone there to lift them up.
Most of us have chosen to live outside of our home country. Most of us were fed up with how life was back in our home countries and we wanted more out of life. We wanted change and Merida offers change.
Even during a pandemic we find ways to stay connected and support each other.
Single Mom Community
The single mom community here in Merida has also grown. When I first got here there were 4 of us. Currently, there are around 10 single mom families. Some left to go back to home countries due to the current pandemic but many stayed.
Before the craziness of recent events,w e got together often at trampoline parks, beach day trips, the Hyatt swimming pool, the bowling alley, and the movie theater.
When I fell super ill back in January, one of the moms took care of my youngest for a few days so I could get some rest. She also took myself and my daughter to the hospital when we weren’t getting any better.
When I went to the Nomad Summit in October, my amazing friend Carissa got my youngest from the nanny and brought her by bus 5 hours all the way to me in Playa Del Carmen so we could all spend a few days together at an all inclusive.
We’ve had many moms come to visit during this past year as well.
We’ve cried together, laughed together, healed together, and grown together. We are family.
Coworking In Merida
Merida has introduced me to coworking which has been a game changer for my business. After attending the Nomad Summit in Cancun with a few friends from Merida, We decided to form the Merida Hustle House group.
We get together a few times a week at various locations around the city and cowork. This helps get us out of the house since we all work online and we are able to bounce ideas off each other, motivate each other, and be in good energy.
Here are some of the lessons I learned over this past year of living in Merida, Mexico:
1. You don’t need a lot of money to live a joyful life.
2. Human connection is the key to happiness.
3. Coffee is essential.
4. I work better when I cowork.
5. Community can change a living abroad experience for the better.
6. Mexicans are some of the kindest people in the world.
7. Mexicans value family.
8. Mexican food is absolutely amazing.
9. Not being able to flush toilet paper is not that big of a deal.
10. Air conditioning is a privilege.
11. Hot water is a privilege.
12. Mexicans are calm even during a pandemic.
13. Having a housekeeper is a game changer.
14. A pool in Merida is essential.
15. Rappi is life.
Thank You Merida
Thank you Merida for welcoming me with open arms. I didn’t even know how much healing I needed until I got here. You were able to show me true love. You pushed me in ways I couldn’t ever imagine and were there for me when times were tough.
You showed me compassion and you showed me how important community is.
You showed me how wrong everyone is about Mexico and its people.
I love you Merida, Mexico!