To tell you the truth, I was terrified of the thought of even visiting Mexico much less actually moving here yet here I am in Merida, Mexico over a year after visiting this magical Mayan city for a friend’s surprise birthday party. There are many reasons why one might choose to move abroad. This blog post will share insight on why I moved to Mexico as a single mom.
Why I Moved To Mexico As A Single Mom
After my separation from my husband, I knew my little family needed a big change. We all needed healing and that wasn’t going to happen in our hometown of Austin, TX. Austin held too much pain and too many memories. After taking a few small stateside trips and pulling my kids out of public school to homeschool them, the next logical thing was to travel the world with my three daughters.
Okay. Maybe that wasn’t the most logical step by most peoples’ definitions but it was the step we took.
Sometime over those two years of full-time slow traveling around the world, we fell in love with Mexico.
One of the first things that pulled me in so quickly to Mexico was the sense of family and community here. I’d never seen anything quite like it during our travels or during my lifetime in the US.
People in Mexico love their families. They eat together, laugh together, play together, live together, and often even work together.
As a single mom, family is something that has always intrigued me. It is just us four. The constant fear that if something were to happen to me, my girls would be separated and sent to live with others, played on my mind often.
I needed to create community and family and Mexico seemed like the perfect place to do it.
Family Is Everything
Over the course of the year we have been here our family has grown tremendously. There is Barbara who actually started off as a client of mine back when I was in Albania but now is more like my sister.I love the way she mixes up English words and the way she loves her friends and clients so fiercely. She’s lived in Merida her whole life and talks about it with pride.
Then there is Veron. He will pull you in to be lost in his world of poetry and religious exploration and have you rethinking your entire life after just one conversation with him.
Terry, always up for fun even if she says she is not and you can definitely find her cooking up something delicious in the kitchen even though she swears she can’t cook.
There is crazy, Nathan, the food blogger who loves his wine but loves his classy food even more.
Nate & Cassie, I have never met such a dynamic couple before so full of life and love.
Of course there is also the Single Moms DO travel members right here in Merida who support, uplift, and encourage each other through navigating single mom life abroad.
As well as so many others that I haven’t mentioned because it would take multiple blog posts or maybe even a book to talk about them all.
They are family. My family right here in Mexico and a big part of why I moved to Mexico.
Cost Of Living In Merida, Mexico
The Cost of living definitely drew me in. With the rising cost of living in the US, Mexico is super intriguing because the American dollar can go far. Of course, this shouldn’t be your main reason for moving here and it certainly wasn’t mine but it can definitely be a bonus.
In Mexico, my dollar stretches further. My home has 3 bedrooms, 3 and a half bathrooms, and is located in the beautiful neighborhood of Benito Juarez with a pool and yard for only $815 USD a month.
Since we don’t own a vehicle here, we pay around $200 a month or less for transportation utilizing Uber, Indriver, and bike riding, although now that we are in the middle of a pandemic the costs are closer to $0 as opposed to the $700 a month we spent monthly on transportation in the US.
We are able to afford a housekeeper, babysitters, private school, nannies, eating out multiple times a day, activities, and so much more.
Being able to afford these things, allows me to focus on the things that matter like spending time with my family instead of always needing to work to afford my living expenses.
Living here takes away that stress that I felt daily living in the US. I know I am not alone in this feeling of constantly needing to work to pay for things that are supposed to make us happy but don’t or to pay for a home that we rarely get to enjoy because we are always working.
Living A Slow And Simple Life In Mexico
Moving to Mexico gave me more time. Mexico has a super chill vibe. Actually, for many people who are new to Mexico, it can be frustrating just how chill it is. The handyman might tell you he is coming at 2 pm and show up instead at 8 pm confused as to why you are frustrated with him.
Mexico teaches you to live in the present moment and to be still. Why rush? There is no need for it. This took some major adjusting to because in my former American life, I was always rushing. Rushing to get the kids to school, rushing to work, rushing to clean the house before we had visitors, rushing to get my own school work done, or rushing to get dinner finished.
Slowing down was such a foreign concept to me that when I first moved to Mexico, I was thrown off and confused as to why people were not rushing. Things being slow angered me and frustrated me until it didn’t anymore. I have grown to love slow living and can’t imagine living any differently.
By living a slow and simple life in Mexico, you get to enjoy the small things. Whether that is waking slowly without an alarm and slowing pulling the shades up so you can open the windows and let the fresh morning breeze roll in, or maybe it is drinking your coffee and truly appreciating each hot crisp creamy sip.
Imagine a life where you can be intentional with your time? You can do more of what you love instead of feeling like there is never enough time in your day.
If you watch children, they are the perfect examples of slow living because they have no concept of time. They play without a care in the world and often find joy in the little things like mud pies and snacks. I mean. Who doesn’t love snacks, right?
The Sun Is My Medicine
Now, Mexico’s weather is different depending on where you go, it is a big country. We chose the Yucatan which is the hottest part of Mexico. I am talking blazing heat during the long summer months that will leave you clothes drenched in sweat. It ain’t cute.
This came as a shock to me when I first moved to Merida, Mexico. I had visited in March and could not understand why people kept trying to warn me about the heat but when I came back to stay in May, I understood completely.
It was an uncomfortable hot. You wouldn’t dare catch me outside midday unless I was hopping in an air conditioned Uber or in a pool.
However, with the heat comes the beautiful sunny weather which is where I thrive. After staying in places like Ireland, Canada, Albania, and even the US, I realized that cold grey weather is not for me for prolonged periods of time. I need sun to thrive and Mexico has plenty of it. Sun is my medicine.
Actually, we have adapted to the heat here.I had to turn the AC off in the house we were staying in while visiting Texas last summer because we were freezing. My fellow Texans know that this is an unheard of act in a Texas household in the summer.
Right now as I am writing this post, I have the windows open and the fan on. It actually feels quite cool today which is refreshing since it is May which is traditionally the hottest month in Merida.
Energy Is Everything
Merida, Mexico has this energy about it that is hard to explain. It seems to draw in entrepreneurs, creatives, and dreamers. Seriously, everyone I meet is amazing here.
I’ve talked about this with friends. Why are we so happy here? On our monthly Wine & Wonder virtual call today, which is just a group off us that typically gets together once a month to talk about philosophical stuff while drinking wine, we talked about the energy of Merida.
There is definitely this sense of ease and peace here. I don’t think we were able to answer why the energy feels this way just that it does for most of us.
Merida is unqiue in its beauty. Rich with Mayan and colonial roots, it looks like a mix of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and New Orleans. I felt drawn to its beauty almost immediately riding down Paseo De Montejo that very first day. Founded in 1542, a lot of the history is still preserved to this day but what I really love is all the color. It wouldn’t be an odd site to see a purple or pink house.
A Culture That Loves Children
I noticed right away how much the people of Mexico love children. This was such a relief especially since my youngest is such a spirited child. It is not uncommon to be walking in Mexico and for a sweet old man or woman to pat the head of your little one as you walk by or even stop to tell you how cute they are in Espanol of course.
There is no doubt that Merida, Mexico is super kid friendly. For a single mom, it is as close to perfect as you can get. I can actually go to multiple restaurants throughout town, sit down and eat a meal, or work for long hours on my laptop, while a nanny cares for and plays with my child. Albania had similar places but not to the extent that Merida, Mexico has. Often these services are free as long as you are eating at the place or they might cost less than $1. We love visiting places like Cool De Sac, where Novella can play for hours supervised while I get much needed work done.
This is a game changer for single mom life. If there are places like this in the US, they probably cost a small fortune making them out of reach for a lot of people. Careful with visiting Merida because you might never leave.
Where To Next?
Merida is home for now but there is no telling where we will go to next. There are some talks of Portugal, Peru, and even Japan but with us you just never know. There is so much of this world left for us to explore and we are open to taking it all in slowly and intentionally.
What about you? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?