For those who don’t know us, Mark and I had a goal for over 10 years of owning a home in a foreign country, and retiring at a “young” age (exact age yet to be determined). Where did this desire come from? Well, I’ll tell you.
We have always loved to travel, especially to tropical locales. About 11 years ago we took a trip that would forever change the way we looked at the world. We went to the Bahamas Island of Exuma and rented a houseboat for the week – this was by far the coolest thing we had ever done! The houseboat could travel the 5 mile by 10 mile calm waters off of Exuma between the main island and many smaller islands that created a barrier to the waves of the Atlantic. We didn’t know at the time that this was a major gathering spot for liveaboard sailboaters whose lifestyles we would find so appealing, and that they would become the catalyst for a major life change for us.
But after reading a few books about sea voyages and the perils and dangers involved, we realized that while we loved the water, this particular life was a bit outside of our comfort zone. But we were determined to make a change, sooner rather than later, and would need a cheaper lifestyle in order to do that. We became devotees of the Kaderlis (www.retireearlylifestyle.com) and their lifestyle of “accumulate experiences instead of stuff”. We realized that, although we were pretty conservative by nature, we still spent money on wasteful things that we didn’t really have to have to be happy. We vowed to cut back and save like crazy, and we began really examining all of our choices.
We then began researching islands and other countries where we might like to live. We quickly eliminated many of our favorite island travel destinations due to a lack of the type of healthcare that we anticipated we would need as we got older. The thought of having to wait for a ferry or take a plane just to get us to a hospital was not appealing. And living on an island is expensive – everything costs more than it does in the U.S. There was also the hurdle that the only way to get to most of our favorite islands took at least 2 flights – not only does it take forever to get to the destination, but it’s expensive to boot!
It was then that Mexico became the clear choice – we had loved visiting Akumal for years as well as Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatenejo. Mexico wasn’t on our first list of choices because of the language difference. But then we decided that might be half the fun! So now the only decision left was where in Mexico we would take up residence. Although we love the pacific coast of Mexico, and were attracted to the expat community and low cost of the areas around Guadalajara, we were drawn to the Yucatan peninsula and its gorgeous water. We had spent several vacations in the little community of Akumal, which we loved, but felt that it was a little too small for more than a two week vacation. But just 30 minutes to the north of Akumal is Playa del Carmen. Some of the best medical care in Mexico is in Merida, only 3 hours away. And the airport of Cancun is only a two-hour flight from Houston. Decision made!
Next post – details on our adventure to being homeowners in Mexico! If you read this - I'd love you to post a comment about it!