The number one question David and I get asked these days is "why Mexico City"? It's a valid question, especially considering that we are choosing to leave behind an amazing home, city, community, and life stability for lots of unknowns. While for family and friends our choice seems unnerving, for us, it's the product of hours of research, discussions, and more research. This life adventure is the culmination of my crazy idea almost three years ago, but to be honest, Mexico was far off our radar screen until recently.
So what changed? The simplest answer is David's job; the job he worked months on securing to make our dream a reality, but a number of other factors also helped turn our attention to Mexico City. While your life adventure goals may not be the same as ours, I hope our thought process can at least help you start narrowing your options.
1. Location, location, location
For years, our dream was to move to a South American metropolis like Buenos Aires or Santiago (see previous travel posts like this one), but when we really thought about the travel time required, and costs associated with said travel our budget blew up. David's new job allows him to work remotely from his desired location, within reason, but also requires regular trips back to the US, and asking him to endure 12 hours of plane time for one meeting seemed unreasonable.
2. A big city for a big adventure
Yes, there are amazing medium-sized cities, and small towns dotted across Central and South America, but if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know my true love is for exploring loud, bustling, ever-changing cities. Washington, DC is certainly not a large city (only about 700,000 true residents), so why not take this once in a lifetime opportunity to fully experience life surrounded by millions of new friends? Since we already ruled out South America, this left us with only a few options to consider, but our eyes immediately focused in on Mexico City when perusing Google Maps. Go big, or go home, right?
Mexico City is by no means the "cheap" getaway it used to be, but it's also not as expensive as its US partners is high cost living like New York, LA, or DC. After a little research on average rent prices, grocery bills, utilities, etc. it became clear that we could in fact have a good life in Mexico City on just David's salary. Remember, I won't be working.
Another budgeting factor is our ability to reasonably fly back to the US for the five family trips/weddings/holidays already on our 2019 calendar. The flights from Mexico City cost about the same as we would have been paying from DC anyways. Situating ourselves in such a central travel hub also means we're not stuck with just one booking option. All of the major US, and Mexican airlines make more than one trip a day to larger US locations.
Let's be honest, I'm ready for this grand adventure, but I'm not ready to give up some of what makes my life in DC so wonderful. Easy access to good food markets, public parks, gyms, cultural activities, WiFi, and public transportation are critical to my sanity, and we're lucky enough to afford living in locations with all of these things. David is over the moon about being able to eat tacos all day every day, but I still need my occasional spoonful of almond butter.
5. Word of mouth
Convenience, lifestyle, budget, and travel distance were all major factors in helping us make our decision, but honestly the most helpful information came from all of the positive reviews of Mexico City from friends. Mexico City is vastly different than even 10 years ago, so as Americans, I believe we still hold onto an outdated, and unfair picture of the city, and the country as a whole. After about the fourth friend told us that Mexico City is one of their favorite places on earth, we started to consider that maybe everyone was telling the truth. After our recent trip to check things out, I think I understand why. The colors, aromas, noise, friendly people, and delicious food all swirl together to create a beautifully crowded experiment in city living that I can't wait to jump into.
So, we're moving, very soon, to our new home so that I can finally immerse myself in Spanish language learning, and David and I can live outside our comfort zones for a while. We're excited to spend real, quality time in someone else's world, and expand our worldview for the better.
But first, Visa applications, opening a Mexican bank account, finding a place to live, packing, and so much more. Keep an eye out for blog posts and videos covering all of these topics plus some!
Walking enthusiast, and kitchen experimenter currently living out my dream in Mexico City, Mexico.
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