Welcome to Believe It Ohr Not – Adventures in Retirement Abroad. The purpose of this blog is to share the story of Stacey and Andy as we navigate our new life.
Even though Andy is the professional writer, I’ll be writing most of the entries, although I’m sure Andy will make guest appearances when he feels moved. He’s also promised to edit my posts to make sure they are grammatically correct.
Even though I’m not a pro, I do want to share our adventures, and since you probably have a lot of questions about how our soon-to-begin adventure came to fruition, the best place to start is with a short FAQ.
Why are you retiring and moving to Mexico?
In May 2015, I was diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian cancer, which has a high return rate, meaning I might need additional treatment in the future. After chemotherapy, which has put my disease in remission, it didn’t make sense for me to continue to work in a high-stress job 40 to 50 hours a week (only to have the cancer return) without “living life to the fullest.” For us, that meant moving abroad.
Living abroad has been a long-term dream since we first married almost 20 years ago. And since my oncologist advised me to “live my dreams now” (something she tells all of her cancer patients, although I am the first to actually follow through on it, she told me), we decided to move up our timetable by three or four years. While we were always planning on retiring abroad, my cancer diagnosis definitely sped things up and helped push us along. Also, some of you may recall that Andy and I served in the Peace Corps in Jamaica early in our marriage. We fondly remember those times and know that we have the grit, as a couple, to make this move.
Why did we pick Mexico?
Originally we thought about moving to Nicaragua because we had read so many great things about the people and the country, and it has a growing ex-pat population. We also thought about Panama. But we decided to try Mexico first.
My mom has been living in Zihuatanejo, Mexico for five months a year for the past 25 years. It’s a lovely fishing village (though much bigger than just a “village” these days) on a kick-ass bay on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. I’ve visited Zihuatanejo about 22 times, and Andy has been there about 18. We’ve fallen in love with the scenery, people and culture of Mexico.
Recently we visited Zihua for a month (our longest trip to date) and we both determined that it just felt right. We’re not sure we’re going to stay long-term, because there are about a thousand other places in Mexico we want to visit, but for now, Zihua will be our home base at least from October 2016 to March 2017.
Where are you going to be living from May-October?
We have accepted a house sitting /dog sitting assignment in Zihuatanejo from May 1st to approximately June 13. After June 13, we plan on traveling–although we don’t know where yet. Most likely we’ll be checking out the interior of Mexico or perhaps even visiting other places in Central America. We’ll figure this out once we start our house sitting/ dog sitting gig. Zihuatenjo is very hot in the summer and people advise traveling to the interior of Mexico where it’s not so hot. We’re looking at Patzcauro, Morelia, Urupan, and perhaps even San Miguael De Allende. Mexico has a ton of great places to visit and the world is our oyster!
What do you plan on doing every day?
I honestly have no idea! That’s what makes this adventure so fantastic. Here are some initial goals I have:
- Learn to speak decent Spanish.
- Make Andy happy hours snacks 3-4 days a week.
- Read more literary fiction on my Kindle.
- Blog and share my adventures with you.
- Do some non-profit consulting 5-10 hours a week.
- Volunteer in Zihuatanejo once we move in October.
- Go to the beach as often as possible.
- Take afternoon siestas.
- Fill my life with more music.
Isn’t Mexico a dangerous place?
Yes and No. Mexico does have some very dangerous places due to the influence of the drug cartels. Many of these dangerous places are located near border towns-places we will not travel to. And, things like traveling on the highways can be dangerous depending on where we are traveling to. Most ex-pats say that living in Mexico is safer than living in the United States and we tend to believe them. We don’t anticipate getting caught in a cross-fire gun battle of the local cartels. Despite what the media portrays, we think Mexico is a lovely place to live. We’ll take the proper precautions just as we would living in Oakland.
What will Andy be doing?
Right now the plan is for Andy to continue to keep working two days a week as a copy editor at J Weekly. He’ll be able to work remotely editing stories. He might also do some other freelance writing if the spirit moves him. But, the idea is to mostly relax-not work.
Can I come visit?
We want people to come visit–probably after we get settled in October. We anticipate a lot of visitors so it’s best to clear dates with us well in advance. Starting in October, we will be living in a three-bedroom, two bathroom apartment. There is no air-conditioning in the main living area, but the bedrooms have air. If you want full air conditioning, we suggest you stay in a nearby hotel. There are tons of hotels within a five minute walk of our house! We’d be happy to help you find the perfect place.
How often will you be blogging?
I have no idea how often I’ll post at this point, but I do like to write and I enjoy posting photos so I going to aim for 2-3 posts a week.
What did you do with your house?
We have rented the house out to a lovely couple from Missouri for six months starting May 15. After six months, the house will be rented out on a month-to-month lease. The robust housing market in the Bay Area is allowing us live this dream as our mortgage is low, and the rental we are receiving from our house is high.