Hello readers! It has been a long while since I last wrote. Over the past few months, I have been doing a life overhaul. If you haven’t heard, I quit my job as a social worker and moved to Mexico City, Mexico!
THE DREAM AND THE CATALYST
This tale starts with a little wonder. I have long been obsessed with traveling, and many years ago I began feeling a strong urge to make the world my home. That is, to abandon the idea of borders, discover new cultures, and embrace different experiences abroad. Along with my passion for helping others, I had hoped to engage as a social worker on a global level. However, the last few years in social work left me burnt out and needing a big change of pace.
About 6 months ago, I started taking the idea of making a life abroad seriously. I’m a planner so, naturally, the first thing I focused on was finding a way to make a living and maintain sufficient financial means to reside abroad. I was incredibly fortunate and stumbled upon a great company that offers online English courses to children in China. I will write a separate post later about finding remote online work. Anyways, I applied, and within a few weeks time, I started scheduling classes with students.
I taught students many very early mornings before heading to the nearby hospital, where I was working as a social worker at the time. I tested and vetted the opportunity, developed a budget, and literally “shook on it” with my husband. Soon, I would quit my full-time career and we would move to Mexico in late spring. By May 1st, we were on a plane to Mexico City. Sounds quick an easy, but really the journey was fairly challenging. We sold just about everything we owned—my car with an outstanding car loan, all of our furnishings, and tons of housewares. Now, we own a couple of suitcases worth of clothing, a couple of small boxes of important photos and precious knick-knacks, and our dog, June. In true planner fashion, we also kept a box full of camping gear in the event things really don’t work out.
THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT
First of all, I had never been to Mexico City. Nor had I ever lived in a city bigger than Asheville, NC. My husband and I have traveled over the years to various destinations in Central America and once had a stop over in Cozumel. He, on the other hand, had journeyed solo to Mexico City a couple years back and was committed to returning with me at his side.
My first several weeks here in Mexico City enveloped me with a great mixture of novelty, curiosity, fear, and fulfillment. I was enamored with the lush green gardens, grateful for the ability to walk to countless museums, restaurants, and markets, and thrilled with the dog-friendly atmosphere of the city. Most days, it was my personal mission to eat and drink everything in sight. One of my favorite things about Mexico City is that it offers endless culinary options from all over the world. In addition, I found myself with a new appreciation of time. Working part-time from home, I focused on seeking new experiences, exploring personal interests, and improving my relationship with myself and the world.
Still, ordinary things that I used to take for granted were suddenly stripped. I speak decent intermediate Spanish, but I was anxiety-ridden with navigating basic conversations. Numerous days, we wandered the city counting on Google Maps to keep us straight, but found ourselves utterly lost anyways. Family members were still sending me news articles detailing incidents of horrible violence in Mexico. Though I was fairly confident with my own research on safety in our neighborhood, I still had some doubts. Finally, my husband and dog were my only company. We had no personal connections here. Due to the language barrier and other challenges that come with big-city living, it would take some time before we would make any.
THE EVERYDAY LIFE
There is so much to share on the topics of making big life changes, traveling, and specifically living in Mexico. In time, I hope to write more about specific experiences that I have encountered over the last several months. But for now, I will provide a brief update. Life is flowing here in the city. I have a studio apartment that I love, regular cafes from where I work or just imbibe lattes and matcha, and I’ve started connecting personally with some fellow wanderers and teachers. We’ve had family and friends visit us from the states too. Traveling around has been an absolute highlight of moving to Mexico City. It is affordable and convenient to hop on a bus or a quick flight. From mountains and volcanoes to colonial cities and beaches, the beauty and variety of Mexico is impressive. While I get my fair amount of exploration in, the day-to-day moments are the most fulfilling. Mindfulness, curiosity, connectedness and action on goals have been at the forefront of my daily practice for the last several weeks. I am finding myself and improving my well-being. This is the greatest reward for taking a risk and quitting the American dream.