Moving To Mexico – Perfecto
I live in San Miguel de Allende which Conde Nast Traveller named the best small city in the world – not bad. SMA is in the middle of the country, is known for its culture and old-world architecture, music, art, and has two international airports each one hour away. Plus, the great Mexico City is less than four hours away.
To date, this blog post has been read over 4,500 times. I know I am not alone in thinking of moving to Mexico.
I am now 4+ years in and live here full-time. My wife and I built a house across from the neighborhood church in the Guadalupe neighborhood that is known for its murals (that’s our house in the picture).
I am maintaining my global advertising agency consultancy (it helps to be able to work digitally from any location) and am way into a major multi-year global photography project which I started when I arrived in Mexico. After San Miguel de Allende, I have photographed communities in L.A., Selma, and worked across India in January 2020. When I get past this Covid stuff, I’ll go to Ghana to add to my white sheet and Widelux series.
I am convinced that I made the right move. San Miguel de Allende is endearing, culturally rich, very visually stimulating. The people are wonderful and welcome gringos like me. Plus, our town has been named the best city in the world by Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveller. Yes, it earned its “best“, but one does have to wonder who paid off the magazines for us to get signaled out.
By the way, check out my two-year San Miguel de Allende photography series, La Gente. Please pass it on, especially to Americans.
Side note: People ask me all the time about why and how I moved to Mexico. No, it is not just baby boomers – incoming comes from all sizes. It seems that a lot of folks want to get to either a “next” experience or sadly, just want to get the hell out of today’s USA. NOTE: We did not move for political reasons. But, hey, living somewhere where lots of people smile every day and are not addicted to FOX, Google News and Twitter is a ‘good thing’. LOL, sure we have news and social media addicts here. But, at least we do not have to see red political hats when we go to the tienda to buy a mango.
Side-side note: if you are interested in moving to Mexico, give me a shout. I’ll give you my perspective.
[The Original 2016 Blog Post]
This post explains why I moved to Mexico, the where, how, and provides some details should you want to follow me.
The move has been a two-year process for my wife and me to decide to make the move and then choose where to live. We selected San Miguel de Allende (for its culture and high-altitude weather) over Puerto Vallarta (too beachy); Baja (too close to California); the Yucatan (way too humid); Oaxaca (a close second); Mexico City (too crazy); or Lake Chapala (boring – though near Guadalajara).
I like moving to new places and do so about every 7 years. The upside is adventure and having to creatively deal with unknowns. The downside is leaving friends behind. But, some visit and Skype plus Facetime keeps everyone face-to-face.
In addition to pure wanderlust, there are other factors that seem to make me move. Here is a new one. I recently read the Wall Street Journal article, Nature or Nurture? What Makes You an Expat? Is a lust for travel, adventure and new surroundings built into your DNA? The article covers the idea that moving and living in a foreign country might be, partially, a function of your DNA. My kids are in their twenties and they now live in Buenos Aires and Budapest. Is the Levitan DNA responsible? Who knows. But, this is an interesting concept to digest.
By the way, that’s me up above C/O of an artist’s photo booth at a Mexico City art museum.
OK, so why am I moving to Mexico?
I grew up in New York City. Went to college in Boston and San Francisco. Then moved back to New York, to Minneapolis, to New Jersey when we had kids, to London and back. And, 15 years ago my family split from post 9/11 New York metro to go to Bend and then Portland, Oregon. Was it genes? Wanderlust? Career building? I think all of the above.
We are not alone. Mexico has the highest number of American expats. The actual numbers are a bit flaky but the U.S. government estimates the number at over 1 million. These include people working in Mexico, folks just hanging out, Mexican Americans and a very large number of American retirees.
But, hey, this blog post is about me.
- Numero uno: Adventure (life is short.) See David Bowie for inspiration. ‘”Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange) Turn and face the strain. Ch-ch-Changes”
- Our new home is San Miguel de Allende which is in the middle of the country. That’s one of its most famous scenes in the picture. SMA is one of the coolest towns in the world (yes, the world.) Here is what Huffington Post says.
- If you don’t mind skipping heat and humidity, San Miguel de Allende’s weather is perfect (high desert at over 6,000 feet.) See the map at the bottom for its location.
- The people in San Miguel are always smiling.
- It’s safe. Please stop the silly ‘gringo’ question… “Is it safe?” Get this: most of Mexico is safer than New Orleans and Detroit. And, you know that if Americans stopped doing tons of coke, meth and heroin, we’d help to solve the cartels problem. The key is that you don’t go hang out where the bad guys do business because that is where the crime is.
- Mexican culture combines indigenous and Spanish cultural influences. There are endless street, art and music festivals and a very vibrant art scene.
- The cost of living is about 60% or less than living in the USA. In our first ‘test’ year, we are renting a fully furnished 4 bedroom house with 3 days of housekeeper service and a gardener for $2,000 per month (this is considered on the high end). At over 18 pesos per dollar, the dollar is as high as it has been in years.
- San Miguel has the second-best restaurant scene in the country. It has become a major weekend destination for people living in Mexico City.
- Surrounding towns deliver sweet day trips to visit hot springs, local ice cream meccas and university towns. And… truly exciting things like a Costco and the largest shopping mall in Latin America. I haven’t been there yet but will avoid a Chili’s if they have one.
- I can easily fly nonstop to L.A., Dallas, and Houston out of two local airports and internationally from Mexico City.
- Getting a long-term visa easy. Try living long-term in the U.K. or France or Thailand. Not going to happen.
- I’ll try to avoid CNN and FOX and MSNBC.
- Oh, and I can work from anywhere I have a laptop and WIFI. Plus, my town is conveniently in the central time zone.
Have you considered living in Mexico?
A recent research study I did testing Google Consumer Research focused on where Americans want to retire. My findings show that 13% (13%!) of Americans between 45 and 65 “have considered retiring in Mexico”. By the way, you do use easy-to-use-super fast Google Research in your business development program, right?
Who will thrive in Mexico? [Read more…] about Moving To Mexico