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Mexico Expats~A Dream & A Dash of Courage

In the four plus years that we have been Permanent Residents of Mexico, many a curious observer (genuine, respectful ones and a fair share of critics) have asked us if our children aren’t missing out on the “American Dream”. Some of the more brazen ones have suggested that we are “sellouts” or that we have somehow renounced our allegiance to our country of birth. Nothing could be further from the truth.  

I am curious to examine what this culturally indoctrinated notion of the “American Dream” is.

Is it a home by the sea with a white picket fence, children who are raised by nannies, parents who are strangers to each other and slaves to their work? Is it the sitting in rush hour traffic for hours on end, shopping at big box corporate-owned chain stores, spending the majority of your paycheck on over-inflated mortgages, commuting costs and medical care—trying to navigate a broken healthcare system that is pharmaceutical happy and bottom-line driven?

Is it about being on autopilot, of being disconnected rather than connected? 

If so, I don’t want any part of that “Dream”—American or otherwise.

I don’t want my family’s access to adventure to be limited to a hoped for bi-yearly vacation and break from the grind of modern day life. I want fun and freedom to be built into the very fabric and ebb and flow of our days—every one. Why not?

Salsa Dancing at San Pancho Polo Club!

Salsa Dancing at San Pancho Polo Club!

“Your family is so lucky” is another sentiment often shared with us. 

Yes we are.

Our Dream did not realize itself overnight, upon a single wish or in the blink of an eye. We are not trust babies, lottery winners nor highly skilled investors. Life hasn’t been perfect north nor south of the border. We have experienced our fair share of setbacks and heartaches—health, financial, loss of loved ones—you know, life.

As Oprah Winfrey states, “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” 

If you are not particularly smitten with your current reality, there are other ones out there for the making and the taking.

How? A dream and a dash of courage are good places to start. Planning, budgeting, marketable skills, resourcefulness, persistence and connecting with other like-minded people go along way too!

We are choosing to maximize our experiences here on planet Earth and to provide our children with a multitude of opportunities so that when they venture out on their own, they will have the skills to confidently design their own place in this human realm.

As I whisper in their ear every night at bedtime, “Be true to yourself, and the rest will fall in place.” Simple and true.

This is not our American Dream nor even our Mexican Dream. It is just simply and joyfully, Our Dream. 

What is yours?

Words of Wisdom on a San Pancho Sign #panchovida

Words of Wisdom on a San Pancho Sign #panchovida

 

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{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Anthony September 23, 2014, 3:48 pm

    What an inspiration. I will be packing very soon.

    • carol January 23, 2015, 12:59 pm

      Wonderfully put! Wish my family and friends would read this, but can’t convince them that our life here is fabulous! (not that I need to!) Great way you explained life in Mexico!

      • Katie O'Grady January 23, 2015, 3:10 pm

        Hola Carol!

        Thank you so much.

        And yes, I understand, some folks are not willing to see what we see, but that is okay….

        When you have feet on the ground and open your heart and senses, it is almost inevitable that you become lured and taken by the magic, diversity, texture and beauty…

        Cheers,

        Katie

  • Katie O'Grady September 23, 2014, 4:17 pm

    Jaja, Thank you Anthony!
    Get packing!
    You just might not look back! 😉

    Saludos,
    Katie

  • Pat January 23, 2015, 2:04 pm

    Why do you call it Mainland Mexico?

    • Katie O'Grady January 23, 2015, 3:29 pm

      HI Pat,

      I differentiate between “Mainland Mexico”, where we are now, versus the “Baja Peninsula” where we spent a lot of time prior to our full-time move to Mexico—Mainland Mexico.

      Saludos,

      Katie

  • Ulises January 23, 2015, 2:18 pm

    Amen!

  • Daniel Reveles January 23, 2015, 2:34 pm

    Felicidades, Katie! Now, get to work on the Manual For Life. The market is enormous and you’re the one to do it.

    • Katie O'Grady January 23, 2015, 3:32 pm

      Well okay then, Daniel! Thank you for the encouragement!

      Cheers,

      Katie 🙂

  • Karen Knapp January 23, 2015, 5:19 pm

    We retired folks have been streaming to Mexico for a few decades now, and I am so happy to see families starting to move into our Nayarit community (Bucerias) as well. What a brave and wise choice for their children! Thanks for sharing your experiences, and I hope you will inspire others.

    • Katie O'Grady January 23, 2015, 5:29 pm

      Hello Karen,

      Thank you for your lovely feedback.

      I am actually working on a post now, titled “Moving to Mexico with Children” and will be speaking to how living the life we do and making the choices we do has greatly benefited our children and our family as a whole.

      Warmly,
      Katie

  • Mary Jordan January 23, 2015, 6:23 pm

    Beautifully written — thank you!

    • Katie O'Grady January 23, 2015, 6:28 pm

      Thank you Mary for reaching out with a nice comment!
      🙂
      Katie

  • Bill Eakins February 11, 2015, 6:45 pm

    Awesome post. A few years ago we lived in Sayulita for the winter and Guanajuato for the summer. back in the US now but planning on doing it again! We will be in Zacatecas for a month this summer.

    • Katie O'Grady February 12, 2015, 3:08 pm

      Hi Bill,

      So wonderful to read of other folks gettin’ out there and doing it too!

      We hear Guanajuato is magical and are planning a day/weekend trip soon.

      Don’t know much about Zacatecas but would love to hear from you about it.

      Cheers,

      Katie 🙂

  • AndisMom March 4, 2015, 7:11 pm

    what an inspiring story! I love your writing style and your love for your family! I will keep reading!

    • Katie O'Grady March 4, 2015, 9:23 pm

      Hi AndisMom,

      Thank you for the lovely feedback, do appreciate it! 🙂

      Next one coming up is about how my husband and I fell in love again in Mexico…

      Stay tuned…

      Cheers,

      Katie

  • Janet September 5, 2015, 7:24 pm

    Hi Katie,
    We live in Manzanillo part time for the Winter and Love it, built a home there 7 years ago, but have been traveling To Mexico for the past 15 years .
    We use to take our kids out of school to experience life, teachers did’t like it but we thought the experience was well worth it.. They are now adults and living their own life, but always return to spend some time with us in Manzanillo… Keep up the good work with your family, living on your terms…..

    • Katie O'Grady September 5, 2015, 7:28 pm

      Greetings Janet!

      Serendipity indeed is an amazing thing!
      We are actually coming to Manzanillo this November for a scouting trip for a potential move next Summer…
      Would love to connect with you more to pick your brain about life in Manzanillo.

      Cheers,

      Katie 🙂

  • teri September 6, 2015, 2:42 am

    Hi, what was it about the Baja peninsula that made you decide against living there?

    • Katie O'Grady September 6, 2015, 11:27 am

      Hi Teri,

      We LOVE Baja, having spent many many years exploring her.
      At the end of the day, we chose mainland Mexico because we figured we would have more diversity and opportunities relative to raising our children. We were ready to see more of this magnificent country and so expanded our horizons beyond the peninsula….With that said, we look forward to more potential adventures in Baja too!

      Cheers,

      Katie

  • Anslyn Ryan September 12, 2015, 11:52 am

    So well said. These are some of the exact reasons for our upcoming move. We both worked in the yachting industry which was obviously impossible for me to continue on in after I got pregnant with Mateo. I spent most of my pregnancy (the first five months) and Mateo and I have spent many, many weeks on our own while Marcelo was out to sea. Even so he was taking a pay cut not working on the busy charter boats that are gone for months at a time and come with nice tips so that he could work closer to home and not be gone so much and with him gone I couldn’t work my before yachting job of makeup artist because we had no childcare for the crazy hours it would entail. The jobs I could do with the hours I had childcare would not even cover childcare!! We had no family in the crazy expensive city of Fort Lauderdale and the quality of life was just lacking. Our dream of something better, deeper, a life woven with color, family, food, beauty and laughter is what we are seeking. Of course there will be great challenges as and your family have experienced but we are blessed to have a family home to move into close to the malecon where we will start our family business. Thanks for showing that with a lot of love, grit and faith it can be done!

  • Brian November 8, 2016, 5:23 pm

    Very well said Katie! I truly dig your outlook on life, you are right on the money!

  • Sylvia November 8, 2016, 8:40 pm

    So great to read this post, Katie. Your words ring so true, so loud and clear… Aaaah, I am so in love with Mexico, what else can I say..
    Especially loved: ‘ I want sustenance and soul to be built into the fabric and ebb and flow of our every single day…’
    And that, my friends, is the essence of it, the answer to ‘Why Mexico?’, Because it has soul and laughter and a special energy and generosity that comes from deep within the hearts of its people.

    • Katie O'Grady November 8, 2016, 9:57 pm

      You are right on Sylvia!
      Now hurry up and get down here!
      Katie 🙂

  • Rick Watkinson November 8, 2016, 9:29 pm

    You are living my American dream. Good on ya for being invested in yourselves and your children. As a firefighter I live the chaos that is America. I love reading your blogs and the trials and tribulations of your families adventures.

    • Katie O'Grady November 8, 2016, 9:57 pm

      Thank you Rick.
      I understand what you say….
      Hope to see you and your family this side of the border some time!
      Cheers,
      Katie

  • Shelly King November 9, 2016, 10:55 pm

    Even though you hit the nail on the head about life in So. Cal, it’s difficult to read. I love California and I’m certainly not unhappy with life here, but your life in Mexico even with it’s challenges sounds a lot more appealing. If I had young children and a husband with an adventurous spirit, I might find myself where you are. My parents did have that adventurous spirit and that’s why I grew up in Colombia. That experience enriched all of our lives greatly! Keep on keeping’ on, Katie!!
    Abrazos,
    Shelly

    • Katie O'Grady November 9, 2016, 11:25 pm

      Sweet Shelly,
      Thank you so much for sharing this with me, and from the heart.
      I have a Queen-sized air mattress whenever you want to experience some of this adventure and beauty.
      I am a California girl too, will always hold a special place for her in my heart, but Mexico is definitely my home.
      Un abrazo,
      Katie

  • Rick Watkinson March 29, 2017, 9:25 pm

    I can so relate to your dreams where are you at now? We will be in PV in late April I would love to meet up.

    • Katie O'Grady March 29, 2017, 11:25 pm

      Hi Rick,
      We are north of PV.
      Give us a holler when you guys are in town!
      Cheers,
      Katie

  • Nancy Pitts March 30, 2017, 7:27 am

    My husband and I were seriously considering moving to San Miguel de Allende. Everything you say completely resonates with where we are in our lives. We then started hearing reports of safety concerns and Americans being kidnapped and mugged. I know that there is crime everywhere in the world, just wondering if you have seen an uprise in this type of thing in Mexico.

    • Katie O'Grady March 31, 2017, 10:50 pm

      Hi Nancy,
      Exactly as you say…there is crime everywhere in the world.
      Common sense and situational awareness go a long way.
      Best,
      Katie

  • Ryan April 1, 2017, 9:13 pm

    Katie,

    Just came across your site today as my family and I are thinking about a move to Mexico. Thank you for this great site and all the information you provide.

    I am curious about housing? Did you all buy or rent? And do you know of any resources for renting homes long term in the San Pancho/Sayulita area?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you again for creating such a valuable resource in this website.

    All the best!

    • Katie O'Grady April 1, 2017, 9:32 pm

      Hi Ryan!

      We have always rented.

      If you would like to pm me about long-term housing possibilities, I am happy to dialogue with you about that.

      Cheers,

      Katie 🙂
      [email protected]

  • Jane Lillico August 14, 2017, 8:59 am

    What a great article! Thanks for sharing 😊 I share your sentiments exactly, and have been living in Mexico for 9 years now. Brilliant comebacks to all those questions. I love your observations, explanations and spirit!

    • Katie O'Grady August 14, 2017, 8:06 pm

      Thank you, Jane.

      Whereabouts in Mexico do you live?

      I hope to explore, know and adventure through as many parts of this magical, diverse and dynamic country as I can!

      Saludos,

      Katie 🙂

  • nadene August 14, 2017, 9:16 am

    Making the most of life you truly are an inspiration my dear!

    • Katie O'Grady August 14, 2017, 8:04 pm

      Thank you my sweet friend…
      You always have a place to stay with us 🙂

  • Kate Healy August 16, 2017, 12:54 pm

    Well done Katie and Frank…you are an inspiration and I love seeing your adventures through your eyes. Keep on embracing it and staying grateful. xoxox Kate

    • Katie O'Grady August 16, 2017, 1:17 pm

      What a lovely message to read from a dear friend.
      Lots of love to you and yours…
      Katie😀

  • Sandra Moeggenberg August 22, 2017, 12:12 pm

    Beautifully written. We are currently looking forward to making this leap ourselves.

    Everyone’s dreams are different, but no less beautiful. Thank you for sharing yours.

    • Katie O'Grady August 24, 2017, 2:11 pm

      Thank you kindly, Sandra.
      Best of luck to you and yours as you fly your wings of adventure!
      Best,
      Katie

  • Bethany Neumann August 27, 2017, 7:59 am

    Very nice post Katie! Your description of the “American Dream” is spot on for so many people and was once my reality! I’m glad I made the move and have made my own Dream here in Mexico with my family 🙂

    Bethany
    http://www.jonesandmae.com
    http://www.neuadventure.com

    • Katie O'Grady August 27, 2017, 10:06 am

      Hi Bethany,

      So happy it is working out for you and your family and I am so enjoying following along on your guy’s adventures as well!
      ¡Viva México!
      We will have to check out each other’s beaches sometimes and meet up!
      Saludos,
      Katie 🙂

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