In February 2018, Kendra and I dreamt about living in another country for at least one year. We debated about moving to Mexico, or Chile, or Argentina, or Ecuador. Sometime in 2019, we eventually settled on returning to my birthplace, thus we plan to be in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico for at least a year, starting July 2022. The reasons for our move are multiple, and include, but are not limited to:
- My reparenting and healing journey. I will be taking a year off work to focus on tending to my inner child and reconnecting with my extended family, culture, and the land where I was born.
- My parents will move back to the motherland permanently to retire, enjoy time with their loved ones, and also have access to socialized healthcare and their Mexican social security funds.
- Kendra, the boys, and I will immerse ourselves in Mexican culture and foster deeper relationships with our extended family there.
- I hope to trace back my family’s heritage and engage in the creation of family trees, obtaining photos, finding burial sites, and more.
- I will continue working on liberating myself and my loved ones from the trappings of capitalism, white supremacy, rugged individualism, patriarchy and much more. My and my family’s healing will be our greatest legacy.
Now, I know many of you might be curious about what our time in Mexico might entail, so here’s what we’ve figured out, thus far:
Not only is the current exchange rate between pesos to dollars about 20:1, but the cost of living in Nayarit is also quite low. After doing some research about the cost of goods, transportation, and more, I anticipate our family will need about $25,000-$30,000 in net income a year for a very comfortable living, especially since we plan to travel through Mexico, and to the US and Canada to visit extended family.
We will most likely buy a home in cash in Tepic, Nayarit (Mexican mortgage rates range between 8-16%! Ummm, no, thanks!). We are looking for a home big enough to house Kendra, myself, our boys, and my parents. Our ultimate goal is to buy a home that my parents can live in, even after my family and I return to the United States, and one we can return to when we’re visiting my parents and extended family in the future.
Thus, I will be in Tepic this December hoping to check out properties like this one. If buying is not an option before we move, we would rent a fully furnished place until we buy a home.
Kendra will continue working remotely for her current company. She will work as little or as much as she wants to. In fact, living in Mexico while making dollars would mean Kendra would only have to work around 10 hours a week, 46 weeks a year, in order for us to have more than we need, as well as save for retirement.
As for me, as long as I request an unpaid leave by February 1st from my current employer, said leave will be automatically approved. Should we return from Mexico after one year, I am guaranteed back my current social work position. Now, should we extend our stay in Mexico, I will find a part-time, remote social work job or Spanish/English interpreter job for a US or Canadian company through LinkedIn, FlexJobs, and my networks.
The other benefit of being a tenured and unionized educator is that I can petition an unpaid leave for up to 3 years and my current employer would guarantee me a social work position within the district, but not necessarily at my current school site.
By the time we move to Mexico, Sebastian and Damian will be 5 and 3 years old, respectively. Thus, both boys will be able to attend Colegio Herbart, a bilingual preK-12 school, which is 15 minutes from my grandma’s house, and 12-15 minutes from the our potential home/rental area.
Having a church family/community is crucial for our family. While Mexico is predominantly Catholic, I was able to find a church that resembles our current church in Minnesota. While in Tepic, we plan to attend Iglesia Vida Eterna, a Spanish-speaking Presbyterian church located in the heart of my hometown. From what I could see online, they have a small, but tight-knit, and vibrant multigenerational church.
Mexico has socialized healthcare. While far from perfect, it’s quite affordable and comprehensive. Upon doing my research, to insure my wife, myself, and our two boys, it would cost a TOTAL of $567 USD for the year! We would have access to medical and pharmaceutical coverage, as well as hospitalizations and surgeries. My parents would most likely qualify for free healthcare coverage, given their age and income.
But, what about our properties in the USA?
We plan to rent our home in Minneapolis. Our hope is to rent it fully furnished, as our time in Mexico might only last one to a few years. Similarly, we will continue renting our duplex in St. Paul.
As you can see, this has been years in the making. It’s taken lots of time and energy to figure out our path forward, and Kendra and I are very excited to see what the next chapter of our lives brings.