We arrived in Mexico just before midnight, a little over two weeks ago. The journey from London via Germany and the US took over 24 hours and crossed 3 different timezones, which was a little disorientating to say the least. The wifi wasn’t working on our main 10 hour flight so we were behind on work, which was far from ideal for our new digital nomad careers. Luckily our clients were very understanding. As we arrived into the wifi zone of Mexico City International Airport we got an email from the booking site that we’d used to book our hotel for that night saying that there had been a problem with our card and they had unfortunately cancelled our reservation.
This was how our adventure in Mexico started. Luckily it’s got better. Much better. Here’s what we’ve been up to since we arrived in Mexico City.
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No Hablo Espanol
Before we left the UK on our lastest one way ticketed adventure to Latin America we had already decided that while here we were going to do our best to learn Spanish. This commitment was cemented within our first few interactions in Mexico:
- The unease I felt at taking a taxi with a spanish only speaking taxi driver in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar city.
- The gamble of not knowing whether we were ordering offal or not at the taco stands.
- The frustration of trying to discuss which SIM card package was best in a phone shop where no one spoke a word of English.
Of course only being fluent in English, we’ve travelled in plenty of countries where we haven’t spoken the local language and know we can get by, but this time is different. This time we’re travelling much more slowly with semi-permanent bases and even if not solely in Mexico, know we will be in Spanish speaking countries for around the next 8 months. And we feel so rude. People are so chatty here in Mexico and to have to respond to their warmth and openness multiple times per day with ‘sorry, I don’t understand’ just plain sucks.
So we’ve started Spanish school. It’s a big commitment because it’s 2 hours per day Monday - Friday plus at least an hour’s homework everyday, on top of our already busy blogging and freelancing working days. But we are loving it! Our teacher, Guillermo, is awesome. I mean, I’ve got three degrees so I’ve had some stock of teachers in my time and believe me he is up there. The courses are so reasonable too, we’re paying just over £200 each for a 40 hour course - something that would have cost us thousands in the UK.
All The Tacos
Now onto the food. Simply put it is incredible and everywhere. Seriously, from dawn until dusk you walk out on the street and there will be any number of stalls cooking up some tasty, spicy deliciousness. We are nowhere near trying everything on offer but we are giving it a good go. It seems like for every taqueria we eat at, we’re like ‘this is the best one yet’, only to have the same conversation the next day of ‘no, now this is the best one yet’. And it’s so affordable, for a couple of quid you are stuffed.
Then there’s the menu del dia options in the markets. We have one just down the road from where we are staying so go there most days. There are about 10 restaurants which all have multiple menu choices that change everyday and for the equivalent of £2 each you get a 4 course meal and a drink. It’s insanely good and it’s all fresh produce from there in the market. We’ve also been doing some shopping and cooking at our place some days too in the aim of not getting too fat. I’m not sure it will work. There are too many snacks for one thing. The corn on the cob smothered in mayo, cheese and chilli is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.
The area that we are staying in, called Roma, is seriously cool. There’s so many trendy boutique coffee shops and gorgeous old bookstores to while hours away in - not that we have any hours to while away. But we have worked in few of cafes and the coffee is good, if a little overpriced for our taste. We’ve yet to fully explore the extent of the area because it’s huge, as is Mexico City in general. It’s hard to describe the scale, but at five times bigger than London that should give you some idea. But it does have a brilliant metro system that costs the equivalent of 21p per journey to anywhere in the city. That’s not a typo.
The place we have is great too. We’re paying about £20 per night and it has a big living area with huge windows, hot water all the time and a washing machine. The latter may seem like simple essentials but trust me if you’ve done any amount of backpacking you’ll know how luxurious they feel. And the wifi is good, which is obviously a must for us, there’s nothing more frustrating that having a day full of work and have to battle with a shitty connection. The only thing that’s missing is a decent cup of tea. I cannot believe that I forgot to bring a big box of Typhoo with me. Such a rookie error.
Work Life Balance
I’m not gonna pretend that being in such an awesome new place and being chained to our laptops isn’t a bit crap some days. I don’t buy into the ‘do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ sell. I genuinely do love what I do but I’d rather not have to work. Plus we’ve never done this before, last year while we were travelling, we were living off our hard earned savings and just doing whatever we pleased everyday so it’s taking some adjusting. But whether we are inside tapping away on our keyboards or outside exploring, we are living our dreams in being able to work completely location independently and it is great.
So the weekends are for exploring and we’ve got action packed adventure after adventure lined up that we’ll be bringing to you here on the blog. We also made some new friends this week who we went out for drinks with which was lots of fun. Travelling and not staying in hostels really isn’t the best for your social life and you do start to crave emotional connections with humans when the only conversations you have with your mates are through an electronic device. So anyone reading this in Mexico City who fancys listening to all my insecurities, regrets in life and general dysfunctional thoughts please get in touch. I’m joking. But seriously if anyone in the proximity fancies grabbing a beer and laughing at our terrible Spanish accents, let us know!