The first few weeks following us landing back in the UK from a year long backpacking trip around South America & Asia were tough. After catching up with family and friends last November we pretty much just wanted to jump on another plane to anywhere. Not because of them (ha!), the adjustment to life here was just thoroughly overwhelming. And the weather was so cold and miserable which didn’t help one bit. This, coupled with the decision we had already made that we wouldn’t be moving back to the UK full time, meant that we didn’t really expect to be sticking around for long.
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Life In The UK
With this in mind, it’s hard to believe that we’ve been back in the UK for 5 months now. There have been a few factors that have contributed to this. First of all our tenants gave notice, so we temporarily moved back into our house. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it has provided the space to allow us to focus on building up our freelancing income streams. Second of all we’ve been enjoying being able to spend longer periods of time with our families in London & Yorkshire without the restrictions of having fixed location jobs and only weekends to see them. And thirdly, there’s just so much on our doorstep that we haven’t seen.
As you’ll know if you’ve been following our journey for a while, travelling has completely turned our lives upside down. We’ve always loved exploring but we now view new places with an almost child like curiousity. We’re always plotting our next escapade and if there’s a new experience to be had, we’re there! So whilst we’ve been ‘living’ back in the UK we have embarked on an epic road trip around Ireland, immersed ourselves in new culture while staying with a Swedish family and we are busy planning an awesome trip to Scotland next month to walk the crazily beautiful West Highland Way.
But June is going to see us setting off on probably our most adventurous trip to date with one way tickets to Mexico! Wahooooo! I say most adventurous because unlike when we took off on our last one way flights to South America, this time we don’t have a pot of savings to fund our travels. We’ll be working as we travel, having now built up enough freelancing writing & social media management work to support ourselves - hopefully! Of course, along with the freedom of freelancing comes the unpredictability and so it’s going to mean that we always need to be at the top of our game and constantly focussed on being the best we can be in our new digital nomad careers.
So Why Mexico?
There’s a real mix of factors that lead us to choosing this destination as our next big trip. To start with, when we left Latin America last year we really didn’t feel ready to leave and (I in particular) had a really good sulk on our 23 hour journey from Colombia to China. We completely fell in love with the language and culture in this part of world and so it had been in the back of minds since we left that we would be back soon. We also really want to have a good crack at actually learning to speak Spanish this time. Because we will be travelling much more slowly due to simultaneously working, we hope to be able to devote more time to practising and might even invest in a teacher.
The weather and the food were both equally important elements in our ‘where to next’ contemplations. Neither of us are fans of cold weather but more than that, being stuck indoors because of crappy weather and not having enough sunshine in our lives really doesn’t have a positive effect on our mental health or levels of productivity. Since we had alerts on cheap flights to Mexico we’ve also become a little obsessed with Mexican street food videos on YouTube. We can’t wait to get our hands on some of those delicious, spicy, cheesy tacos. Hopefully we get plenty of opportunity to get out hiking to counteract the calorie intake we can already foresee!
Another important factor in our contemplations was the cost of living in wherever we headed to next. The cost of living in the UK and Europe is high compared to the amount of money that we are currently earning freelancing and so we wanted a location that would allow us to have more money to spend on things that we enjoy, whilst at the same time allowing us to be able to put some savings aside. Because of the minimalist and thrifty lifestyle we choose to live, we anticipate hopefully being able to work up to putting more savings away than when we were working and living full time in the UK. We also managed to snag some pretty cheap flights to Mexico City via Bonn in Germany and Miami.
We’re not so naive that we haven’t considered the reputation Mexico has in terms of its drugs cartels and violent crime. But from the research we’ve done coupled with our fabulous experience of backpacking Colombia, which has a very similar notoriety, we’re really not concerned about the ‘dangers’. Of course there are certain parts of the country and areas of cities that won’t be safe for us to visit but this is the same anywhere, including the UK. We are sensible people and, as we were with Colombia, excited to see and experience the side of Mexico that isn’t portrayed by biased and sensationalist media coverage.
I say plan in the very loosest sense of the word because other than landing in Mexico City and running straight to the nearest Taco stand, we don’t have one. Because, well that’s how we like it. My sister gets married next Spring so we know we’ll be back in the UK for a spell then, but in the meantime are a lot of completely blank pages in this chapter of our adventures. Maybe we’ll stay exclusively in Mexico - it’s a huge country and there’s so much to explore after all - or perhaps we’ll venture to some of the neighbouring countries in Central America. J has his eye on Belize and I quite fancy Nicaragua, but we really don’t know and that for us is what makes the life we lead all the more exciting.
Mexico City allá vamos!
Have you been to Mexico? Where should we go? What are your travel tips for Central America?