In this episode, Marc narrates the challenges of relocating abroad and securing the resources for safe and healthy living for his family while running his business full-time.
[:49] Marc welcomes you to episode 74 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast and invites you to share this episode with like-minded souls. Please subscribe wherever you listen to this podcast, share it on social media, and tell your neighbors and colleagues.
[1:23] Next week, Marc goes to the archives for an encore interview of Dr. Joel Dobbs. Dr. Dobbs was Marc’s first interview with a person who had made a career pivot in the second half of life. It was one of the best stories because Dr. Dobbs planned out his transition. With so many new listeners, 99% of the audience will not have heard it.
[1:58] This week, Marc discusses issues of being an introvert and how they relate to his current experiences in Mexico. A lot of Marc’s experiences in Mexico directly relate to challenges we all face in managing our careers in the second half of life. Marc is recording in Mexico a few days before returning from his month-long exploration.
[2:26] Marc and his wife arrived in Ajijic, Mexico on March 14. They had arranged to rent a one-bedroom garage apartment for about $825 for four weeks. The apartment was small but adequate and the technology was fine. They are four blocks from the main square and a block-and-a-half from the lake. Gustavo, their host, has been wonderful.
[3:21] The apartment was right next door to Gustavo’s mother’s house, where his sister takes care of their elderly mother. It’s a great way to experience Mexico. Marc wanted to explore what it was like to live in Mexico, not vacation there.
[4:05] They started their investigation to find necessary resources, including chiropractors, a dentist, a barber, an endocrinologist, and health insurance. Marc lists the resources they found. They fulfilled everything on their list except for securing healthcare. The agent they found never followed up with them. They still have options.
[6:37] When the Millers arrived on a Wednesday morning, the first thing they did was go to the Wednesday farmers’ market. The market was large and a few blocks from their apartment. They also found two other markets close at hand. It took a few days to find all the stores they wanted and their favorite restaurants.
[8:09] It is easy to eat healthy in Mexico with plentiful and inexpensive fruits and vegetables.
[8:57] It took about a week to get settled in. That first week Marc didn’t want to search. He was learning Spanish. His introversion started to kick in. Too much talking to people wears on Marc, especially to non-English speakers. He found it easier to speak face-to-face though, instead of on the phone.
[10:19] Marc explains how he will use technology in Mexico. On his first trip, he found the DSL connection wasn’t very good. This time the socket where his DSL modem was plugged in lost electricity, but when he plugged into another socket it was good. There are fewer available sockets on walls.
[12:27] Electricity in Ajijic is not as reliable as most in the U.S. expect it to be. Marc talks about his international AT&T mobile phone plan, and the reliability of service. In the first couple of weeks his calls dropped but in the next couple of weeks, they stayed connected.
[12:58] Voice and data quality are good. Marc’s next destination may not have the same service, with 3G service.
[13:28] Marc tells about how a Church had generators on hand for their Passion Play, and the electricity went out less than an hour before the program.
[14:57] It took Marc about 10 days to settle in while continuing to run his business. Then they started exploring. They walked about eight miles a day. They rented a car from a local agency for two weeks, but they didn’t use it that much. After two weeks Marc hadn’t found his resources yet.
[16:50] Eventually, under pressure of time, Marc stopped putting it off and started making contacts.
[17:24] In the first two weeks Marc and his wife hit all the open air markets.Marc describes the markets and what they sell. Some cater to locals, and some to “gringos.” They rode bikes to the farther market. Marc, being 6’4”, didn’t find the right-sized bike. Transportation is inexpensive. A lot of expats do without a car and prefer to walk.
[20:13] After two weeks, Marc was still procrastinating. He decided not to call people but to go down to their offices to visit them. He visited a dentist, clinics, chiropractors, and started getting traction on getting things done.
[21:27] There are restaurants that support the expat community and there are restaurants for the local community, as well as the street vendors. Do not eat raw fruit, but bring it home and soak it in an iodine bath for about 15 minutes before eating it. It takes a while for your body to get used to the local bacteria.
[23:27] Marc said once he got started his research, he made real progress. After three weeks he started thinking about home.
[24:40] Marc and his wife are starting to plan their next trip, to stay for three months. They will drive from Austin on a three-day journey. They have hired a driver to take them from Laredo to Ajijic. They will take their cats with them and rent a one-bedroom house for about $600 a month, out of town.
[25:22] Marc says he got a lot of advice from others to hire a driver who knows the area. It costs about $500 for the driver. Their driver supports the expat community with this service.
[26:38] Marc has found a rhythm to running his business from Mexico. He is able to set boundaries on himself to prevent himself from working too much. Mexico is gorgeous; the people are great and family-oriented and friendly.
[27:45] Sounds in Ajijic are so different. Windows stay open day and night. There is no road noise at night, just dead silence. There is no heating or air conditioning. Marc wakes up to birds singing and the sounds of horses on the cobblestone streets.
[29:12] Marc went to the Chapala marketplace just to experience the sounds and the smells. It is very different from Austin.
[29:33] If you have any questions about Marc’s experiences, please make a comment on the Show Notes. Maybe Marc will write a book about it.
[29:51] You cannot just bring a car into Mexico. You need a temporary import permit. You can only bring a car manufactured in a NAFTA country. You have to take it back out. You need Mexico car insurance while there.
[30:38] Bringing the cats is part of the experimentation. There are lots of pet stores that cater to expats.
[30:59] Marc hopes you enjoyed this. He took his anxieties about being an introvert and worked around them.
[32:38] Check back next week for Marc’s interview with Joel Dobbs.
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