While working at my corporate job in San Francisco, I was obsessively reading blogs by people who were quitting jobs to travel and, in the process, creating new careers aligned with their talents and passions. I wanted to be one of those people.
In 2014, after 20 years of living and working in San Francisco, California, and after many discussions with my husband, I quit my corporate job. We sold our house, furniture, and our belongings, leaving with only what could fit in our subcompact car.
We gave ourselves one year to travel and to find a new home to begin a new life. As fate would have it, a particularly brutal winter and some necessary dental work took us off course and we landed in the city of Merida, a popular place for medical tourism.
On our first morning in town, we were standing on a corner looking at our map when a woman calls out, “Where are y’all from?” This chance meeting kicked off a series of hurried conversations and impromptu touring in her car. In a matter of what seemed like minutes, my husband was in the dentist chair having a filling replaced by one of the best dentists in Merida. Because of our limited Spanish, this woman Maria was a tremendous help to us in learning about, and navigating this interesting city of Merida.
We intended to stay only a week, but this extended to nearly three months. Through Maria, we met a community of expats who invited us to parties and local events. We soon began looking at houses for sale in Centro, and things fell into place faster than we’d imagined and we soon bought a house. However, we were only six months into our ‘year of travel’ and had to resume our road trip back in the U.S. to catch a flight to Europe we had booked month’s prior. But now we’d have a little house of our own to come back to after our travels.
After visiting three continents, sixteen countries, and covering 54158 km / 33654 miles, we returned to Merida in the fall of 2015, our new home in the world. We never could have guessed we’d choose to live in Mexico. One of our new friends Carlos describes Merida, Yucatan, as “being in another dimension”, and it has felt like one. This is a city with kind people and an affordable yet rich quality of life. Every day feels like an adventure here too.
As a non-retired expat, I am personally exploring what Merida offers in the areas of holistic health/wellness, and creative pursuits while figuring out my next career(s). I will be sharing my new experiences and discoveries as a contributor to The Yucatan Times.
By Andrea Aguilar for TYT
Andrea Aguilar is an American expat. She spent a year traveling the world with her husband while they searched for a new community to call home after having lived in San Francisco for 20 years. Her interests typically include yoga, writing, reading, and once she leaves the house, discovering a new adventure. Follow more of Andrea’s adventures on her blog andrea*poem, or Instagram (andreapoem).