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moving to mexico - brilliance or blunder

Huatulco, Mexico, painted as a tropical paradise, was the destination I chose for a sabbatical of sorts, a place to heal and rediscover myself after years of the stress that come with life’s relentless push. After all, who wouldn’t want to rediscover themselves amidst a tropical paradise? Leaving behind the relentless pace of life and saying goodbye to my son on his own adventure was a whirlwind of emotions, but I was determined to find new peace and stability.

What a Universal 2×4 I was hit with!

Having traversed the logistical and emotional hurdles to reach Huatulco, the reality that this Mexican escape might not be the rejuvenating utopia I’d envisioned it to be sunk in – at the airport when I landed.

The journey to Huatulco wasn’t without its challenges. Arriving with four suitcases and a Starlink setup, I encountered a more thorough customs inspection than anticipated. So there I was, in Mexico, with 5 customs officers getting the shake down. While it took longer and involved some unexpected fees (BIG ones!), it wasn’t a major setback. 

Now, I could have dismissed this as an unfortunate incident, but I’m far too aware of Universal signs – and this was a big one just as I was starting this adventure.

There was an uncertainty; I was starting to question whether my gutsy move was brilliance or blunder.

Reaching my rented apartment, I embraced the rustic charm, though it was smaller than the photos conveyed. The driver helped me get the 4 heavy suitcases up three flights of stairs and into the apartment. Yes, I tipped him well!

As the tourist season has ended, I was excited to experience a more authentic side of Huatulco.

It was about 5:30pm. Stepping outside for groceries, I encountered the security measures – multiple locks on the door and the iron gates – a sign of the neighborhood’s character. While venturing out for supplies on foot, I stumbled upon a lively local gathering, complete with music and dancing. I was jarred from my initial joy at seeing the locals celebrating with their family and friends when an intoxicated man emerged from this gathering a little too enthusiastically, prompting me to pick up a little speed.

Following Google Maps I continued on, and found myself on a street with partially constructed buildings – and no other people, but I knew my destination was just ahead. Suddenly, two men emerged from one of the buildings, and their aggressive demeanor caused me to make a hasty retreat towards a nearby hotel. Needless to say, I checked in for the night, retrieved my belongings from the apartment the next day, and have found a comfortable haven at the hotel ever since.

I have explored a little, however only in the tourist center. After several scares I’m not venturing too far alone. Navigating unfamiliar areas as an older solo female traveler has it’s challenges.

 

While Huatulco boasts undeniable beauty, I’ve realized that my initial desire to fully immerse myself in the local life might require a bit more acclimation than I anticipated. It would definitely take some time to adjust to the economic realities here.

The presence of stray animals, many who are too skinny to even be alive, cuts me to the core. I went to the grocery store and bought pet food and milk and have been feeding them – but I know that’s only a short-term solution and only for the lucky ones. What I’d really like to do is scoop them all up, take them to the vet, get their clearance papers and take them home with me. All of them. 

This isn’t to say Huatulco isn’t a vibrant place. There’s undeniable charm to be found, and I’ve learned a lot during this initial exploration. However, my perspective has shifted a bit, and I no longer feel like I need to be away, isolated, or in another country to find peace – to rediscover myself.

“Guess what? When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it? In other words, “Now what?”

― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are

Good friends of mine are are arriving this Friday, staying for 10 days, and we’ll be exploring the area together. And then we’ll be leaving together. 

Yes, I’m going back to Victoria, BC – knowing that this was a brave, bold move. Knowing that there are more adventures awaiting me. Knowing what’s really important to me.

This isn’t goodbye to Huatulco, but rather a “see you again someday”, with a new perspective.

Huatulco’s beauty is undeniable, but sometimes the greatest adventures involve a change of plans. This solo trip has been a catalyst for growth, reminding me that peace can be found anywhere, not just in a faraway paradise. While I’ll be returning to Victoria with some unexpected lessons learned, I also carry the excitement of exploring Huatulco with friends this week and the knowledge that many more adventures await. This may not have been the exact renewal I envisioned, but it’s a new beginning nonetheless.

May you have the courage to take your own adventures, make your own path and follow your own destiny.