As we jump into 2020 not only are there resolutions floating about, but ones hopes for this new year; for the successes they wish to achieve, for the projects they wish to accomplish, for the blessings they hope to be given and for the dreams they hope to follow. For those who are struggling with “should I or shouldn’t I” we hope to inspire you by the end of the post.
In retrospect, when we set out on our early retirement adventure back in 2012, we didn’t know anyone who had done what we were planning to do. Not at our ages and not toting a 10 year old so we were met with a lot of criticism and surprisingly not only when we started, but throughout and after returning to Canada as well.
Our original plan you ask? Well, we bought 5 acres in the Mayan jungle while on vacation, went home, planned to sell everything in Canada and move to the Yucatán, build our dream home, settle Mack into school abroad and enjoy early retirement. So much for plans eh? 😉
Before I get started, let me clarify the first misunderstanding. We weren’t lucky, nor was anything handed to us. We worked our asses off, working 18+ hours a day for YEARS to create our opportunity. Whether it be raising & navigating our ‘yours, mine and ours’ family & all that came with it or raising our companies, we worked hard. We encountered ups, downs, setbacks, successes, devastations, situations (some good, some bad) and a lot of disasters along the way .. but we always kept going.
“We discovered somewhere along the way that marriage & all it entails isn’t 50/50. How could it be? What are you really giving if you are only putting in 50% (or even less in some cases)?”Marriage has to be 100% / 100%. All in, everyday. Or why bother?
So there we were, about to embark upon the unknown. Originally we were going to drive to Arizona, store the RV and fly into Mexico. I think it was once we were already exploring the states we learned the house wasn’t going to be ready and that gave us more time to spend touring around. So then we decided to explore further, end up in Florida and perhaps ship the RV. Along the way we decided that maybe we should just drive the entire way. It was a good decision (as the ferry and its’ situation wasn’t up and running to where we needed it to go yet) but also because the house wasn’t going to be ready when we got there. Where would we stay? We didn’t know anyone in Mexico yet. What if the RV doesn’t arrive until months after we do? And so driving the entire way it was. Oh boy. Alright, here goes. To Texas it was to cross into Mexico at the Nuevo Laredo crossing. We did a lot of research, took a lot of advice, heeded a lot of warnings and decided to set forth through Mexico as well.
“The drive was amazing. The sights were stunning. The scenery was vast. The experiences were unforgettable.”
The night before crossing we had dinner out, and we received what was probably too much information (from a very lovely) waiter that left us a little apprehensive about our upcoming early morning departure for the border. But there we went.
The first 36 hours into our drive through Mexico were filled with knotted stomachs, nervous moments and on-edge anxiety. We made multiple plans about what we’d do if we came across any type of situation that you see in the news about when people are driving through Mexico. We were prepared and we were anxious.
I would rather have paid more attention to the experience. Hindsight, such a wonderful thing! Yes, you should be prepared. Yes, you should be aware of your surroundings and potential dangers. Yes, you should always have a ‘what do we do if’ plan. But, that’s really the case for all times isn’t it?
So no, don’t put so much into the ‘what if’ that you forget to enjoy the ‘what is’.
It was of popular opinion that we were too young to be retiring to Mexico to ‘live the dream’. We heard it all; before leaving, along the way and after our return. We were terrible parents. One phrase was “Oh that poor child.” At one point, some even thought we should be reported; I was a bad mother for keeping my curtains closed and for homeschooling Mack while reintegrating him back into main stream school and I was certainly a bad mother for taking him on this crazee adventure. Let me refer people to one of our early posts called ‘2 YEARS THAT‘ to find out all the ways we ruined our son’s life. https://ourcrazeeadventure.com/2014/12/the-2-years-that/
Let’s be real, rumours come with never ending gossip and bullshit. Period.
“Whether it be ignorance or jealousy, people had a hard time accepting what we were doing /what we had done.”
Even with the bad there was also so much good. Even if we (more I than he) didn’t realize it at the time. Regardless of the WTF’s we encountered, the obstacles we were up against, the neggy- nellys in our path and the medical emergencies we faced we went through with it and had come out on the other side. Not unscathed mind you, but certainly the other side.
We were so accustomed to the criticisms and comments that it was shocking to discover some thought we were brave. That some were proud of us. That some had wished to be us. WTF?! Wait what?! Apparently yes. Because we had the courage to let go of things and stereotypes to live our dreams in a new country. Again, WTF? I certainly didn’t think we had done anything special or spectacular. We sold our businesses, we sold our home of 17 years and in the end our older (adult) children chose to opt out of moving to Mexico. But there we went. What were we doing? We were crazee. Weren’t we?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I wasn’t brave, my husband was. No one knew I didn’t see it the way they did, they didn’t realize I was #teamcrazee and not #teambrave. I mean come on, what the hell were we doing? I’ll be honest, I didn’t even think we were going to end up going; at all. Even with already purchasing our land in Mexico, even with designing the new house, even with the months and months of endless planning and research .. I still thought he was bluffing (and those of you who know my husband know how far he can play) so I know you know what I’m talking about. And so I went along with it, thinking that he would back out at the last minute. I thought perhaps he had some plan he wasn’t currently sharing with me for when/if everything sold because he’s Les right? He’s always got it. No need to worry.
After a few months, I figured the businesses wouldn’t sell (certainly not in the time frame we were working with) or there would be some glitch at the last minute that would prevent the sale(s). As the months went on and after so so so so so so very many open houses and garage sales I actually began to believe the house was never going to sell either. There had to be something. There had to be something to make us stay. There had to be, because this was absolutely crazee! Right?! Right! So imagine my surprise when the house and our bailiff company sold on the same day, almost at the last minute. If I remember correctly, my response was something along the lines of …
And so we shipped our belongings to Mexico, packed up the RV and after a few months of final preparations and loose ends, we crossed the border and away we went. We were on our way to our jungle dream home in the Riviera Maya. Adventure was waiting.
Along the way, we planned to take our time sightseeing throughout the United States before crossing into Mexico and so the chaos began and our crazee adventure was born. Again, even with everything we had done so far, it wasn’t until we actually crossed from BC, Canada into Washington, USA that I finally realized he wasn’t bluffing. As the ambiguity increased, so did the excitement. I became excited for all the things Mack would see. For all the things Mack would learn. For all the memories Mack would have. Watch below 🙂
Everyone knows things didn’t go the way we had planned. Not even close. This was not living the dream, this wasn’t paradise and this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.
Let me explain. Months after the last hospitalization, I was done. I wanted to leave. We had been in Mexico now for 16/17 months and I had developed a hate for Mexico, in the worst way, and had convinced myself that everything would have been fine if we had never come in the first place. That this had all happened because we came here. That things would get better, that I would get better .. if we just went back to Canada and back to our lives. I needed my kids, my family and my loved ones. I needed a familiar place for healing. Please don’t misunderstand, although we had so many wonderful strangers step forward to assist and take care of us, we still endured a torment I still can’t put into words. A torment that was continually thrust upon us by some, while in the most vulnerable state of being I could possibly be in, that we as a family could possibly be in. Mexico had become my nightmare; and I needed to get out. I had become one of those people with a ‘Horror in Mexico‘ film at 11pm story. And house or no house, I wasn’t coming back.
I knew Les didn’t want to leave, but I was selfish. And then Les’ father passed away. Ever more driven to get back home, we left November 20 but after encountering unavoidable delays en route (of course, because it’s us) we didn’t arrive back in Canada until Christmas Eve. Three hundred and 44 days later we lost another very special loved one; and were now settled back in BC.
We didn’t set out to be full time RV’ers. Our condo here had a tenant, our house in Mexico had tenants and so the RV it was. Hello full-timing it was! Mack settled back into school, I was trying to heal and since Les isn’t one to do nothing he went back to work. What do we do now?
Well, we decided to put living in Mexico back on hold. Mack had settled back in so wonderfully and after everything he encountered while we living abroad, especially being so young, we decided he needed the stability more than we needed to go back to Mexico. I was also relieved somewhat because I didn’t want to go back. I hadn’t yet realized that my hate for Mexico was misplaced. Or that Mexico had actually saved my life (in more ways than one). Or that Mexico is one of the only places I feel at home. It took me a long time to realize that we had gone through everything we had in order to be exactly where we needed to be at exactly the time time we needed to be.
Let me clarify the second misunderstanding. Loudly. The medical care I received in Mexico saved my life. Not only did it save my life but it was the best care I have ever received. Hands down. In all cases. AND NO, it had nothing to do with paying for private care; Hospiten, Cruz Roja, the local public hospital, the medical clinics, etc .. we exercised them all.
DO NOT LET THE NAY SAYERS GET YOU DOWN OR QUESTION YOUR CHOICES!
“Everything happens for a reason. And shit is always going to happen. My point I suppose, is that no matter what you go through to get to where you want to be, the journey is yours to embark on. No one else lives your life so why let someone else live your dreams?”
We are often asked if we think it was worth it (given the unexpected redirection of our well laid plans) and/or if we would do it again. Absolutely yes. It’s that simple. Lessons in life are all valuable, even when they are hard to accept but there should be no regrets. For all dark we encountered, we also encountered light. I’m not usually one who’s at a loss for words but I (we) find it difficult when putting into words what the kindness, generosity and simple humanity of some strangers has meant to us; still means to us. For the hand-delivered hell we received from some, you are our valuable lessons that are sometimes hard to swallow. For the unconditional love we received from some, you are our ‘no regrets’ and this video is for you!
‘esta vida loca’
Let’s be real, things will always go wrong. Whether big or small, there will always be hiccups. It’s a fact. There will always be a reason not to. It’s a fact. AND PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS TALK. It’s a fact. We (more Les than I) have learned to let it roll off but I’ll be honest, there were a lot of breakdowns over it (more I than he) but we have discovered that peoples issues with us, our adventure and our journey are really just issues they hold within themselves; and it has nothing to do with us. We are just us, and what people think of us is none of our business.
As Mack looks towards his senior year and is busy making plans for his future, we are busy making plans for our next crazee adventure.
Stay tuned, we’d love to take you along 😉
“Life is an adventure so live it, you are worth the risk!” – Our Crazee Adventure