Live or Retire in Mexico: Reverse Vacationing

Plan for Visits North When you Retire in Mexico

When you live in Mexico or retire in Mexico you’ll be in heaven, but you’ll have left behind a lifetime’s worth of family and friends. You’ll want to visit with them occasionally, so I suggest that a small part of your plan for moving to Mexico include how you will take vacations. It’s sort of reverse vacationing if you want to think of it that way.

The relatively high level of cost and time involved in traveling from Mexico to the U.S. or Canada (not to mention the number of people you’ll want to see) generally means that you make trips of weeks rather than days. You’ll need to have an idea of where you will stay and plan a budget that will cover airfare, lodging, and foods in a country that is more expensive than the one you are leaving.

Marathon Visiting: The New Sport For Those Who Live and Retire in Mexico

One thing I had never experienced prior to becoming an expatriate is Marathon Visiting. My budget only allows for about one trip a year to the U.S. and I must stay with family (which is what I prefer to do anyway) when I’m here. You’ll discover that not all friends and family will visit you in Mexico for various reasons, which is appropriate. When you head north you’ll have this long list of wonderful folks that you miss. You just want to see them and give them a hug. This is where the marathon starts.

Think of the logistics involved in seeing and hugging 70 people in 2 weeks. 70 sounds like too many? Count your closest friends and family. I’ll bet you easily come up with 70 dear hearts. Last year I traveled to locations that were near groups of people. In a city three hours from my hometown I stayed with my sister, then we hosted a get-together at a cousins house, which allowed me to see lots of extended family. Then I stayed at a college buddy’s house and we hosted a get-together at her house, which allowed me to see lots of extended family. Back in my hometown my parents hosted a few get-togethers and some aunts and a cousin came in from out of town. We hosted a get-together at the house, which allowed me to see more extended family and friends. Do you see a pattern forming here?

Not only was there work involved, there was a financial burden. I have no extra money, so each host and my sister had to pay for the parties. I had a great time and have wonderful memories that will last me a lifetime, but I went home with a roaring cold and so exhausted I had to be coaxed into planning another visit a year later!

This time I decided to stay at my parent’s house and let people come to me. It is a lot easier for me, but it is still a huge burden on my family to do the cleaning, shopping, food preparation, and laundry involved in a two-week Visiting Marathon. One thing I didn’t count on is that now people want to see me twice!

It’s painful to have to tell your loved ones that they can’t come on such and such a day, that they can’t bring their beloved pets, and in some cases that they need to bring their own food, but I’m making a brave effort.

See, once you live or retire in Mexico, chances are you’ll be one of the only expats in your family. No one else will ever have experienced Marathon Visiting (unless they are married to a Mexican and have visited their spouse’s home town!) and they won’t really understand how overwhelming it can be. I’m even having trouble finding the time to call people to make more plans!

This time I also only told three friends that I would be coming. When you live in Mexico or retire in Mexico and are reverse vacationing you have to think about who you really want to see. About a month before coming I was faced with the following questions. How many people can I realistically see? If I tell them that I’m coming how could I tell them I don’t have time for them? If I don’t tell them I’m coming how will they feel if they find out later?

How do you tell friends that you only have an hour for them? Last time I traveled with a handmade calendar full of penciled in plans. This time I decided to spare myself the calendar but I’m constantly reviewing a mental calendar!

The bottom line, despite these challenges, is that it’s a joy to see friends and family. It’s wonderful to hug them or to be able to go on a stroll. It’s a joy to be honored by so many people making the effort to see me. I really am blessed. I wish I could come more often and stay longer.

It’s almost worth deciding to live or retire in Mexico just to get to be king or queen for a week or two while you are reverse vacationing.

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