3 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Moving to Mexico
Five months ago, desperate to get back out into the world and live a semi-normal life, I moved from Australia to a little beach town on the Pacific coast of Mexico. While it was undoubtedly one of the best decisions of my life, here are three things I wish I’d known before packing up my life and buying a one-way ticket to Mexico:
1. There is Mexican Mexico and then there is International/Westernised Mexico.
In hindsight, this was very naive of me, but prior to my arrival in Mexico, I had grand visions of perfecting my Spanish, chatting to the locals, immersing myself fully in the culture, language, and day-to-day life of Mexico. I was thrilled at the idea of learning another language, feeling like a local, and experiencing the real Mexico.
Boy, oh boy, was I wrong.
The reality has been more like receiving tiny snippets of Mexico, and great big doses of international tourism, flocks of remote ‘digital nomad’ workers, and everyone speaking English!
But it’s not all bad.
Because of this western influence, day-to-day life is incredibly comfortable. I can still find western coffee shops, practice my Spanish and enjoy tacos all in one place. I have the option every time I open my mouth to speak in Spanish or in English, I can choose to eat traditionally or enjoy Western/International food and I feel safe, knowing my community around me is comprised of a huge variety of men, women, and children from all over the world.
Tourism is a huge cornerstone to the Mexican economy and while the influence of western culture and gentrification is no doubt impacting the traditional culture, the money and opportunities brought in from this industry is also essential to the local economy. It’s a bit of a catch 22.
While this influence will fluctuate from town to town and region to region, I am learning to appreciate the combination of western convenience meets traditional Mexican culture. I love buying my fruit and veggies from my local tienda, yet also having the option to shop in an organic health food store. I love the choice of authentic street…