What I Learned From Living in Mexico #LAWM
I've been delaying writing this, mostly because I was still trying to figure out what I learned. I’m pushing myself to write this now as the one-year anniversary of my arrival in Mexico is this week.
The thing I love about travel is you never know how you will be changed until you’ve moved on to the next leg of the journey. Here are a few things I’ve learned from my time in Mexico.
Trust Your Intuition.
Overall, this is the greatest lesson I learned that influences all the other lessons. I talked about this after my first solo-trip abroad to Mexico in 2013. There is nothing like being alone in a foreign place to wake up your intuition. Fortunately, I wasn’t entirely alone during my 6-month stay and I’m thank for my friendship with Rakia, which helped me tremendously. Still, this particular experience was new to me and it was challenging to adjust to living in another country.
Minimalism is not a destination you arrive at.
I knew this already, but adjusting to a new way of life made this very clear. Minimalism is an ongoing process with highs and lows and even seasoned minimalists like myself still have our doubts and setbacks on this journey.
While I have traveled previously and been on this minimalist journey for years now, I had never lived abroad as a minimalist up until this point.
My minimalist challenges were mainly financial and included:
Not having a budget for the first month I was there. When you convert that first batch of pesos you feel rich lol and everything seems cheap compared to their cost in the U.S.
Not being able to prepare food in the home I stayed at for the first month. I ate out almost daily and consumed many snacks before moving into my own home where I could cook.
Furnishing a home and not being aware I would need to buy common household appliances like a refrigerator, stove, gas tank, and heater. I lived in a three-bedroom house and did not use the second floor.
Getting rid of the stuff I purchased for my home when I came back to the U.S. Initially, I had only planned to return to the US for a couple of months, but when my grandfather passed, I decided to stay indefinitely in the meantime.
In hindsight, I should have budgeted to rent a fully-furnished studio with the utilities included. They are more expensive than many houses, but the convenience and long-term savings are better. I talk more about how much it costs to live in Mexico here.
No sooner than I accumulated the things, it was time to shed them. The move in/move out process was accelerated and overwhelming to say the least, but the beauty of practicing minimalism consistently is the ability to quickly forgive yourself and release the stuff you don’t need because you know it’s not apart of the next chapter.
The spiritual world is ever-present.
I have shared previously, I was depressed for a while in Mexico. I believe it was a mixture of the winter blues, my minimalist challenges, and looking back now, a spiritual awakening. I did not realize until joining a community of folx learning about and practicing black indigenous spiritual traditions, that depression often precedes a phase of spiritual evolution.
Mexico is a magical place and that’s not just a marketing ploy by the Mexican government to attract tourism. Dia de los Muertos is a revered holiday to honor those who have passed on to the next realm. Mexico’s history is long and the confluence of Indigenous, African, and European cultural traditions is well-preserved and present.
Additionally, finding out my Pop Pop had a short time to live and then him actually passing while I was in Mexico, was altering. I learned about spirits, protection, crystals, herbs and plants, mal de ojo, egg washing, and reiki from my friend Rakia. I even started observing the moon and set up my first altar.
Going to Mexico actually opened a new chapter of my spiritual journey that is still continuing.
Language is Important.
That’s an understatement for sure! Not only did I challenge the boundaries of my Spanish language knowledge and improve it, but I also had the experience of teaching English for the first time.
Both of these experiences were challenging in the best ways. There were miscommunications, puzzled looks, and frustrations all around, but none of that compared to the joy I experienced every time I could understand someone or they understood me! I think we take language for granted when we are in our native environments, but to watch it flourish in new places, is really special.
I say all that to say, I’m more confident in my Spanish language skills and I’m still enjoying teaching English, now via Cambly. I’ll have to write a whole other blog post on my experiences with Cambly, but if you’re interested in becoming a tutor and meeting folx from all over the world, sign up with my referral code.
Until next time…
There you have it! Another chapter complete on my minimalist journey and travels. I’m sure I learned some other things, but these are the most important right now. I have several videos from my time in Orizaba I will be uploading in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading.