Living Abroad While Minimalist: Why I Decided to Move to Mexico
It's really simple: I love Mexico! When I first visited Mexico in 2013, people thought I was crazy for spending three weeks alone backpacking through Mexico. I heard all the stereotypes and dangers of traveling as a solo woman and to Mexico on top of that. Maybe I was (am) crazy, but I'm going to do what I want regardless. Plus at the time, my friend Sylva had already been living in Mexico for five months as a solo black woman and she was doing just fine.
Sidenote: Initially, I really wanted to go back to the Philippines, but when that wasn't working out, I knew I would go back to Mexico without a doubt.
At the time, I was going through another major life transition and it was the beginning of my minimalist journey. Two of the values I chose for myself during this transition were travel and adventure. I wanted to see if I could travel alone and survive. Clearly I did, and I really learned a lot about myself including the depth of my strength and independence. Also, that I could live with only a backpack of things for three weeks, it was a true minimalist challenge!
So Mexico immediately found a place in my heart and I knew I would return there many times in the future. Mexico is magical. That's a fact and what better place to dig deeper into my own personal magic than the Pueblos Magicos capital of the world.
After deciding this was my new home, I returned this July, seeing the cities of Puebla, Veracruz, and Orizaba. I had never been to any of these cities and had never even heard of Orizaba until I learned two black American women were living there. I arranged to visit them before flying back to the States and really liked the chill vibe of the city and the fact black folks were out there in the middle of Mexico.
I was also interested in the Afro-Mexican presence in the state of Veracruz. Veracruz along with the state of Guerrero, are home to the largest black Mexican communities in the country. I first learned about Afro-Mexicans back in 2006 while in graduate school. There was an exhibit on Yanga at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and I was just as excited as I was in 1998, when watching Dance With Me and learning there were black folks in Cuba. It began my interest in the Diaspora and I studied Afro-Latino identity in college. I have a bachelor's in Anthropology and Latin American Studies. I have not had a chance to investigate yet, but I did learn some things about their history while in Veracruz port and I want to do some more exploring before I leave in April.
Finally, Mexico has a low cost of living where the American dollar stretches far. I am also mastering my Spanish. Even though I am having my struggles here in Orizaba, I'm glad to be here and have this experience.