This was ported across from the old blog, originally posted in February 2021
Leaving Malaga, Spain wasn't an easy choice. For me it represents the closest thing to a perfect city. It's the right size from a population perspective, has perfect weather, great food, access to mountains as well as beach, a walkable inner city core, and just a great vibe all around. I will miss it dearly 😢
So, why leave? Honestly, for mental health reasons. Which ever way we looked at things, we were spending more than we were making. With my business being pre-revenue and my job being part time, my financial situation wasn't going to change any time soon. It's like this mental weight that didn't allow me to properly focus on anything.
Constant money worries got me down for so long, that at some point I just said: "why don't we just live somewhere more affordable?" Given the current climate this seemed a bit crazy to think about, but after feeling so low for so long, one tends do what they can to improve their mental state. For us it meant leaving!
There are 3 aspects to consider when flying right now:
Unsurprisingly, most countries aren’t open to international travellers. The countries that are open have differing levels of safety procedures, including PCR tests and quarantine requirements.
Be sure to check out our list of countries open to international travellers.
Always check with airlines as well as the countries official outlets of information before buying tickets and travelling. Keep in mind that in a lot of these destinations health protocols still apply, including social distancing, wearing masks and more.
Check government and airline websites, as well as read a few people's recent accounts, so you get a full view of what it takes to travel.
Based on the criteria of being affordable, open to international travellers, good weather and ease of visas, we came up with a shortlist:
Tanzania was out because we didn't want to deal with malaria. Sure, it can be managed, but we didn't want the additional stress. Between Colombia and Mexico the latter seemed to have accommodation options better suited to us, so that's where we picked!
I started looking into places within Mexico that were affordable, had access to the ameneties we were looking for, weren't overrun by tourists, and eventually came up with Mérida, Yucatán.
We have a Remote Choice location guide for Mexico. Check it out.
It took 20+ hours to travel to Mérida, connecting in Madrid as well as Mexico City.
If you're going to Mexico, make sure you buy a return or ongoing ticket, since you could be refused to board, depending on your airline. This is no joke! With 10 minutes to spare, Iberia was going to refuse us if we didn't buy a ticket right there and then. Luckily we managed to on our phones, after a lot of scrambling 😖
At Mexican immigration they will ask for this too, including what work you do to financially support yourself, as well as proof of where you are staying the entire time. Not everyone has the same experience, but it's worth knowing.
If all goes well they stamp 180 days into your passport. A lot of people leave the country for a weekend or so and then return to get another 180 days, once the time is up.
Should you want to stay longer, Mexico has a visa specifically designed to attract remote workers called the "Temporary Resident Visa". We've covered the details of it in our resource for Remote work visas around the world, which you can access here.
Did you know that the official name for Mexico is "Estados Unidos Mexicanos" (United Mexican States)? I sure didn't!
We'll be here for 6 months. During this time I can properly focus on my business as well as Remote Choice of course. We're staying in a lovely Airbnb whilst we look for something more permanent.
We've been here a week, and although there is always some adjustment needed after travelling internationally, I can honesty say that it's been a while that I've felt this at peace. My mind is way more clear, leaving room to think as well as well as focus on my projects with a renewed energy. Mérida suits us really well and we can't wait to see more of it.
July 2021: Since this was written in February 2021, we managed to land a more permanent place with a contract for a year. I now also have my Mexican residency, so things are way more settled now.