Photos and article by Andrew Midkiff
Mexico’s amazing flora is what brought me here. You have plants ranging from desert cactus to jungle orchids. Plants vary with climate and Mexico has just about any kind of climate you would want. I live in the pine-oak forest zone of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. We have a rainy season which runs from May through October; our altitude is at 6,600 feet and the average annual temperature is about 65 F. Nice weather to grow things.
My wife Lulu and I own a small avocado orchid. I can literally reach out my window and pick fruit. We live in Tepancingo, Mexico—a pueblo (village) surrounded by mountains and forest. Our nearest town is Tenancingo de Degollado, where we shop at the food market and go to restaurants. The nearest big city is Toluca, an hour’s drive from our home.
Anyone wishing to move to Mexico should consider what things they wish to keep and what they can give up. If you have health issues, you may want to live closer to a city; an hour’s drive to a doctor is not that bad, but that’s the sort of thing you want to keep in mind when moving abroad.
Mexico is both modern and traditional, it all depends on where you choose to live. You can live in a gated community with Costco, Starbucks, and stores that supply anything you could get in the States, or you could choose to live in a country setting with your own little farm. Mexico has something for everyone, but you need to seek it out.
For myself, I want to be surrounded by plants and animals. I want to grow things. This is my tranquility base and the living is great.
Your dollar will go further in Mexico. Domestic help can be hired for $2 to $3 an hour. Locally grown fruit and produce are pennies on the dollar. Want a shoe shine? That will cost you about 75 cents. A man’s haircut is $3, while my wife spends about $5 at the beauty salon.
If you drive, the gas in Mexico is usually about the same cost as in the U.S. But I do like the service you get at the state-run gas stations; they check under your hood, check your tires, and clean your windshield. You don’t get service like that in the States anymore.
Mexicans love their food and so do I. From street food—which is safe, cheap, and delicious—to fine restaurants, Mexico has it all. If you’re in a tourist location you can spend more, but you don’t need to. For about $2, you can have enough tacos or tamales to fill you up. A meal in a nice restaurant will cost you about $5 to $10. Mexico has some of the best seafood on the planet, and if you don’t eat meat most restaurants will be happy to cater to your needs.
If you live in the countryside like me, your choices are limited compared to the cities that have it all. But, whatever you want, Mexico’s got it.