That Didn’t Take Long

Brett told me the other day that he never wants to move again. It’s not that he’s fallen in love with Tennessee, but he said he’s tired of all the packing, unpacking, setting up, etc. that goes with moving. Our last few travel experiences didn’t help his mood: the long plane flights and schedules that were changed without notice, lugging the big suitcases around, driving a big van through all sorts of crazy weather and having to unload it every evening and load it again in the morning, and on and on. At age 72 he said he’s had enough.

While I still enjoy and look forward to traveling, our experiences since we left Hawaii have left their mark on me as well, and I admit to being somewhat relieved to be settled again with our own things, even if many of those things are actually new to us. I honestly did not enjoy the whole moving part of the past few months, but also know that I don’t want to stay in Tennessee for more than two years. I know that means we’re going to have to pack up and move once again.

I’ve promised Brett though that next move will be our last, and that someone else will move us and do all the work. One of the reasons I’m so fierce about saving once again is that if we are not going to do it ourselves, we are going to have to pay someone else to pack our things, load a truck, move our stuff, and unpack at our destination. I’m all done with that part of moving.

We are 100% decided at this point that when we leave Tennessee we will head to Mexico, to the city of Mazatlán on the Pacific coast. We enjoyed our time in San Miguel de Allende, but knew that while we could happily live in Mexico, SMA was not the right place for us for a variety of reasons.

Why did we choose Mazatlán?

  • It’s beach town on the same latitude as Hawaii but with a much, much, much lower cost of living. We can easily afford an oceanside modern condo or apartment, or a house with an ocean view and Pacific breezes as well as a housekeeper (and gardener if needed).
  • We thought the cost of living in San Miguel de Allende was fantastic, but Mazatlán’s COL is even lower. We can live very well there on half of our income. The other half can be used for travel, investment, and saving. And, I can continue to afford to live there if Brett predeceases me.
  • The city has an international airport with direct flights to several American cities (two hours from Phoenix, for example) as well as Mexico City. We can fly from Mazatlán to the U.S. and either up to the northeast to see the girls, or over to Japan. We could afford to visit Japan and the girls every year as well as travel to another destination in the world.
  • Although our health and dental insurance cover us worldwide, good health and dental care are available and extremely affordable in Mazatlán. As we age, we can also afford to hire home health assistance if needed.
  • There is a large expat community in Mazatlán, but not an overwhelmingly large one like there was in San Miguel de Allende. There is a tourist season, with an influx of snowbirds and visitors, but nothing approaching the numbers of SMA or cities further down the coast such as Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco.
  • The city has well-run public transportation, and we would not need a car there (two of our daughters are already interested in purchasing our car from us).
  • Mazatlán’s weather is hot and dry. It can be quite hot during the summer and into the early fall, but the rest of the year is pleasant and warm. There are numerous walking venues, and a long, accessible beach. The city is known for it seafood, shrimp especially.

Will we move all of our stuff to Mazatlán? Yes – it would be an affordable move. We like the stuff we’ve purchased here and if it holds up we plan to keep it.

Mazatlán has everything we want, from an oceanside location to a low cost of living that will allow us to continue to travel while still being settled somewhere. We will get everything we want at a cost we can afford. We’ve got two years to go here in Nashville, but we’re back in savings mode once again so that when the time comes we’ll be ready to make our move!

35 thoughts on “That Didn’t Take Long

    1. I’ve been to Mazatlan in the past and love it, and it has everything we want, from cost of living to easy transportation to an oceanside location. It’s also one of the safest cities in Mexico. As we well know – these next two years will fly by and we’ll (hopefully) be there before we know it!

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  1. They say moving is one of the most stressful life events, and you and Brett have moved so many times since I’ve been following your blog that I’ve lost track! So it’s understandable you’re tired of it.

    Have you ever been to Mazatlán? I was just reading up on it because I knew nothing about it and it does seem to check all your boxes. It’s interesting that it’s the same latitude as Hawaii. That’s a definite plus!

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    1. Back in the day the navy did all the moves for us. They were still somewhat stressful, but we’ve added on downsizing, doing our own packing, etc. and it’s not only stressful but exhausting! So, we will pay someone to do it for us next time. Besides, it’s recommended that a professional be hired to take care of all the customs work required to bring your things into Mexico.

      I have been to Mazatlan before and have some very fond memories. It really is a location that checks all the boxes for us. Although it’s on the same latitude as Hawaii, it’s drier and hotter than Hawaii, but we plan to travel during the hottest months!

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      1. I have a friend who retired from the navy and he used to tell me about how they would send a group of movers who would pack everything up for him every time he transferred to a new duty station. I was always amazed by that. I actually didn’t know until I read your post that you can pay a moving company to pack for you. It makes sense to do it that way, especially for all the customs work, as you said.

        What is the beach like in Mazatlan? Is it free? I’ll have to check out some photos and video online. Your plan to travel during the hot months makes a lot of sense.

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      2. The navy moves were always great – movers packed up everything at one place and unpacked it you arrived at your new duty station. We got a big shock the first time we moved ourselves!

        Mazatlan has a beautiful beach. It’s long, and protected by a reef offshore. We’re already talking about visiting places in South America during the hot summer because it’s winter and cooler there.

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  2. GM, like Brett my husband advised in 2003 when we moved to our present home he was not going to move again! And truth it is after 19 years, in fact it is the longest I have lived in the same home in my entire life.
    I agree, Mazatlán sounds great!

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    1. This last move, combined with the travel to Pennsylvania, the flying to and from Mexico, and the drive down to Nashville, was especially stressful and we are done! We know we have to move once more though so are preparing ourselves to pay for someone to do it for us! We had a moving company pack us out when we moved to Hawaii the first time, and that move was such a breeze compared to what we went through this past time.

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  3. Mazatlan sounds like a winner! I’m very intrigued, and will need to come visit you there lol.

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    1. Mazatlan has pretty much everything we want in a permanent location: low cost of living, oceanside living; and proximity to the U.S.. Our big challenge now is learning Spanish but we’re on the case. We’d love to host you (and hope you’ll still stop in Nashville before then!) – it’s been too long since we’ve seen you!

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      1. I have my two small terriers with me so I think we’ll all be better off if I find an AirBnB, but thank you so much for the offer! I’ll touch base with you once I start planning my return to see where you are located. I can’t believe how long it has been, even though it has flown by!

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  4. Have to say I understand why Brett feels that way. Guess I’m starting to get similar feelings after moving so many times. We are currently travelling in Europe and have to say we think we might stay home for a while until the airlines get their act together. Travel certainly has not been the pleasant experience of years gone by. We’ve wasted so much time trying to contact airlines for flights and cancellations and refunds. It’s absolutely exhausted us and for the first time ever we are looking forward to getting home and not planning the next trip.

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    1. Oh Vicky, I so agree with your takes on the travel scene right now. Our trips out of Hawaii, and to and from Mexico were miserable – the only reason the trip back to the U.S. was OK was because we were in first class (which we can’t afford to do all the time). It’s all very discouraging, and has made us sort of glad we’re here now (also sort of glad we’re not in the UK now with what’s going on there). For now I’m only planning local visits or places we can drive to, and focusing on saving.

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  5. It sounds lovely. How do you deal with visas? Do you have to re up them every 6 months? I know nothing about living abroad so it’s intriguing.

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    1. There are different visas – a regular tourist visa (with no income check) is for six months, but they are checking carefully now that visitors are not just turning around and coming right back. There is a long term visa good for two years, I think, and there are income requirements for that (which are fairly low). Finally there is a permanent resident visa, which is what we will most likely apply for. Income requirements are higher, but there is no set-in-stone requirement for how often you have to renew. We will apply through the Atlanta consulate – not sure for now if we will have to appear in person or not (which you do have to do for most countries’ long-term visas). Lots of paperwork involved nevertheless but if nothing else we are very, very good at filling out and filing paperwork!

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  6. I was just checking on visa requirements and for the permanent one the monthly income is way beyond what we get and we certainly don’t have the kind of retirement fund required either. So interesting. It’s certainly not for low income retirees.

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    1. The income levels change depending on which type of visa you are applying for, although I know Mexico is tightening up their income requirements. The permanent visa requires the highest monthly income, but the 1- or 2- year long-term visa requirements are lower.

      Actually, Mexico is a great location for low-income retirees. Most of the ones we met entered and stay on a long-term versus permanent resident visa. We met people living in San Miguel de Allende (one of the most expensive places in Mexico) and enjoying a very high quality of life on less than $1500/month.

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      1. I did see the shorter visa requirements were less money. That looked much more reasonable than the permanent one which I think the monthly was something like $4500 which is a lot. It sounds like you’ve picked a beautiful place to land.

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      2. The income requirements for a permanent resident visa in many countries is often very high, and in some countries you can’t get a visa unless you invest significant sums (Canada, Ireland, New Zealand to name some places). The permanent resident visa often also requires language proficiency.

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  7. I am so happy for you. I think that Mazatlan will be a great place for you to live. You will be back to the ocean and there will not be so many expats. Enjoy!!

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    1. Mazatlan does have everything we’re looking for in a retirement location: cost of living, coastal living, and proximity to the U.S. The expat situation in San Miguel de Allende was the biggest negative for us, and the primary reason we didn’t want to live there. We do want some expats around though and Mazatlan seems to have the right balance.

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  8. I visited Mazatlan on a cruise with a girlfriend 20+ years ago and it was one of my favorite ports. We wandered around by ourselves and had a great time. Yummy food and great art. I have a leather mask that I bought there that I love. Sounds like it hits most of your wants and will be perfect for you.

    P.S. I’m so on board with moving. It’s beyond tiring and gets more so the older we get.

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    1. I visited Mazatlan years ago and loved it then, especially the seafood, but I also spent a lot of time on the beach and walking the malecon. It really does check off everything we want, at least the main things. We’re very happy with our decision, and are glad to once again have a goal to work towards.

      I am so sick of moving. We are still waiting on the missing pieces of the credenza to show up so we can say we are done with this move!!

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  9. Hi again Laura. Just stopping by to let you know that comments are closed on the coffee giveaway. Wanted to let you know in case you didn’t know already Haha I felt guilty entering so many times, but I must say, win or lose it was so fun entering your contest. Thank you for thinking of your readers. Cheers!

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    1. Oh no! There have been SO MANY entries for this giveaway but I guess I will have to close the contest and go with the entries I have now and pick a winner!

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  10. Sounds wonderful! Are you planning on buying a condo? Oh, and before I forget, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on the beach, was an interest place to visit when I was a kid. I liked the beach also. You were mentioning places you were going to in North Carolina and thought I would mention that. I liked looking at the airplanes the Wright brothers made.

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    1. We’re not going to buy, just rent. The hard part will be choosing a location in town – we think we’ll Airbnb for a few weeks to look and check out the different neighborhoods.

      Brett and I have been to Kitty Hawk twice – we loved it! We are going to try to visit the Outer Banks before we leave the area – it’s already on our list!

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  11. I would be curious to hear your thoughts about expats, and specifically why you are opposed to a larger expat population where you settle. Maybe a future blog post? I can’t wait to experience Mazatlan through your blog, even if we have to wait a couple years to do so.

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    1. We found San Miguel de Allende to be very safe, and have heard the same about Mazatlan. There are neighborhoods where we wouldn’t live in each of those places but otherwise we feel safe. Cartels are still active in Mexico, but unless you’re buying or selling drugs, being in a location you shouldn’t be (an empty warehouse on the outskirts of town, or messing with them in other ways), they don’t and won’t mess with you. As with any other city there is non violent crime, like theft and such, but I would take the same precautions there that I do anywhere in the U.S.

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