So long USA… Hello Mexico!

We are leaving. We are leaving the USA and moving to Mexico.

My wife and I are both 52 years old and we are natives of a state people used to flock to:  California. Our state’s weather, natural beauty, and diverse ecosystems have drawn people for centuries. Our universities attracted students from all over the globe while our strong economy fueled explosive growth. People kept coming to the Golden State to chase their dreams, recreate themselves, and to expand their lives. They kept coming and coming and coming.

We live in the rat race of the San Francisco Bay Area. The nine counties that comprise the Bay Area now have over seven million people resulting in skyrocketing home prices, the highest priced fuel in the nation, gridlocked freeways, homelessness, high crime rates, and a crumbling infrastructure. You would think that in a state as rich as California, with such high taxes, that our government could do better – but things keep getting worse.

The middle class is deserting California. Businesses, big and small, are also leaving. High cost of living, high taxes on personal income, and increasing legislation on business were the top three reasons cited. In a recent survey, 50% of adults asked reported that they planned to leave the San Francisco Bay Area in the next few years. We will be ahead of them as we are leaving in exactly one year.

We were very successful in business for decades. And while we dreamt of one day retiring and leaving for a more relaxed lifestyle, we were never really sure when that would happen. And then, one day, we abruptly lost our business. People we trusted took advantage of us and our life’s work was taken away. Life took an unexpected turn and we had to change our plans.

Truthfully, we were tired of our business anyway. We wanted out. We had become disenchanted with the cut-throat banking business culture. We were sick of dealing with the thankless, two-faced nature of our clients. While our exit could have been smoother, we were out. We were bruised, but we were finally free.

Leaving immediately was not an option we chose. We have one son and he just completed his junior year in high school. One more summer, one more academic year, and then he’s off to college. As a family, we committed to staying here in California until he graduates in May of 2019. We want to share and enjoy his senior year in high school with him, our last year with our baby at home. This thought brings tears to the eyes of any parent. He’s growing up and becoming a man. But after he graduates, we are out of here.

Mazatlan (Photo: Archive)

Now that we are facing retirement, like many Americans, we have chosen to leave the USA. Our favorite vacations have always been Caribbean and involved the white sand and clear waters most people dream of when they buy a Lotto ticket. We visited the Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and even Nicaragua before deciding on Mexico.

The nation just south of us is a place where you can still afford to retire before you’re too old to enjoy it. Mexico has a strong infrastructure, incredible people and places to visit, as well as modern medicine and healthcare all at a fraction of the price we pay in the USA.

As Californians, we are already very comfortable with the Mexican culture, food, and even the language, so the transition will be that much easier for us. But, we have a lot to do before we end our life in the USA and begin anew in Mexico. Where will we live? Will we need to buy a new car there or should we ship a car from home? Can we (and should we) ship our things? What about our dog? And last but certainly not least, isn’t it going to be awkward having our son come home for Christmas to a place he does not know?

Websites like Escape Artist are helpful, but they can’t do this for us. What we need to do will have to be learned along the way in real time. This will be the journey of our lifetime and we would like to take you along. We plan to share our whole story with words, photos, and videos. You will see and hear the good, the bad, and the unexpected – and we sincerely hope that our journey helps you with yours.

See you at the beach,

Tom Collins


  1. Will we need to buy a new car there or should we ship a car from home?
    Buy a vehicle in Mexico.

    Can we (and should we) ship our things?
    Get rid of everything but bring your mementos.

    What about our dog?
    Really now! What kind of person wouldn’t bring their dog?

    And last but certainly not least, isn’t it going to be awkward having our son come home for Christmas to a place he does not know?
    Christmas is about family. You are who he would come to visit. The fact that you’ll be in Mexico is a grand bonus.

    Enjoy your adventure. I did what you are contemplating over 16 years ago for many of the same reasons. I feel blessed because I was ahead of the curve.

  2. Mexico offers lots of choices, and all the answers to your plans. I would suggest you travel to several places without a commitment, and discover the best place, and plan for you. We did not bring all of our northern belongings with us – most of it doesn’t fit your needs, or lifestyle, here.

  3. I’m right there with you!!
    I’m 52 and just lost my job a month after my father passed – Gee Thanks!! But NOW is the time for me to make my leap of faith to Mexico!! I bought a condo in a town that I had visited a few times before but have been on chat forums with the folks there for almost 20 years. My house in the god forsaken state of NJ is for sale & I have been told will sell fast. With what I make off my house & what’s left of my savings I should be GOOD in MX until I can start tapping IRA and SS….
    Research is available & there are tons of Facebook groups to help you along the way. I will be bringing most of my furnishings even though I’m going into a condo but the biggest obstacle is bringing in my cats… I have come up with a plan that others seem to agree on, DRIVE them in as opposed to flying them in!! Obviously it will be a LOT easier for you in CA but I will be driving from NJ… UGH!! My car will be transferred to my niece before the trip & she will drive it back out of Mexico for the long haul back to NJ… I have found some great folks that know their way around so if you are interested – reach out!!

  4. You’re making a wise decision! We too traveled to other places, seeking out an ideal overseas lifestyle. Costa Rica, Nicaragua,Panama, Australia,etc. We always came back to our original search, Mexico. We first started out living here for 6mos. out of the yr., for 3 yrs. then went from selling everything in the Pacific NW to living in Mazatlán permanently. We have never regretted our move! Who knew life could be so good! I never dreamed I’d be out in the ocean, boogie boarding in my mid sixties! It’s almost like a “youthfulness” returns to your soul! Whatever city in Mexico you decide on, I recommend renting for a good year or two to see & explore the different areas. Do you want heat & ocean? Or would you rather be inland, around mountains, have the seasonal changes? It’s such a huge country, you can pretty much choose the type of climate you’d like to live in. And for Christmas, treat your son to a gift to Mexico, sitting on the beach Christmas Day sipping an ice cold drink, pinching himself that yes, he’s in paradise!