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