Moving to Mexico: What Happens When the Honeymoon Phase Ends?

Riviera Maya at sunset. (Source: Q-Roo Paul)

For those of you who are not regular readers of the blog, allow me to give you some background here:

In 2015, my wife and I disposed of 99% of our worldly belongings, packed the remainder into four suitcases and moved to Mexico.

We came with the hopes of creating a life that was like a perpetual Caribbean vacation. We envisioned spending our days lounging on white sandy beaches and sipping Margaritas at quaint little beach bars. We basically wanted to create a life that we didn’t need to take a vacation from, and we wanted it for a price that we could afford.

Did I mention that we took a 67% cut to our yearly income by leaving our jobs in the U.S.? That’s why we didn’t keep a house back in the States as a backup – we needed to drastically cut expenses and eliminate debt.

The Honeymoon Phase

Your first year in a new country is a lot like the first year of marriage: both are life-changing events that most people face with optimism, excitement and enthusiasm. At the same time, there is always a little fear that things won’t work out as planned.

Our first year turned out better than we had hoped. We purchased a condo in a tight-knit community that we absolutely love, we obtained our resident cards and developed friendships with expats and locals alike. We also spent every single day like it was the last day of vacation – in other words, we made the most of our time here.

Eight months after arriving in Mexico, I launched this blog and began sharing our experiences with thousands of strangers across the globe.

I guess those early articles were a little too positive because they prompted some readers to write me and accuse me of “wearing rose-colored glasses” or “still being in the honeymoon phase”. One reader even encouraged me to wait another year and then write an article sharing my impressions of Mexico once I was more established.

Well, a year has passed since I started the blog and I decided to take that reader’s suggestion.

Post-honeymoon Phase

This is the point in the article where the more pessimistic readers are expecting me to admit that things are not as rosy as I thought they were the first year — sorry to disappoint.

The fact is that our life in Mexico has exceeded our loftiest expectations of what we expected our new life to be like south of the border. Moving to Mexico has been one of the best decisions we ever made and we have no plans to move back to the United States.

In many ways, the second year has been much better than the first. Now we’re well-established, have developed great friendships, and truly feel at home in Mexico.

Let’s Wrap This Up

For those people thinking of making a life-changing move to Mexico, I have a little advice: don’t listen to the pessimistic people who try to rain on your parade, or dismiss your dreams as mere fantasy. The best approach is to just smile back at them and then prove them wrong.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) is a former lieutenant from the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida. During his 25-year career, he received numerous commendations to include two of the agency's top honors: a Meritorious Service Medal and a Medal of Valor. In 2015, Paul retired and moved to Mexico with his wife. He now spends his days enjoying the Riviera Maya and blogging from the beach.

54 Comments on "Moving to Mexico: What Happens When the Honeymoon Phase Ends?"

  1. I love all your blogs, but this one made me particularly happy. I’m heading your way in August to take delivery of my apartment. It will be awhile before I’m there full time, but can’t wait for those initial part time stints!

  2. Tanya A Davis-Barlar | April 19, 2017 at 10:47 am | Reply

    Thank you for this timely, inspiring, and encouraging article. As a wise gentleman once said to me, “good living is the best revenge.”

    Fans,

    Tanya & Jerry Barlar

  3. We have been here nearly 18 months, similar to you we sold most of our stuff in the U.S. but we bought a sailboat and are on the Pacific coast. What happens when the honeymoon phase ends? I’ll let you know when (if) that happens. Chances are those who are unhappy here weren’t all that satisfied with wherever they came from.

  4. Congratulations and thanks for sharing. I have no doubt that my partner and I will love living in Mexico. It seems like a far away dream right now but I love your advice.

  5. We are just finishing up our 5th year of winters here…..and the honeymoon still exists for us. We live in San Juan Cosala, Jalisco, Mexico……the Lake Chapala area and it is still magical to us! Dogs barking at night …… Donkey’s braying ….rockets celebrating something or another! Our glass is 1/2 full always! We so enjoy your articles….. if ever around Lake Chapala we would love to show you around during the winters!

    Donna & Frank Hogan
    dhogan1965@gmail.com

    • Thanks for the invite. I’ll let you know if we ever make it over that way. We would like to explore the country a bit more — bucket list stuff 🙂

  6. Love your advise and can’t wait to be there with you in four years!!

  7. Great to hear that! Would love to call Mexico my home one day and y’all are my inspiration! Thanks for the great information you share!!

  8. Wow. Just what I needed to here. Thanks

  9. Mary Fleischhauer | April 19, 2017 at 11:13 am | Reply

    So happy for you. My husband would like to follow your lead and move permanently to Mexico. I am resistant as we we have children and grand children in the US. For now, we are compromising to be snow birds and rent in the Progreso area as the cost is so much less. Are you aware of any properties in the Akumal area that have rent less than $1,000/month. We would like beach access not do not need beach front.
    I enjoy reading your blog.
    Mary

  10. Great hearing your adventures. Keep it up.

  11. “Divorce and remarry” … Johnny Carson

  12. Maria K Cavendish | April 19, 2017 at 11:34 am | Reply

    Just want I wanted to hear. I’m planning to move to Mexico in 2018. Later this year, I’ll be an hour south of Puerto Vallarta for four months. I haven’t zoned in on any particular locale to move to, even though I bought a nice piece of land, but I’m committed to Mexico as my love.
    Really happy to have found your blog.
    Maria

    • I think I have seen you on a PV site. As we both share the same nationality, I was curious to see, who else made it THAT far. I will try to move into that region as well – uphill of course as I am used to colder climats.

  13. Mario gagliardi | April 19, 2017 at 11:38 am | Reply

    Well done

  14. Perfect! I plan on meeting you both one day in the not so distant future My husband and I have been reading your blogs and recently spent two months in Playa ,we made friends became active in the community and are in process of selling our home and stuff to move back at least half of the year. ( we have adult children and a huge blended family here ) so much to work out but the goal is close to furition . I might be writing you for a advice when I need it . Thanks again, Robyn Conn Buen Dia !

  15. Thank you Paul. There are always people trying to rain on someone’s parade. If you have a positive outlook on life, things usually work out for the best or better than you hoped. We are looking forward to our life in Baja which we hope to have shortly. Love your blogs. Keep up the great work. You’re very inspiring!

  16. Brian R Blatchley | April 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Reply

    Dear Paul,
    There are always going to be people that for them the glass is always half empty. I try to ignore them. I am sure you heard many of the same comments we hear when we tell people we are planning to retire overseas. We are deciding between Spain, Puerto Vallarta or the Maya Riviera. They all have positives and negatives…just going to do our research and find a place that matches our lifestyle.

    We enjoy reading your blog and we will let you know when we are in the area, the first round will be on us.
    Brian

  17. Been in San Felipe, Baja for over a year full time. Pretty much all my friends who are here full time never want to go back to the USA. Love it here !

  18. I enjoy your blog very much, and it’s great to hear you and Linda are still in the honeymoon phase even past the honeymoon. As someone who works often with people going through big life changes like retirement and foreign relocations, I just want to add that it’s also okay if the honeymoon ends. Like with a marriage, the key is to not overreact and think that means the whole thing was a mistake. Give it time and accept the ups and downs along the way—the natural ups and downs of life—as something normal, not necessarily a sign there’s something wrong. As another person commented here, maintaining a “glass is half-full” attitude is so important—looking for the positives and appreciating them. The importance of that really can’t be overstated. But it can also be helpful to remember the glass only needs to be half-full to do that, not completely full.

  19. Paul, we’ve lived here four years…same general area as you and Linda. Love, love our life here. We put a lot of thought into it before we sold our house in Houston and moved down here. Like you guys, we got rid of 96% of our “stuff” and took a 60% pay cut. But we are living better on our retirement pension here than we could in the states…much better. Definitely do your homework before making such a move. We did, and our dream is working out well for us.

  20. Love it!

  21. Amen!

  22. Michelle Helmic | April 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Reply

    Been following for a couple of months now. Wondering – do you have kids back in the states?

    • Yes, one adult son. We speak daily and visit him from time to time. It’s easy to stay in touch thanks to technology.

  23. Glad to here its working out for you . What about family ? I have 2 sons & a 2 yr old grandson ….I would miss them .

    Mike from Canada

  24. Yep, I totally agree. Moving to Mexico for retirement is the best decision we ever made! We are not on the beach; we prefer the cooler climate of the central area. We spent many vacations traveling Mexico from 2003 through retirement in 2009. By October of 2010 we had built a house in San Miguel de Allende, sold off all in the US and moved into the new adventure. We have made so many newfriends: Mexican, US, Canadian, Australian, Irish, and French. We enjoy the unending Mexican cultural celebrations, the multi-cultured arts community, and the active social life of house parties, restaurant outings, and neighborhood dinners. The markets of fresh produce, great meats and seafood, and excellent dairy products keeps me busy with my love of cooking. But a word of advice, learn some Spanish!

    Life here is relaxed, economical and fun. The lifestyle is healthy, between the two of us we have lost 150 lbs. due to good diet, active lifestyle, and great healthcare. We enjoy traveling and exploring the various cities and heritage centers here. The truth is, I have only been in the US eight days since the move in 2010 ( visiting neighbors that live part of the year across the street from us here in Mexico). We maintain a US phone through vontage and many of our friends have visited. Take the time to explore Mexico.

  25. Love to hear it! We will be there in a couple of years. There seems to be some negativity in close knit communities from time to time and happy to hear you are not affected!

    • We have occasionally encountered negative people but they are the minority. If I had to put a percentage on it, I would say less than 1%.

  26. Adrian Smith | April 19, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Reply

    Living in Tepoztlan, Morelos. Absolutely love everything about Mexico.

  27. I know these people as well…
    I expatted for working reasons many times to very different places. So not to my favorite beach, but to places with certain problems (high crime rates, bad infrastructure, altitude…etc) and the first impression was always : “Oh dear, and here I have to stay for years?” My first year was always the “nothing works, nothing have” year – no honeymoon at all!
    Then you know people and people help you, give you other ideas or solutions and after 3 years you want to stay forever.
    Just as an example for such an idea:
    I lost one visor screw on my helmet, so the helmet was unuseable. I was far away, isolated and a local friend came and asked me for the other screw. “You will not find these screws here” I cleverly said. Two days later he gave me my screw back. I smiled and said “Thanks anyway”. And then he gave me two new screws. Someone copied my screw, cooked some plastic and made new ones by hand. This is at home out of thinking as such work would be unpayable.
    Life is very different were I live in my banana leaf hut and of course naked. 😉

  28. Ha! I love this post. I found the same to be true for us. After 1.5 years living in Mexico, we are even happier with our decision to move here. In fact, the longer we stay, the longer we want to stay. We had only planned on being down here for a year, but now it’s looking like we will stay for several more. Before moving, we had also had a wonderful life in the States, so we weren’t running away from anything. We were just looking for some adventure and to shake things up a bit.

  29. Oh, and if you want to follow our adventures, our blog site is: Slobefamilyadventure.com 😉

  30. Good day! Work has taken me to some forty countries and Mexico is by far the best of them all, at least where I am the happiest. Twenty one months (and counting) for early retirement, would be happy to take a big pay cut to escape FL. Thank you Paul (and all) for keeping this blog going..

    Best regards!

  31. Denis Deslauriers | April 20, 2017 at 7:45 am | Reply

    This a post I really enjoyed. I love your posts, so down to earth and sharing “all” aspect of Expats living. It has made our commitment to move to Mexico, closer to reality than fantasy. Keep them coming…

  32. You have made my day with this blog. Since reading your blog, my husband and I are doing exactly as you have. We just retired early, have sold everything and yesterday booked our one way ticket to Mexico. Most of our family and friends are happy for us but few are wary of our decision. Even though this feels so right for us, those few skeptical people can give you pause for thought giving some restless nights. Your blog not only encourages us, but calms us. Thank you.

  33. Been here 6 years – every morning I wake up grateful for the weather, the people, the fresh food, the great healthcare. When I return to the US to visit my family, I always smile bigly as the plane comes into Guadalajara. Truly paradise!

  34. Thanks for raising this issue, Paul. Like you, we sold our US property and took a substantial cut in income when we retired. So we live here full-time. No snowbirding. We have been here 11 years and while the honeymoon phase is long past, we have never regretted our move for a moment. As you said, the results have exceeded our loftiest expectations.

  35. Love your blog Paul! I find it informative, well written and inspiring. Yo ❤ Mexico

  36. Fantastic piece. Thank you. My wife and I are 99% ready to pull the plug and call PV our new home when I hit 62. Just a year away. Your blog gives us the courage to “not wait” until our later years. I know we can do this, you and others that we have read, prove that to be so. Thank you so much for all of your information and insights.

  37. Great blog!

    It’s nice to hear from someone with a positive take on expat life. There are a lot of perpetually miserable people out there that think a change of venue will change who they are.

    We can’t wait to get down there and check out the Tulum area in a couple of weeks. My wife and are following in your footsteps – liquidating everything, quitting our professional careers and moving to Mexico by October 2017. We got tired of being part of the rat race – pursuing money and working ourselves to exhaustion at the expense of our health, personal connection and quality of life.

    We love to hear from positive and adaptive people like you that made the move!

    G&J

  38. Good for you! I love reading your blog and I am selling my house and starting the process. Hope to see you soon!

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