It’s Time for My Annual Trip to the Old Country

It’s been 14 months since my last trip to the United States, the country that I jokingly refer to as the old country since moving to Mexico with my wife, Linda, in 2015.

Linda says the time has come to return to the old country family and friends, so we’re flying to Florida this weekend and we’ll be there for the rest of the month.

The rest of the month — that sounds like a really long time to me.

It’s not that I don’t like the U.S., I actually love it. It’s just that when I go back, I get a very “been there, done that” feeling and I get bored after only a few days.

I equate the experience to visiting your old high school. Sure it’s fun at first because it makes you feel nostalgic, but you wouldn’t want to spend two weeks there. That would just be…well, boring.

Another reason why I rarely return is because most things cost more back in the old country, especially eating out — which is something that Linda and I love to do.

If we eat out as much as we do in Mexico, we quickly exceed our budget and then we don’t have any money left to do anything else. Back to that pesky boredom problem again.

Don’t You Miss Your Friends and Family Back Home?

This is a question that I get a lot, and I suppose that if this was 1990 and social media was still in its infancy, then I would probably say yes.

But with technology the way it is now, I stay in constant communication with everyone that I care to, and I even get constant updates about their lives via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a host of other platforms.

I’m actually carrying on text conversations with three friends in the States while I’m writing this article.

Thanks to modern technology, whenever I do run into an old friend back in the States, this is how the conversation typically goes:

Friend: Hey! It’s great to see you.

Me: Great to see you too. 

Friend: I’ve been following your blog and Facebook. It looks like you’re loving Mexico.

Me: Yep, it’s great. I’ve been following you on social media. It looks like you’ve been doing well. 

This is the part of the conversation where both parties feel compelled to prove that they’ve actually been following each other. This is done by referencing a post or two.

Me: Congrats on that (e.g. promotion, birth of a child, retirement)

Friend: Thanks! I saw you and Linda visited (e.g. Puebla, Isla Mujeres, Ireland)

Me: Yep, it was fun.

At this point, both parties smile and nod before moving on to the closing ceremonies.

Me: Anything else new?

Friend: Nope, how about with you?

Me: Nope.

Friend: Okay, it was great talking to you. Take care.

Me: You too. Bye.

Depending on how many people I run into, I may have this conversation more than a dozen times in a single day.

Let’s Wrap This Up?

The longer I live in Mexico, the less I like to be away from here — even if it’s only for a couple of weeks. And anyone from the old country who has visited us, no longer questions why.

We live in a tropical paradise that butts up against one of the most beautiful bodies of water on the planet, the Caribbean Sea.

As if the location wasn’t enough, we also enjoy a higher quality of life than we had back in the United States. That’s saying a lot considering that our annual income was reduced by two-thirds when we left our jobs.

Well, that’s enough talk about our upcoming trip. It’s a gorgeous day in the Riviera Maya and I’m going to the beach!

Hasta luego. 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico ( to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

34 Comments on "It’s Time for My Annual Trip to the Old Country"

  1. Annette OBrien | March 12, 2019 at 10:44 am |

    Simply Awesome!

  2. WILLIAM GUERRE | March 12, 2019 at 10:46 am |

    Thanks Paul for your insight on Mexico. Can’t wait to spend winters there.
    Bill Guerre

  3. Larry Palmer Baja CA Norte | March 12, 2019 at 10:46 am |

    Have a safe and enjoyable trip

  4. ‍♂️

  5. I love your blog and I was wondering what is your taken about the crime and insecurity in the region and PDC. We are contemplating the idea of moving for good to PDC this is the second winter we are in PDC and never experienced feeling insecure

    • There has been more violence between rival criminal groups in Cancun and Playa del Carmen in the last year or so. It’s the result of several key crime leaders being arrested and the lower ranks all jockeying for a position.

      That type of violence, although alarming, normally doesn’t affect tourists or expats. You can expect the run-of-the-mill street crime you’ll find anywhere else (e.g. someone takes your cellphone when you leave it on the table at the restaurant), but that can often be avoided by being aware of your surroundings and exercising normal caution.

  6. Paul, we’ll be back in Tampa the last week of the month as well. Maybe we could find a place to get together for a cheap meal – maybe Taco Bell?!

  7. I would add to your comments that when you are back here you just cannot escape the constant babbling about the current state of our political world. Things are messy, ugly, distracting and divisive to say the least. And you know what is about to hit the fan. It is not fun, not by any means. I, hopefully will have to endure this 19 more months and then is Mexico. I am not sure where yet, but I know I am moving to Mexico. Good luck in your upcoming visit and happy travels. Hasta luego.

  8. Love your info, Spanish lessons, humor and candid opinions. Gracias, gracias! Hope to meet you and Linda one day. I know what you mean about “going back”. I lived in Sarasota, Fl for 22 yrs.

  9. Recently I found myself saying to others that when I go back…¨to the old country¨(love that expression), I don´t even like ME…………I grouch and grumble at traffic, shopping on every corner, noise, prices and just attitudes in general. Glad I do not go back often.

  10. We are 12 years out of the US and cannot be happier. I go back for family stuff, but Hubby is happiest here and we both hope to be here together until the end. The folks that mean the most to us come visit! Stay here and be happy !

  11. Kathleen Campbell | March 12, 2019 at 12:01 pm |

    Thankyou for your humor this morning!
    The Friend Dialogue is so bang on I had a good laugh! Enjoy the Old Country. Keep the great writings coming. Cheers Kathleen

  12. Oh so true! Just returned from three weeks in old and cold country (coordinating household move to Merida).

  13. Great post (once again) Paul!

    Since you live in Paradise, I would assume your friends would MUCH rather visit you than vice versa. Do you find this to be true? Do you see your state-side friends in Mexico more than they see you in the US?

    I think about MX every day.

    Have a safe, and not too boring trip!

  14. This is so true and kind of funny. I agree whenever I need to go back to the old country, I get sad. But we must do what we have to, and sometimes it’s just the right thing to do, especially when family is involved. Safe travels and don’t spend too much.

  15. David Rattray | March 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm |

    Have a safe trip……………enjoy 🙂

  16. I absolutely love this posting viewpoint, I sent it to some of my friends…now they begin to understand. Now, I just need to work on my girlfriend.

  17. Ethel Merts aka Fran Clark | March 12, 2019 at 4:04 pm |

    Enjoy your “old country” family and friends while you are in the states because someday they will all be gone to a heavenly paradise. I just can’t believe how many funerals I have attended in the past year; many I wasn’t able to attend. Also, visiting those in their homes and hospitals who are dealing with serious health issues, knowing they are not going to be here much longer. May you have safe travels and a good visit with all.

  18. Felipe Zapata | March 12, 2019 at 7:02 pm |

    I moved to Mexico in January of 2000, and I also returned annually for a couple of weeks, mostly to visit my aging mother but other relatives and some friends too. And shopping for things I either could not find in Mexico or I just had never found them. My mother died in 2009, and I’ve never returned and do not plan on returning. As you note, it’s very expensive up there.

    I only have two living relatives above the border now, and they’re welcome to visit. They don’t, but they’re welcome to. I have discovered that shopping up there is not necessary. I have embraced the attitude that if it’s not available in my adopted nation, I can do without it. Of course, far more things are available in Mexico now than were available 19 years ago.

    I predict that you will gradually cut back on the visits north. Maybe not. Lots of Gringos, maybe most, down here seem never to cut the knot for good.

    Enjoy your trip. I do miss the variety of restaurants in the United States. Ni modo.

  19. Yeah, like you we had to come back to visit the “Old Country”. Our “Old Country” is New York where it’s 45 degrees here wind chill makes it fell like 32 and I’m ready to go home. Hope you enjoy your visit!

  20. Que te vaya bien paisano.

  21. susan whitehurst | March 12, 2019 at 10:40 pm |

    Going back to the ‘Old Country’? Don’t get swallowed up by the Malls. I was just thinking about you today and thinking that the one burning question we all have is: “Where in Mexico do I live?” And then I thought, who better to write a little survey to determine which locations one should do further research on THAN YOU! (Like how I just volunteered you there?). For Example:
    1. Do you want to live A. by the ocean? or B. in a small town? or C. in a larger city that has more cultural offerings?
    2. How important is it that you have an Ex-Pat Community living close by? A. Extremely, B. Somewhat, or C. Doesn’t matter to me.
    That’s as far as my thinking has gotten me tonight. My thought was that by arranging the answers to either come up with mostly ‘A’s’ or mostly ‘B’s’ or mostly ‘C’s’, you could narrow down your search for the perfect Mexican location a lot.
    For example, those who answered both 1 & 2 with an ‘A’ might be interested in doing further research into Akumal. And, of course, the big disclaimer that these are only suggestions to help narrow your search. Not your recommendation.
    I’ll keep thinking on it. But my best thought was the perfect person to do this was YOU!!!!
    Have fun on your vacation and have a Hot Pastrami for me. Can Ex-Pats run a Mexican Business? Yes. Then I’m opening up a Jewish Deli in Playa del Carmen.

  22. Valerie Link | March 13, 2019 at 9:49 am |

    I missed your live Q and A last weekend and have been trying to it elsewhere, Facebook, YouTube . Have you or will you be making it available after the live event? Tbanks, love your blog and insite on mexico.

    • We were very unhappy with the video and audio quality of the final product, so we decided not to post it anywhere. Sorry about that.

  23. Robert Gibbs | March 14, 2019 at 10:37 am |

    For Susan Whitehurst: I’ve been living in Chetumal since November and you may want to check it out. It’s a university town of about 150,000 and the campus is spread across the city and the people are warm and friendly. Lots of nice restaurants and street vendors, several big mercados, a mall with upscale stores , a cinema ,Walmart, Sam’s club,you get the picture.
    Not too many tourists or much crime and condos and houses for sale.
    I’ve never seen a synagogue but if you open a deli here I’d like to try some matzah balls.

  24. Robert Gibbs | March 14, 2019 at 10:39 am |

    I meant that there are condos and homes for sale

  25. Ellen Stuart | March 15, 2019 at 12:24 pm |

    Safe travels to you! That ‘Trip to the Old Country’ write-up made me laugh…how true I am sure!! Love the blog and you constantly makes me consider your coastline of the country rather than the Sea of Cortez side!! Time for the final decision in 6 months .No wrong choice when it comes to Mexico . 🙂

  26. Robert Koskuba | March 18, 2019 at 2:37 pm |

    Enjoy your blog and Spanish lessons a lot. I’m also former law enforcement and maximizing my pension. I’ve been in Baja for just 4 months, but really can’t imagine going back for any significant time. I’m just starting out but wanted to say thanks for a good read! Robert in Baja

    • The longer you’re in Mexico, the harder it will be to go back. I’ve only been back in the States two days and I’m already missing Mexico.

      Enjoy Baja!

  27. We’re thinking of a trip to Akumal April or May. I’ve been researching on VRBO. They list different areas to rent in and of course never having been there I’m at a loss as to which area is best to stay. Are you familiar with these areas? Akumal Ecological Center, Half MoonBay, Yal-ku lagoon, Xcacelito Beach. We like the beach, but close to restaurants and shops. We don’t care to rent a car so walking distance or taxis/buses would be our transportation. Do you have an opinion which area would be better than another? I appreciate any input and of course we love your blog. Thanks and hope you enjoying your vacation.

    • Yes, they are all good choices. If you want to be close to restaurants and shops, go with Half Moon Bay. You can walk to more things from there.

      I will tell you that it can be challenging getting around Akumal without a rental car. It’s a small community but things are fairly spread out. If you want to go to a grocery store, you’ll have to go all the way to Tulum which is about 15 minutes by car. There are colectivos that run up and down the main highway all day but none of them will go all the way back to where you’ll be staying. You’ll have to either walk or take a cab.

  28. Steve Vande Sande | March 29, 2019 at 3:41 pm |

    HELLO. You were me from another subscriber. She recommended you as a source for info regarding bringing a vehicle from the US. Any info you be appreciated.

Comments are closed.