Episode #86 – Marc Miller and his wife are expatriating to Mexico
Marc shares with the audience more about his upcoming move to Mexico and how the move is progressing.
[1:29] Marc welcomes you to Episode 86 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast and invites you to share this podcast with others. The more people he can reach, the more people he can help. Please subscribe, share it on social media, write an honest iTunes review, or tell your neighbors and colleagues.
[2:05] Next week’s episode should be part three of a four-part series called “Can Juan Repurpose His Career?” But it’s not recorded yet, so if it’s not ready, Marc will play an encore interview of one of his favorite career pivoters, Mike O’Krent.
[2:27] This week’s episode will be about driving to Mexico in the last week of June. You may hear a difference in the audio. Marc is recording in Mexico, in a house just outside of Ajijic. Listen for potential bird songs, barking dogs, or who knows what else?
Now on to the podcast…
[2:56] On June 20th Marc and his wife packed the car to prepare for leaving on the morning of the 21st. There wasn’t room to take the slow cooker or the blender. This was emotionally jarring for Mrs. Miller but just another problem to solve for Marc.
[3:44] Marc’s son works for the Navy; his daughter-in-law works for the Department of Defense. They warned Marc that this was a dangerous drive. Marc had hired a driver from Ajijic, so he was not worried. Around 11:00 a.m. they started driving to Laredo. Halfway there, Rex, the cat had a panic attack. Eventually, he curled up at Marc’s feet.
[5:05] They arrived in Laredo and had a room at the La Quinta on I-35. Marc confirmed with JP, their driver in Mexico, which bridge to take from Laredo across the border. There were five choices.
[5:57] Crossing the bridge, they pulled into the customs line to declare their cats. Nobody asked to see Marc’s documents. As they pulled away, they met with JP, and he took them to the immigration building. Marc would not have found it without a guide. One immigration building served all five bridges crossing from Laredo.
[7:05] Leaving the cats in the car, Marc and his wife started filling out immigration paperwork. There were multiple places to go to complete the process. There is a tax of 533 pesos to enter Mexico or about $25.00. Then they needed a Temporary Import Permit for the car. That was convoluted and they had to pay to copy their papers.
[8:23] From the time the Millers crossed the bridge to the time they were processed through was about one hour. They started driving to Matehuala, about the halfway point to Ajijic. Periodically, Marc would take a screenshot of Google Maps to text to his son, so he would not worry.
[8:58] The entire trip was taken over toll-roads. It happens that the State Department approves of the same route Marc took. Every expat they had met assured them of its safety. There were trucks and more trucks, mostly going to the U.S. When Marc had crossed the border, the lines coming North were much longer than those going South.
[10:01] It was convoluted to cross the border. Marc would not have figured it out without help. About 30 miles in, you run into the formal immigration office. You can’t go through it if you missed going through immigration at the border. There is a lot of daily border crossing just for shopping that never gets more than a few miles from the border.
[10:52] Marc has not added up the tolls yet but estimates that in two days, the tolls exceeded $100. The roads were very good. There were cows and horses in the medians and side of the road. It’s free grazing. Don’t drive at night or you might hit a cow or horse.
[11:55] Central Mexico is gorgeous. It is high desert. As you climb the hills, you will get caught behind overloaded trucks going very slowly. They stayed at Las Palmas in Matehuala. Las Palmas is pet-friendly and it has a good restaurant.
[13:40] Saturday morning, they departed for Ajijic. About halfway there, they stopped at a rest stop. JP was listening to Mexico playing Korea in the World Cup Games. But, he turned the car off, left the air conditioner and the radio on at the rest stop. The battery died. JP flagged down someone to give them a jump. Everyone carries them in Mexico.
[15:27] They arrived in Ajijic in the late afternoon. After settling in, they went shopping for a blender at WalMart and a slow cooker at a dollar store on the square in Ajijic. Since then, they have bought a WiFi extender, a cat tree, and other items they couldn’t fit in the car on the way down.
[16:28] Chapala is about a mile from Riberas del Pillas, the mostly expat community where Marc is staying. They are renting a one-bedroom 800 square foot house for $620 a month. They went to Chapala for market day. Marc bought one Kilo of strawberries for 25 pesos, or $1.25. Fresh whole chickens are inexpensive.
[17:30] See Marc’s blog post about the business aspects of working remotely in Mexico. The internet is not the best; he is in an AT&T dead spot between two towers. He is working through the problems.
[18:17] They are settled in. Marc recorded this episode on July 3rd. They have been in Ajijic a little over a week. The cats are settled in. They will stay for 12 weeks. They need a long-term rental for later this year.
[18:54] Marc explains why he hired a driver from Laredo to Ajijic. He has been in the wrong place at the wrong time in other countries more than once. He was in China for the SARS epidemic and also for the spy plane scandal in 2004. Other occasions made him glad to have local support. The level of stress was reduced greatly by a driver.
[19:53] JP proved to be good for conversation as well about things related to Mexico and the U.S. One topic was how the end of NAFTA caused a huge spike in Mexican gas prices at the pump. Marc noticed gas prices are about twice what he was paying in the U.S. High fructose corn syrup and American foods are causing an obesity epidemic.
[21:43] As more expats come to the North Shore of Lake Chapala, they drive prices up for housing and rental. Local Mexicans are being priced out. This is similar to what’s happening where Marc lives in Austin, Texas.
[22:07] Look for more on Marc’s move to Mexico in the coming weeks. Marc is getting feedback that people are enjoying hearing the processes of his move. Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments for this podcast. Marc will do an episode on his move about once a month.
[24:19] Check back next week, when Marc will either air the third part of “Can Juan Repurpose His Career?” or the episode recorded with Mike O’Krent.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Running a Business in Ajijic Mexico
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