Chris and Cindy Bouchard came to Puerto Vallarta for a three-month sabbatical. They had no plans to move to Mexico... or anywhere, for that matter. They just wanted a break. Then they'd get back to their real life.
So, when the three months were over, they returned to their home in Vancouver, Canada.
Back in Canada, though, something occurred to them. Their life in Mexico had been better.
"We'd spent our three months in La Cruz, which is 15 miles north of Puerto Vallarta," Chris and Cindy explained to the group assembled for our Live and Invest in Puerto Vallarta Conference. "We didn't know anything about the area, really, before arriving, but we were captivated by the place.
"We loved everything about being there, and, while we were there, we realized something that was shocking to us. We could buy a three-bedroom condo in La Cruz, with a beautiful view, right where we wanted to be, for what it'd cost us to buy a one-bedroom condominium in Vancouver - 20 miles and one hour from where we would have preferred to live!
"At first, we thought, OK, how can we resist that? We decided to buy a place with the idea that it'd be a holiday home for us. A reason to be able to return regularly to this part of the world we'd fallen in love with. Then we could rent it out as a revenue-generator when we were gone.
"The trouble was that, the longer we were back in Canada, the more we missed the Mexican way of life. We missed La Cruz, we missed the beach, we missed the culture, we missed the lifestyle, and we missed all the expats we'd gotten to know during our three months in the area.
"So, finally, we looked at each other and said, enough. We don't want to be here in Canada anymore. We loved Mexico. We miss it. What's keeping us from going back permanently?
The answer was nothing. So that was it. The decision was made. We would jettison Canada and make a new life in Mexico."
Cindy and Chris aren't retirees. They're way too young for that. And they still need an income. The couple, therefore, conceived a plan to start not only a new life in Mexico, but a new business, as well.
Their experience was in construction (Chris) and interior design (Cindy). So their plan became to buy a piece of property somewhere along the Riviera Nayarit that could work as a small hotel.
"We were able to buy at a very good price and on very good terms," Chris explained to the group. We converted the place into a five-bedroom boutique inn, kind of a bed-and-breakfast. Only I don't want to get up and make breakfast, so we're calling it a 'boutique inn.'
"We consider this place here our home now," Chris continued.
"Mexico is so much more than most of us have ever seen. It has so much to offer beyond the tourist spots. We know that we ain't seen nothing yet," he told the group.
"We're here for the long term, and we intend to spend whatever free time we manage to create for ourselves, the rest of our lives, discovering Mexico. We know that we've only barely scratched the surface at this point. There's so much here, so much beauty, so much culture, so much history. We're so bullish on this place.
"We've adopted this country completely. In time we want to become dual citizens. We want to be able to vote in elections here. And we want to encourage other like-minded people to come and join us, to come remake their own lives here as we have."
"The transition was easier than we expected," Chris continued, "thanks to the generosity of the local people. I have this expression. 'If you think the weather is warm in Mexico,' I like to say, 'wait until you meet the people.'
"The other reason our transition to life here was less challenging than we thought it might be was because of the big community of expats already living here. We've found so many people just like us, other expats who share our interests. We've met so many expats and retirees who are just so nice, so helpful. They love life here as much as we do." They love their new community.
"Sure, you meet idiots here, too, but you find idiots everywhere. We've got them back in Canada, of course!"
"Everybody in the expat community here seems to be embracing their inner child," Cindy continued. "Something about starting over like this gives you the confidence to do things you would never do at home.
"Chris sings. From the time I met him he'd say, 'I want to sing. I have a good voice. I have a good voice!'
"La Cruz is known for its music. So, moving here, Chris finally had his chance. He started going out, shyly at first, to sing. Today he sings regularly at multiple venues.
"Whatever it is you've always really wanted to do...you can do it here. You can sing, write, sail, etc. We intend to do all these things. And we're so excited. We're just ga-ga excited about this second half of our lives."
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