What Drives Americans and Canadians to Migrate to Mexico

Andres Segovia - El Tiempo Latino
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December 23, 2021




Mexican tourism offers American and Canadian visitors the experience of an unforgettable, joyful and colorful trip, so that they will return later. However, that hook has made many of them prefer not to leave instead of coming back.

Each has his or her own story, but in common they share a certain detachment from what they themselves usually call the "rigidity" or "coldness" of their customs of origin. They arrive and remain attracted by the culture, aesthetics, the malleable conceptions of time of Mexicans and even receiving the "good morning" from any stranger every morning.

Living in Mexico is for them a journey of self-discovery in which Anglo-Saxon certainty is a thing of the past. Crossing south of the border prioritizes the wealth of stimuli and experiences.

According to the 2020 Population and Housing Census, Mexico is home to at least 797,243 people born in the United States. Almost half of them live in northern border states and the rest tend to be distributed in large cities and resorts.

Proximity to the U.S. seems to be an insurance against the complete uprooting of those who first crossed their mental horizons.

Mexican-Style Love

Less than an hour away from Puerto Vallarta, facing the Pacific in central Mexico, in a small tourist town called Saluyita, Jeffrey Stevenson, 36 years old, works as executive producer of a music house.

Nearly a decade ago it all started with constant stays in different cities and ended in a permanent residence in Mexico. He decided to move from the legendary U.S. music capital of Nashville, Tennessee, to a warmer life with his wife Erin.

"Mexico really has a very different culture and that's refreshing," assures Stevenson, who also lived in touristy La Paz, Baja California, and has fond memories of Tulum in the Caribbean basin. In other words, he has seen the country from coast to coast and now lives on one of its shores.

"We love to travel," he says, and a certain tendency to adventure is something that characterizes the American in Mexico, even for those who describe themselves as not very "daring" or more withdrawn.

One such person is Gabriel Bierwirth, who is originally from a small town in central Texas, hours from Houston, never lived in a big city, but ended up settling in one of the biggest cities in the world: Mexico City.

"I came here for the first time seven years ago and I felt at home," says Bierwirth, for whom the change of scenery made him focus on appreciating nature, his loved ones and getting involved in his community of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), about which he manages social media accounts.

He has practically known all of Mexico and at first did not think of living in the capital, but three years ago he met love in a cartoonist and the pandemic united them under the same roof. It is not the only case in which the peculiarities of Mexico meet one romance that leads to another. Nicki Ortiz, 30, took up residence in Mexico City when she fell in love with the owner of the Airbnb where she first stayed three years ago.

That relationship, for this English instructor with a passion for mural painting, ended about five months ago, but she loves the country because "it has everything, it has this culture from all over the world, combined with pre-Hispanic culture, and that mix fascinates me," she says.

Although he regrets that there are places that "are not well cared for by the government," he maintains his intention to live in Mexico because it is "vibrant, it gives an energy, especially during the holidays," says Ortiz.

All these decisions show that there is an "emotional need" behind them, as expressed by psychologist Adriana Jiménez, based on her experience in international cooperation and also being a Venezuelan migrant in Sweden. She recognizes that most of what moves this type of migrants is "that they always show to be tired of a monotonous life and that is typical of many citizens of developed countries", she assures.

The generality of first-world societies is identified "by rigid schedules, neighbors you don't know and a lot of isolation," says the psychologist, who compares her patients from high-income countries with those from low-income ones.

In the context of Americans, with the possibilities of working remotely and with resources that can be spent in countries with favorable exchange rates to the dollar, possibilities open up for many citizens who prefer to live in more colorful nations with less certainty.

Read the rest at El Tiempo Latino

This article was translated from Spanish using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

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