Traveling in Mexico During The Covid Pandemic
July 5th, 2020: The Journey Begins
We (me, my girlfriend, two dogs, and cat) are traveling within Mexico for an extended period. It may seem crazy to be traveling during COVID. But social distancing is actually quite easy when renting a place on Airbnb or Booking.com. And for the moment, we are not going far. We recently moved out of our house in Merida and still have some things to take care of here before we leave.
So we are hitting the road. We are about to end a 7-day stay here in Merida. And on Monday, the 12th. we head to a small town called Sinanché which is about 61 km (38 miles) away and has a population of about 4000. My girlfriend and I travel with two dogs, a cat and all the equipment necessary to create Feldenkrais-based sessions.
Deep Work While Traveling
July 12th, 2020: I have brought a dozen (or so) books with me as I travel Mexico The first one that I want to mention is "Deep Work*" by Cal Newport. This is the most important book that I have read in the last decade. It has led me to cut way back on internet time, restart my meditation practice, and have more time to create Feldenkrais sessions. Highly recommended.
Welcome to Atlixco, Puebla
After a week in Merida, and two weeks out in the jungle, we have now safely arrived in Atlixco, a pueblo about 25 minutes outside the city of Puebla. Apart from having to sanitize my hands and car at every toll road (there are tons of toll roads called "cuotas" in Mexico) the trip was relatively easy and uneventful. One of the benefits of traveling now during "the pandemic" is that there is much less traffic on the road. And there are fewer police and military checkpoints. This is the first cross-country Mexico trip that I have taken where we did not get stopped and searched. The police, it seems are afraid of COVID as well. I sure as hell don't blame them.
I am sharing the cost of a beautiful 5-bedroom house in the country with a nice big pool, a sauna, and plenty of space for my two dogs and cat. And of course, plenty of space for my girlfriend's extended family and her two dogs. The cost of the place in dollars is about $1500, a price that I find amazingly low. We will be here for a month. And next? I think we will be staying near Puebla.
I am still recording the weekly Feldenkrais session for my Easy Feldenkrais membership site.
How do I record on the road?
It is simple...I do it in the back seat of my Jeep Cherokee. I have a new iPhone SE connected to my Apogee iMic (nearly 8 years old now and still rocking). And I put the mic on one of the "gorilla tripods" hanging over the back seat. I will share a video or photo in a future blog post.
That's all for now. Peace!
*There are Amazon affiliate links on this page. If you click the link to the book and buy it or another product, Amazon will send me an "advertising fee." As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It does not affect how much you pay.
August, 2020: Huejotzingo, Puebla
Since my last update nearly 2 months ago, we have spent several weeks in Huejotzingo about 20 miles outside Puebla.
Beyond the field, you can see the white buildings of our privada. It looks a bit like a prison, does it not?
We stayed in this tiny little house for free for about month. All that we had to do was pay about $1500 pesos to pay for a canister of gas so that we could cook. I was very relaxed and happy there.
Truth be told, there was a "family abduction" in my extended family and things have been rather crazy and tense. A five-year-old child was taken by one of her estranged parents during an overnight visit. It was and is (two years later) one of the saddest and strangest situations that I have been through.
Child custody situations can be very difficult to deal with in the best of times and with a sane and predictable legal system. But add in the pandemic, Mexican lawlessness and corruption, and bad faith from many actors, it quickly spins out of control. I have mainly been involved as the supportive partner, but the constant emotional upheavals have been draining.
But I have continued to work and be productive. I am thankful to have an online and "portable" business so that I can move and support my girlfriend and family as needed.
November 2nd, 2020. Querétaro.
Writing from El Doce, one of my favorite pet-friendly AirBnbs where I have been living through Airbnb since September, 25th.
Last Travel Update for this post: We are "home."
We left Queretaro back on December 24th of 2020. The main reason is that Mexico City was going into total lockdown and the Hotel/Airbnb that we were staying in was filling up. We came back to Merida and after several months of staying with relatives and in AirBnb's we decided to rent a place in the suburbs: Gran Sante Fe in Cuidad Caucel. We will be here for 6 to 12 months until we decide what is next. Peace!
Update: February 10th, 2023: We are still here after two years! Though, I am leaving in about 6 days. More to come in a future post.
Shall I continue being a Digital Nomad
Next year in Dubai? France? China? I have been looking at the various work-visas available for "Digital Nomads" such as myself. Dubai has an interesting program that grants a 1-year visa and there are many visa opportunities in Europe. There are not too many in South East Asia. I will not say much more about it until (and unless) I decide to take action. One issue for me as I explore visas is to go to a country with no quarantine for pets. Dubai has no quarantine. Peace.
I have been doing a great deal of thinking as to where I want to go next. I have been looking for what countries offer a "digital nomad" visa for self-employed people such as myself. I was fascinated to see that Dubai has a great program. If you can prove 5k in income for the past 3-months you can get a 1-year visa. The Spanish visa looks a bit complicated, but still possible. The Estonian Visa looks very simple and easy to get. You simply need to be a freelancer or someone with a company outside of Estonia with a monthly income of €3504 that is about $4300 U.S.
The Mexican visa is fairly straight forward, you just have to prove about $1600 in monthly income. But, hey! I am already here and I have permanent residence and I am even eligible to become a nationalized citizen.
If you want to get a list of some countries that have specific visas for digital nomads check out: The Best Countries With Long Term Visas for Digital Nomads