Saturday, December 24, 2016

Kindle Countdown Year-End DISCOUNT PRICE Starts 12/26 at 99 cents! Details Below:


A Search for Sunshine, Sassy Exercise, Savory Food, and a Simpler Life"

"Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook

     The Kindle Countdown DISCOUNT PRICING for this eBook will only last a few days! The sooner you purchase it, the better price you will receive! Here is how it works:

     December 26, 2016:     99 cents!
   December 28, 2016:         $1.99
   December 29, 2016:         $2.99
   December 31, 2016:         $3.99

     Take a look at the eBook "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" on by clicking HERE .This eBook price will resume at $4.99 on January 2, 2017.

     Don't forget to take a look at my newest eBook "RETIREMENT BEFORE THE AGE OF 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2". Take at look on by clicking HERE
"Retirement Before the Age of 59" eBook


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The eBook, "Retirement Before the Age of 59": Healthy Living in Mexico #2" on Amazon

"Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2"
The eBook is Now Available on!

      My new eBook is now available on Amazon. Click this link to take a "Look Inside":
      It is also available to borrow for free on Kindle Unlimited. 

Here is a brief description of the book. I hope you enjoy it!

     Terry and Jon found a way to escape the rat race, retire early, and to make their money go farther. This story will inspire others to quit their jobs, retire earlier rather than later, and begin living a healthier life, while having more fun and doing what they enjoy. Why wait?
     Making the decision to retire early was the easy part. Deciding where to retire took more travel in their motorhome and lots of thought. The process of selling and giving away their excess possessions so they could begin living a simplified, healthier life was a journey in itself.
     Terry and Jon’s adventures while traveling in their motorhome are enough to entice one to go RV shopping immediately. Their decision to move to México may seem radical to some, but others may soon consider doing the same thing! The story of where they settled in México, and why, will make you wonder how soon you, too, will begin planning a similar escape from the chaos in the world to find your own piece of paradise in the sun.

    Don't forget about the first book in the series, also available on at this link:
Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico:
A Search for Sunshine, Sassy Exercise, Savory Food, and a Simpler Life

Monday, November 7, 2016

After Years of Fun Zumba Classes, I'm Going to Be a Zumba Instructor!

Join The Party! It's Exercise in Disguise!
 I have written my Zumba Mexico blog since January 2014, almost three years! I can hardly believe it! That's when I fell in love with Zumba as "Exercise in Disguise" and came up with the wild idea of traveling around Mexico in our motorhome, attending Zumba classes in each town we visited. My husband, Jon, being the good sport that he is, agreed to this crazy, fun adventure. 
     We met so many great people throughout Mexico, including Zumba Instructors and other Zumba students, as enthusiastic about Zumba as I am. I learned many fun Latin dances, even managing to get my hips to move. That's a real challenge for a gringa!
I Am Proud of my Official Zumba Instructor Certificate!
     I will soon be teaching Zumba classes in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico. There will be no problem with me reaching my 10,000 steps per day now, getting healthier every day in Mexico! Check the website for my class schedule, beginning soon. 
Zumba Classes: Join the Party!
To read more, click the link below:ZUMBA MEXICO! Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico: After Years of Fun Zumba Classes, I'm Going to Be a Zumba Instructor!

Don't forget to check out my eEook on It describes our travels around Mexico and most of the Zumba classes we attended. You can take a look at my eBook "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" by clicking HERE 
"Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

“Winter Blues”, SAD, Clinical Depression, Bi-Polar? Leave the Gray Skies Behind...

...And Go Find Sunshine!

Sunshine at Mar Rosa RV Park, Mazatlan
     “Winter Blues”, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is “a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter”, according to Wikipedia. SAD is an accepted medical diagnosis, with symptoms of depression and anxiety that recur annually, usually during the short, dark winter months. The prevalence increases in more northerly areas with Florida having an incidence of about 2% and Alaska having an incidence of about 10%. A major contributing factor is low sunlight exposure due to dark winter skies, shortened daylight hours, and too much time spent indoors. My conclusion is that living south of Florida may likely decrease the incidence of SAD to near zero.
Preparing to Leave the Gray Skies of Oregon Behind
     To read more, click on this link: Retirement Before the Age of 59: “Winter Blues”, SAD, Clinical Depression, Bi-Polar...: .
     Check out my eBook on "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" by clicking HERE
"Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook on

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Living Simply, Life is Inexpensive & Healthy in Sayulita

A Simple Mexican House & a Comfy Porch Swing: Contentment
     We have found that significantly simplifying our lives and moving to Mexico has increased our personal happiness. We gave up working in the rat race in the United States and life slowed down. We gave up the focus on owning a nicer, newer home every three years, a new high-tech car, our handsome Stickley furniture, and most of our stuff. We sold all but a few necessities and mementos. What a release! What a relief to let it all go! Then we moved to Sayulita, Mexico!
We Don't Need a 4X4 Pick-Up Truck in Sayulita!
     It was time to find out if we could really live off of our meager savings. I retired before the age of 59, before I could collect Social Security or access my IRA funds without having to pay high amounts of taxes and penalties. Jon opted to start drawing Social Security early at the age of 62 at the lowest rate and quit working completely at 65. The economic downturn of 2008 had hit us hard financially. We had sold all of our investment real estate to pay the bills, banked the small amount that was left, and began to look forward to our new life. We envisioned a life in Mexico where life is slow and peaceful, the sun is always shining, flowers are always blooming, the ocean is three blocks away, and we were pretty sure it would be cheaper to live there. We were happily surprised to discover how much cheaper! 

     To read more and see our annual budget, click HERE.       
The eBook is Available on Worldwide

     Take a look at my eBook, "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" available on worldwide by clicking HERE. (Free with kindleunlimited!)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Retirement in San Miguel de Allende? Maybe Jocotepec on Lake Chapala?

Evaluating Two More of Our Favorite Cities in Mexico

La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel in the Background
 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
     For years we traveled around Mexico and never imagined we would consider retiring in San Miguel de Allende. We had the mistaken belief that it had been overrun by foreigners, that the charm of the once small town had been ruined. Some even liken it to Disneyland, just another tourist attraction, painted and enhanced until it is picture-perfect. We wanted to live in real Mexico.
     Then, we visited San Miguel de Allende and fell in love with it like so many North Americans have. Though the town has grown since Tony Cohan described it in his book, “On Mexican Time”, published in 2000, the Spanish colonial architecture of the central town has been well-preserved. The majestic cathedrals, the attractive, colorful centuries-old homes and hotels along narrow cobblestone roads, the beautifully landscaped parks, and the lively festivals are just a few of the things that make this city special. 
     We began to envision ourselves living in San Miguel de Allende. No one was more surprised than we were that we would even think about living in this tourist town. We started listing our “Pros and Cons” of moving to this amazingly gorgeous city.

Here are some of the things we like about San Miguel de Allende:
1.      We are drawn to the Spanish colonial architecture. We could spend hours each day walking down cobblestone roads exploring the town, fascinated with the old world beauty. This city is even more beautiful than Old Town Mazatlán, another of our favorite historic areas in Mexico.
2. Plenty of great restaurants.... To Read more, click on this link: 
Retirement Before the Age of 59: Retirement in San Miguel de Allende? Maybe Jocotepec on Lake Chapala?

Jocotepec, Jalisco on Lake Chapala
Pretty Zócalo in Jocotepec

     Jocotepec is one of three cities along the shores of Lake Chapala that are popular retirement homes for expats from the United States and Canada. The towns of Chapala and Ajijic have a larger percentage of gringos living there than Jocotepec. We chose to stay in Jocotepec when we were living and traveling in our motorhome, simply because it was the only town on the lake with an RV Park. Roca Azul is more than just an RV Park—it is also a sports park with a wonderful swimming pool, a mineral pool, a tennis court, volleyball courts, an event center, 24 hour security, and more. With the nearly perfect weather, the view of the lake and surrounding mountains, walking trails, bird watching, close proximity to downtown, and the friendly people, we could see why there were quite a few expats from the U.S. and Canada who live at Roca Azul year around.

      Jocotepec is a very Mexican town with a pretty Zócalo, a traditional central plaza with an ornate gazebo, benches for social gatherings, and well-maintained landscaping. When we dined at one of the restaurants on the perimeter of the Zócalo, we could watch the activity at the two churches, the couples strolling through, and the children playing. We noticed a few gringos in the plaza, people watching like we were, but most of the people in this town are Mexican. This would be a place to immerse ourselves in Mexican life, learning Spanish more quickly since few residents here speak English.
     Jocotepec is an old city, founded in the year 1529. Most of the buildings in centro (the downtown area) were constructed of adobe and many have been resurfaced with stucco and paint to freshen the appearance. Some buildings have old, peeling plaster and paint, revealing the original adobe brick and mortar underneath, giving the town a somewhat worn look. Jocotepec is not a tourist town so it is less polished than San Miguel de Allende, but just as clean. It was obvious to us that the residents here take pride in their town.

Here are some of the things we like about Jocotepec:
       1.   Jocotepec is a very Mexican town, where the people are friendly and relaxed. It is a small city with a population of about 38,000, so it felt more peaceful with less hustle and bustle of a large city such as Mazatlán. We considered living at Roca Azul in our motorhome or maybe a fifth wheel with a bit more space. The property is large, overlooking Lake Chapala and the mountains, with plenty of sports activities to keep us from getting too lazy.
      2.  The mixture of people who lived at and visited Roca Azul was unique and pleasant, unlike any other place we had lived during our travels in Mexico. Our neighbors were friendly and enjoyable. The park is large and spread out with plenty of elbow room for everyone. To read more click this link:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

WHERE WILL WE RETIRE IN MEXICO? San Pancho? Or La Peñita de Jaltemba, Maybe?

One More Step in Our Decision

     In my last blog post, I evaluated two of the eight towns and cities that we considered for our retirement home. I looked at the "Pros and Cons" for us to retire in San Carlos, Sonora or Mazatlan, Sinoloa. This article is our evaluation of two more of our favorite towns in Mexico, La Peñita de Jaltemba, Nayarit and San Francisco (San Pancho), Nayarit. Would one of these two be the town we would choose to retire in?


Many Good Memories of San Pancho, A Clean, Attractive Town
     San Francisco, Nayarit, nicknamed San Pancho by the locals, is one of our favorite towns in Mexico. After living there in a rented condo for three months one winter, we thought seriously about retiring in San Pancho. Each time we arrive in San Pancho, the taxi driver says, “Ah, tranquillo”. A sense of calm emanates from the community, and we feel tranquility begin to grow within ourselves as we enter San Pancho. When we reach the beach and settle into a chair with a glass of cold lemonade, the rhythmic sound of the gentle waves complete the sensation of “we’re in paradise”. Jon and I look at each other, smiling, and we both say "ahhhh" at the same time.
     We have spent more time in San Pancho than in any other town or city in Mexico. We have gotten to know it well and have made friends there. Maybe that is part of why we return again and again, picturing ourselves purchasing a home in this little pueblo and living there for the rest of our lives. For additional information on San Pancho, see

Here are the things we like about San Pancho:
 1. As the locals say, San Pancho is muy tranquilo, very peaceful and calm.
 2. The town is....

     To read more about how we made our decision on where to retire in Mexico, click: WHERE WILL WE RETIRE IN MEXICO? La Peñita de Jaltemba or San Pancho, Maybe? (In my blog "Retirement Before the Age of 59")

Saturday, April 30, 2016

REAL Mexico: Where the Children Still Know How to Play

You Know You Aren't in GringoLandia When...

This Up-and-Coming Drummer Lives Across the Street
Click on the Video Version Below:
Or View at

     The Riviera Nayarit is promoted to the public as a fun, safe place to vacation. And it is!  But is it more than the pretty, picture-perfect resort areas along the Pacific Ocean.
    The state of Nayarit is also a wonderful place to live. We live in a neighborhood that is largely Mexican nationals, a barrio, with a sprinkling of international folks mixed throughout. This isn't gringolandia, a cluster of homes and businesses where the gringos stick together, often with gates surrounding it. This is a simple barrio, where the local people are friendly, the expats are helpful, and the children still know how to entertain themselves, playing outdoors. When school is out, the kids gather in the streets, using whatever they can find to create games and music. The sound of laughter and friendly shouts are happy sounds in the barrio. 
     Our neighbor boy is practicing for the rock 'n' roll band he is getting together. His drum set is a collection of buckets and cans, each with a different sound, put together in an ingenious manner. When his friends show up, they begin tooting on "horns" made of various lengths of PVC pipe, some playing recorders or whistles. It is so much fun to watch them play! I asked our neighbor if I could take his photo, and he grinned and nodded. When I showed him the playback of the video, he was engrossed in watching every second of it.
     I'm glad the up-and-coming band doesn't have a practice session every day, as their "music" carries well into our yard. But when they do, I smile and think, "This is so much better than if they were sitting indoors playing on an "XBox" or whatever the latest video gadget is that is hypnotizing the kids in our countries".
    At times, the youngsters are in a marble-playing competition that will go on for weeks. The street between our home and theirs was never cobblestoned so the sand and dirt makes a perfect game area for tossing marbles. It appears to be a very competitive and serious game, though the kids are always good natured, even when they lose. Healthy living in Mexico...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Book is ON SALE for Only 99 Cents Through April 29: Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico

A Kindle eBook Countdown Deal!

Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico
Take advantage of this special sale price of only 99 cents at! On April 30th, the price returns to $4.99! Look inside the eBook at: "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico"
My Kindle eBook on

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


How Did We Decide When We Enjoy So Many Places?
Totonaka RV Park Cactus Garden in San Carlos

      Jon and I made one big decision about our retirement during the past year while we lived full-time in our motorhome: We were ready to choose our favorite city in Mexico and settle down. We were tired of driving the motorhome long distances around Mexico. In addition, the cost of gasoline and the wear and tear on the motorhome were cutting into our funds. We needed to narrow our search for our retirement home and choose one, but we had so many favorites in Mexico. Where would we begin?
     We listed our top nine choices for our future home and started discussing the pros and cons of each. We decided to start evaluating the first two cities that we always stop at as we leave Tucson, Arizona and head south along the west side of mainland Mexico, San Carlos and Mazatlán. As we talked about our good memories of each of these towns, we decided to list the “Pros and Cons” of each and we knew that our decision would come clear.

San Carlos, Sonora
     San Carlos is a resort town on the Sea of Cortez, about 265 miles south of Nogales, Arizona. When we drove into Mexico in our motorhome, this was always our first stop, with Totonaka RV Park our destination. Often when we arrived in November, the weather was too cool for us, rarely reaching 70 degrees. When we reached San Carlos just before Christmas in 2014, the weather was perfect! On Christmas day, the sky was blue, the temperature was 75 ° F and the breeze was light. It was my kind of winter day! In November 2015, though the sky was clear blue and sunny, we couldn’t get warm enough, especially when we were sitting on the beach at one of our favorite hangouts, the Soggy Peso Bar. We enjoyed watching the kite-surfers, but the wind coming off the sea was cold. The water was even colder and the surfers had to wear wetsuits to stay warm enough. We had no desire to swim in the water on either side of San Carlos. The small resort town of San Carlos, in the state of Sonora, was always a peaceful, beautiful place to spend our first week in Mexico, but we started to think it was not warm enough for us to choose to retire there.
     To read more, click this link:
Mazatlan Beach on a Quiet Day

Mazatlán, Sinoloa
   We love Mazatlán! We could definitely envision living there for nine to ten months of each year. Is this the city we will ultimately choose as our retirement home?
     Jon and I usually go to Mazatlán once each year and often twice. Each time we visit, we fall in love with this city. But this was not always the case. The first time we were there I disliked our experience so much that I told Jon, “I never want to go back to that place again”. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were only there for one afternoon as a port stop on a Mexican cruise. Cruises really don’t give a fair exposure to cities. That’s part of why we no longer take cruises.
     We found that when we stayed in Mazatlán for at least two weeks in a stretch, we had time to get our fill of relaxing on the beach and people watching and then strike out to explore the real city. That’s when we found out how beautiful the Historic District is, how exceptional the Malecón (the promenade along the ocean) is, how many good restaurants there are, and how much music and entertainment there is to choose from. The Pacific Ocean off Mazatlán is generally warm and mellow enough that we could boogie-board there, but not smooth enough to do Stand Up Paddleboard. The opportunities for exercise are very good. The city has an exceptionally good bus system. Health care is good and inexpensive. We felt safe walking, even at night, in the Golden Zone and usually walked to and from restaurants in that area for dinner. Shopping for groceries and supplies is convenient, whether in the downtown market, neighborhood tiendas, or supermarkets such as Wal-Mart or Mega.
Plaza Machado in Mazatlan's Historic District
     To read more about cities in Mexico that we have traveled to in our search for our retirement home, take a look at my ebook, available on, by clicking this link:  "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook available on
Cover Photo of La Mujer Mazatleca in Mazatlan

Friday, March 25, 2016


An Interview with

Terry L Turrell, Living in Mexico

     I recently received a request for an interview with (For Mexico) about our decision to expatriate to Mexico, i.e. to change our place of primary residency from the United States to Mexico. When I first thought about these interview questions, I realized that each answer could encompass an entire blog article or a complete chapter in one of my books. Some of these topics have been covered with the detailed answer in my book "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" available from . Others will be addressed extensively in my upcoming book "Retirement Before the Age of 59 (Healthy Living in Mexico #2)". But, for now, let me give an abridged answer to questions I am often asked about choosing to move to Mexico and deciding to become an expat.

Who are you, where do you come from, what were you doing before and what are you doing nowadays?
     Before moving to Mexico, I lived in Ashland, Oregon with my husband, Jon, and our long-hair miniature dachshund, Bella. I was a Traveling Pharmacist, covering vacations and days off for other pharmacists during the summer and fall months. When the gray November weather arrived in Ashland, we would load up our motorhome and drive away, headed for six months of sunshine south of the U.S. border. In the past year, we lived full-time in our motorhome, traveling around Mexico, looking for our perfect retirement home. Now that I have retired from pharmacy, I am writing books and blog articles. My first blog was Zumba Mexico and turned out to be more popular than I expected. I currently write two blogs, Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico and Retirement Before the Age of 59 .

Why did you choose to expatriate to Mexico? 
     After fifteen years of spending time during the winter months in Mexico, South America, and Central America, we found we preferred to return to Mexico. The warm climate and sunny skies, the mellow friendly people, the lower cost of living, and the close proximity to Oregon were part of the reasons we began spending six months each year in Mexico. For the past three years, when our Tourist Visa was about to expire and it was time to return to the U.S., we found that we didn't want to leave. We knew it was time to become Mexican residents so that we could stay as long as we desired.
As a US national, what where the procedures you had to follow to move there? 
Two Visits to the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, Arizona 

     The first step in applying for Permanent Residency in Mexico was to go the Mexican Consulate in the United States. We chose to visit the office in Tucson, Arizona as it was convenient while we were driving our motorhome from Mexico to Oregon. The procedure at this office was very organized and relatively quick. Day One: We stopped in to gather information and make an appointment for the next afternoon to apply for Mexican Residency. Day Two: We arrived at 1:00PM with our passport photos we had had taken at Walgreen's, 12 months bank documents for each of us showing we had sufficient funds to support ourselves in Mexico, and Jon's letter from the Social Security Administration documenting his monthly payments. By 3:00PM, our documents had been scanned into their computer system, we had been photographed and fingerprinted digitally, and our Mexican Visas were pasted into the back of our passports. We were told we had 30 days upon returning to Mexico to complete the application process.
     The second step in completing our application for Mexican Residency could have been more complicated according to things we had read. But we were referred to Vilma Habelloecker who works at the Bookstore at Paradise Plaza in Nuevo Vallarta. She provides a wonderful service for a reasonable fee. We called her to make an appointment to meet with her. She printed the letters we needed for the National Institute of Immigration (INM), took our photographs, completed the other necessary paperwork, and walked the entire application through the INM. Two weeks later we met Vilma's representative at INM where we were fingerprinted and we signed our documents. Another two weeks and we returned to INM to receive our official Visas! We highly recommend Vilma's service. Her cell phone is 322-227-1108.

How long have you been in the country?
     My husband, Jon, and I spent our honeymoon in Mismaloya, south of Puerto Vallarta in 1993. We fell in love with Mexico that week and for over 20 years we have spent many winters in various parts, always returning to the Pacific coast. After motorhoming in Mexico for six months each year of the past two years, living in RV parks in our search for our Mexican retirement home, we made the decision to purchase a home and move here. We moved into our casita in Sayulita in November 2015 and plan to live here for the rest of our lives. 
What has attracted you to Sayulita?
Dining Out with Family at Don Pedro's in Sayulita 

     Sayulita attracted us in so many ways, bringing us back year after year. It is impossible to name them all in a short paragraph, so I will try to summarize briefly. Our primary goal was to live on the Pacific coast in a bay area with sunny weather and ocean waves gentle enough to allow us to boogie-board, one of our favorite water sports. Sayulita met all of those criteria. The Sayulita bay is also protected enough that many days the water is perfect for paddle-boarding, another of our favorite pastimes. Watching the experienced surfers handle the larger waves is always good entertainment during the hour before sunset when we relax on the beach.
     We wanted to find a family-friendly town, a place where our children would feel comfortable bringing our grandchildren for visits. The friendly locals in Sayulita welcome gringos into their town, making us feel safe and accepted. 
     A major factor in choosing Sayulita as our home is that it is a small town where we are able to walk everywhere we want to go, whether to the tiendas (Mexican minisuper market) to purchase fresh produce and staples, to the meat or fish markets, to the lavanderia to have our clothes laundered, to Zumba or Yoga classes, to Spanish classes, and to any of the 100 restaurants in town. We enjoy going out for dinner three or four times each week. In Sayulita we have so many excellent restaurants it will take us years to try all of them. Best of all, it is inexpensive to live in Sayulita so we can afford to go out for dinner this often. Another important factor for us is that the bus routes running north and south along the coast and inland to Guadalajara include Sayulita as a stop. We gave up owning a car when we moved to Sayulita, so we are glad we can easily and inexpensively hop on a bus and go to Puerto Vallarta for a day of shopping or a weekend getaway. Plus, there is always something fun happening in Sayulita or nearby San Pancho, including parades and fiestas, surf competitions, wine, margarita, or food festivals, plays and Circo de Los Niños shows, and much more.
Sayulita Bay Sunset

What has surprised you the most at your arrival?
     The first time we arrived in Sayulita, I was so surprised at how friendly the locals were to us. We had arrived in our 29 foot Jamboree motorhome and missed the turn to the Sayulita Trailer Park. We ended up across the bridge into the narrow cobblestone streets of downtown during a high traffic time, towing our Suzuki Samurai, with no way to turn around. Jon hopped out to unhitch the tow car so we could back out of this mess. While cars and trucks backed up behind us, motorcycles and horses wove around us, not a single person honked at us. Everyone waited patiently and calmly. We were the only ones tense and stressed out. In fact, a nice Mexican man approached Jon and told him he could show us a way to get to the trailer park without backing up. He hopped in his car and led Jon, driving the motorhome, to another place to cross the river, but there was no bridge! The man drove his car right through the water flowing over the rocky bottom and up onto a dirt road. I watched from the shore as Jon followed, holding my breath that the motorhome wouldn’t get stuck as it rocked and rolled over the rough riverbed. When Jon reached the dry road safely, the Mexican waved goodbye out the window as he drove away. A nail-biting arrival in Sayulita had just turned into a warm welcome to this friendly village.

 Was it difficult to find accommodation there? What are the types of accommodation which are available there?
     Sayulita is a combination of a tourist town, a retirement community, and an Ejido (a village with land communally owned by the people). There is no shortage of short-term and long-term rentals ranging from bungalows to grand homes. The Sayulita Trailer Park and Bungalows, a nice development on the beach, was our home until we were able to find a casita that fit our needs and our budget. Real estate tends to be expensive compared to many other areas we have visited in Mexico, but the other costs of living here are low enough that we can live very comfortably on our minimal retirement funds.

What are the local labor market's features? Is it easy for an expat to find a job there?
     Expats who settle in Sayulita create their own niche if they choose to work. Since this is a tourist town and a retirement community, there are many opportunities to provide services. I see expats involved in a variety of businesses from wedding planning to craft sales, from tour guiding to restaurant ownership. Artistic folks create and sell their specialties, including jewelry, clothing, paintings, and sculptures. Writers, like me, find Sayulita a peaceful place to settle at the computer and let the imagination run. Sayulita seems to foster creativity.

How do you find the Mexican lifestyle?
     I enjoy the laid-back feel of the Mexican lifestyle. Life moves at a slower pace here and I have found myself settling into this simpler, relaxed manner of living. Also, the custom of “live and let live”, i.e., each person is responsible for himself and for minding his own business, creates a peaceful community. I believe this lifestyle is healthier, both physically and mentally. In fact, when I return to the United States to visit, I find myself overwhelmed by the way everyone there seems to be in such a hurry, both driving and living their lives. It is disruptive to the inner peace that I achieve living in Mexico.
Living in the Barrio Means Co-Existing with the Chickens and Dogs

Have you been able to adapt yourself to the country and to its society?
     Yes, I feel very comfortable living in Mexico. Jon and I chose to live in a small Mexican-style casita, rather than a condo or an American-style house. We wanted to live simply, the way most Mexicans do and we enjoy it. We live in the barrio, the Mexican neighborhood, rather than a gringo development, so that we can experience real Mexico, and our neighbors are a pleasure. The only adjustment has been learning to sleep through the sounds of roosters crowing and dogs barking at any hour of the night, but that is real Mexico and we love it!

What does your every day life look like in Sayulita?
     Our typical day starts with opening all of the doors of our home and letting in the fresh air of our garden and the sounds of the barrio. Then we settle in on the patio or at our desk with a cup of coffee, both areas providing a colorful view of bougainvillea, palm trees, and other tropical plants. Three or four mornings a week we walk a few blocks to attend a 9:00AM Zumba or Yoga class. On our way home, we stop at Don Rudolfo's or another tienda to pick up supplies. Then we cross the street to Carniceria Tranco's for meat and specialty deli items or to the fish market for mahi-mahi or shrimp for dinner.
     The produce truck comes to our corner several times each week, so we buy fresh vegetables and fruit every couple of days. Some days we fix a quesadilla for lunch with left-over rotisserie chicken we bought earlier from the pollo rosticería across town. After I wash the dishes by hand, dry them and put them away, I do some writing or gardening and Jon putters around the house, usually fixing something that needs his handyman skills. Later in the afternoon, we head out for a walk on the beach with Bella, our dachshund, or take our boogie boards the four blocks to the bay to catch a few waves. The sun is warm and the water is refreshing.
Jon Shops for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables from the Produce Truck
     After this kind of busy day, I usually suggest we save the meat we purchased that morning for the next day and go out for dinner. There are so many good restaurants in town, we can’t resist going out several times each week. We stroll downtown, passing tourists from around the world, local vendors selling their wares, and an abundance of pharmacies, stores, and restaurants before we settle on our restaurant choice for the day. After an enjoyable meal and glass of wine, often while being entertained by local musicians, acrobats, and indigenous people performing dance in full costume, we stroll back home along the cobblestone road to our casita. A perfect day.
Jon and I Enjoy Dinner Out at Calypso in Sayulita
Any particular experience in the country you would like to share with us?
     Watching the children play outdoors and listening to their laughter while they play games has been one of our favorite discoveries in Mexico. We watch them gather in front of our house to play marbles in the dirt for hours. They play soccer in the sports field as well as on the beach and in the plaza. An impromptu game of circle volleyball using soccer ball, but no net, can last for an hour and generates good-natured joking and laughing. We are reminded of our own childhood when we played outside with friends for hours until our moms called us in for dinner in the evening. We realized that most Mexicans live a healthy, balanced life, allowing plenty of time in their day to day life for play and for family. We are learning from the Mexicans to let go of our obsession with productivity and work, to spend time every day having fun.
Mexican Children Playing Marbles in the Dirt Street
What is your opinion on the cost of living in Sayulita? Is it easy for an expat to live there?
     Jon and I live on a fairly tight budget, yet we find that we can live in Sayulita for about half of what it would cost us in Oregon, and we still can afford to go out for a nice dinner fairly often. Our utility bills are extremely low. For example, our electricity averages about $35 U.S per month and water is currently $12 U.S. monthly. Because the weather is moderate, we don't need to heat our house and only need air conditioning at night during the warmest months of August, September, and October, so power use is minimal. Our property taxes are very low, less than $100 U.S. per year compared to over $2000 U.S. per year for our small condo in Ashland. We donate $30 per month to ProSayulita, an organization that supplements government funding for trash pick-up, town and beach clean-up, public safety, as well as many other services that make Sayulita a pleasant place to live. We believe it is very affordable and easy for Expats to live in Sayulita.

How do you spend your leisure time? 
     Jon and I spend much of our free time with activities that improve our physical and mental health. We attend Zumba and Yoga classes; we boogie-board and are learning Stand Up Paddleboard. We take walks on the beach as well as through the hills of Sayulita. We enjoy reading books on our Kindles and watching Netflix movies (yes, we have Netflix in Mexico, now!). Sometimes, when we have family in town, we even take advantage of some of the tourist activities available in the area, such as the Chica Locca boat trip to Marietta Island.
Our Family Trip on the Chica Locca Boat to Marietta Island
What are your favorite local dishes?
     Our new favorite dish is Huachinango, Red Snapper, deep-fried whole and seasoned with herbs or garlic and butter. It took me many years of living in Mexico before I agreed to try this dish because it is typically served with the head on and the eye staring up at you while you eat it. I found the appearance very disconcerting, as many gringos do. Not only that, but you are supposed to eat the crispy skin. Once Jon talked me into trying it, I really enjoyed it and am now game for ordering it at various restaurants to experience new ways of seasoning and cooking it. I highly recommend Huachinango, deep-fried or grilled and seasoned with garlic and butter!

What do you like the most about the country?
     That’s an easy one -- the warm, sunny weather. While many people enjoy spending the cooler winter months in Mexico, we find that it is very pleasant in Sayulita from November through July.

What do you miss the most about your home country?
     We miss seeing our family. We visit my mother, our three children, and our four granddaughters during August, September, and October when we return to the United States and occasionally when they come to visit us in Sayulita. When Sayulita’s rainy season begins in August, we look forward to flying to Oregon and traveling around the state in our motorhome to visit our family.
The Rainy Season in Sayulita is Still Warm and Fun!

What has motivated you to write your blog and your book Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico”? How does it help?
     I have been amazed and saddened at the fear of Mexico that has spread in the United States. The media has focused on negativity in reporting about Mexico and has given American people an unfair impression of Mexico, especially in regards to safety. The main reason I decided to write my blog and book “Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico” is to spread the word that Mexico is a wonderful, safe, and healthy place to live and travel. As in any country, including the U.S., travelers must use knowledge and common sense about visiting cities and states with high crime rates. I hope the experiences that I shared in my book about traveling throughout Mexico helps others have a more positive view of this country. I hope my book will help more foreigners, especially Americans, consider Mexico as a place to vacation and maybe even to live.

Would you like to give any advice to soon-to-be expatriates in Mexico?
     I would recommend that before anyone decides to expatriate to Mexico, they live there for at least one year on Tourist Visas (FMT) to be certain that they enjoy it as much as they think they will. In addition, I recommend that they rent furnished living quarters or live in a motorhome for at least a year before they decide to buy a home in Mexico. If they still love Mexico after living there for a year, applying for Permanent Residency allows them to stay as long as they like, not just the 180 day period that a Tourist Visa allows. When we repeatedly found that our 180 day Mexican Tourist Visa was close to expiring and we weren’t ready to return to the United States, we knew it was time to become residents!

What are your plans for the future?
     I plan to publish my second book, “Retirement Before the Age of 59” in the next few months. I will continue to write my blog, “Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico” as I discover more about this wonderful country. Jon and I plan to continue to travel in Mexico, including day trips to nearby Puerto Vallarta and a longer visit to Guadalajara. I am working on my third book which will be my first fiction novel. “Retirement Before the Age of 59” is really about retiring from my career as a pharmacist so that I could be free to pursue my second career, being a writer. For me, the beauty of being a writer is that I can write anywhere, so why not in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico, where it is warm, peaceful, and my office is open to my garden!