Taking advantage of the newfound freedom created by quitting our jobs and moving to Mexico, we’re using this time to make friends, explore, live out our beach life dreams, and figure what the future holds for us.
That future is hazy but we do know its basic shape. Our visions of it take place in a secluded space in the jungle, in a place of our own creation (with professional help, of course). At the same time, the beach is also an important part of this new life -and why we were excited about moving here in the first place. It’s much easier to imagine beach life, especially here and now, but the jungle offers us the opportunity create a real sanctuary from the trials to come.
The days ahead offer much to fear, from climate change to political unrest; even all out war. Totalitarianism is on the rise throughout the world, most especially in the western nations; which is why we moved to an underdeveloped country.
Being extremely sensitive to history’s lessons about colonialism and settler dynamics, the fact remains that an underdeveloped country, like Mexico, offers us the greatest amount of liberty -and opportunity- possible in the world today. Looking at the direction the developed nations of the world are moving quickly towards we developed our resilience strategy based on preemptively exiting mainstream society and leveraging the lower cost-of-living and friendly (what someone from the US might call libertarian) politics of Mexico to make it all possible.
Mexico represents one of the last frontiers of personal liberty, free from constant surveillance, and fighting the good fight against neoliberal globalism. The current administration does not support immunity passports or mandatory health interventions. For these reasons, and many others, Mexico is attracting many people like us; idealistic, ready to invest, and desperate for an alternative to lockdown life. So many, in fact, that I expect to see a sort of real estate boom heating things up in the country; especially here in the Yucatàn. This puts pressure on us to stake a claim, especially if we want to secure any significant amount of land.
But there’s what we know…and what we think we know. Making decisions in this sort of liminal state is challenging at best, and at worst it’s dangerously fraught. Which leaves us in a pseudo-permanent tension for the foreseeable future…there’s much to consider and several viable-sounding paths we might take.
The issue isn’t finding affordable jungle land, it’s knowing how to properly care for it. We could buy the land and start building immediately but that would require renting for a while and then committing to a fairly significant project before even settling into our new life.
We could purchase land and and affordable home in a small community on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen (like Mayakoba, or Balam Tun), or a small town like Puerto Morelos or Puerto Aventuras; living there while we learn the local ecosystem and build our network.
We could also simply rent for awhile and continue to get to know the area.
All these options are valid scenarios but I suspect the spirits guiding our steps will insist on the first and most challenging path. More, I suspect that the (very good) reason for this is that this course of action moves us towards resiliency and a custodial land relations at a quicker pace.
Still, we can’t ignore the fact that the beach is what brought us here. It’s many joys include contemplative walks, respite from the heat, sipping cocktails watching the tide roll in, and secluded spots where one can sneak in a little magic after the sun goes down. We spent many months visualizing this life to make it manifest and those sessions usually involved picturing ourselves meditating on windy beaches with the moon lighting up the dark blue waters of Caribbean nights.
Beach life is carefree and unfettered. It’s a quick stroll to the beach first thing in the morning. Sunrises and sunsets spent with sand between our toes. It’s breathing salty air and feeling energized by the sun. It’s live music at our favorite beach club and wearing sandals all the time. It’s spontaneous fun and stress-free socializing.
Beach-life prioritizes immediate gratification and helps us create distance from the insanity of the external world. Its qualities are well known to us; especially when compared to the jungle life we dream about, but don’t fully understand.
Most consternating of all, the jungle life we dream of is intrinsically tied to a place –a place we’re still trying to find. A place with the untapped potential to support us in all of these important ways:
A home needs to feel safe, obviously, but it also needs to be a place where we can weather the coming storm…however intense it turns out to be. At the very least it needs to be a place where we can spend a few months at a time in lockdown. In the worst scenarios, it needs to be a place where we can be nearly self-sufficient -and stocked up for long periods at a time.
Sanctuary also represents a place that is nourishing to the mind and spirit as well as the body. I survived the first lockdown by throwing myself into creating a resiliency garden. It occupied my time and nourished and inspired me. In turn I gave it love and helped it to thrive.
The jungle is an evolution of this intimate affair; this Venusian enterprise. A love of nature, and of growing things, and enabling their flourishing is now a part of me. Sanctuary must be a place where this isn’t just a project -it’s my purpose.
Both of Sarah and I have worked hard to be here; in our lives leading up to now, and in the past two years planning this adventure. We’ve done a lot of work spiritually, as well, building relationships with deities and spirits to discover and support this path we’re on. In that time we’ve come to understand the importance of joy as a driving force in our lives. The pursuit of joy drives us to accomplish the important things in our lives -and living in flow with the universe provides a constant stream of opportunities to find or create joy.
Our future home needs to facilitate this joy-creation process. It can’t just be all work and commitment. It can’t be only about resiliency. It needs to put us within close range of the beach, and the beach-life, that made us want to move here in the first place -while still supporting our resiliency strategy.
One of the best parts about living in the tropics is the gorgeous weather that allows you to spend most of your time outside. While writing this we’re actually in the hottest and most unbearable time of the year but aside from three extremely hot (and humid) months, the temperatures here are glorious.
We want to spend lots of time outside. More than we can right now and more than we ever did in Dallas. There was always something in the way and we don’t want that life any more. Not having to work right now is a blessing. Saving our money so that we don’t have to work again, we can build and invest instead…this is very important. How much land we buy and house we build now will determine how much of our nest egg we have left to live on afterwards.
Time building local relationships
Whatever property we buy is only going to allow us to be partially self-sufficient. We don’t plan on owning cows and pigs, just chickens and goats, and a significant portion of our diet is red meat, fish, etc. Growing our own vegetables is great and goat milk and fresh eggs is wonderful but we don’t know how to make our own cheese or distill our own rum -so we’ll never be entirely self-sufficient.
We can contribute to our food resiliency and buy ourselves some time if there are shortages but beyond that we need to have a network of local providers we can rely on when supply chains are disrupted and grocery stores aren’t reliable.
We also need a group of like-minded individuals that are willing to share knowledge and resources and to support one another during tough times. We need friends and community and the space and time to nurture these relationships.
Time spent in ritual
One of the reasons we embarked on this adventure in the first place was to be able to live enchanted lives -and to live them out loud. Not to have to hide who we are; packing away altars any time our friends come over. We want dedicated ritual space again. We want to spend more time doing magic and deepen our spiritual practice.
Magic got us this far, and we recognize this, but it’s very difficult to make space for a thriving magical practice in a month-to-month Airbnb. It’s difficult to manage a robust daily practice when you’re jetting about running errands, looking for property, and re-learning how to navigate every aspect of life over again.
We want to sit out under the stars with no city lights to haze the sky, build circles, make fires, and surround ourselves with lush and abundant life –and do magic.
Of course resilience is important. These days it’s almost all I can think about, while I watch one half of the world lose its collective mind, and the other half panic and flee. Staggering amounts of the world’s surface area are engulfed within raging forest fires. Methane gas seeps from the ice caps and energy, water, and other resources stretch thinner by rapidly growing populations. Economic disaster looms self-evident and large on the horizon…
We need a garden (a big one), obviously, and habitats for small farm animals. We need our own water supply. We need work and storage space. We need leisure and entertainment space. A pool to stay cool in the heat. Outdoor and indoor kitchens. Parking enough for a crowd. Security walls and fencing. Maintenance path ways…and so on.
The home we create has a lot of roles to fill and needs to meet. It needs to be big, but not too big. It needs to be near a community of reasonable size and resources -but not too close. It needs to be within a quick drive to the beach, but not so close we get the worst of the weather, tourists, and government intrusion.
Inspires others to escape
Part of our journey, and my purpose, is to A) prove that Mexico is a great place for US and Canadian citizens to escape and build intentional communities, and B) to inspire people to do so. I can think of no better way to achieve this goal than to live it, document it on my blogs (the magic here and the mundane here), and then be a resource to the others that will inevitably follow behind us as the situation devolves in North America.
Our little slice of jungle paradise is the canvas on which this grand vision will be painted. It’s where we build a life that’s enviable, and yet clearly attainable. It’s the content that feeds this blog and my other projects. It’s the source of a flood of photos, videos, and inspired writings that (hopefully) feed the desires of the folks who read it and trigger them (you) into bold action.
Supports a regenerative lifestyle
Perhaps most important of all, the home we create must support the regenerative life we want to lead. That means capturing rain, filtering grey water, cooling the home with greenery on the roof, building shaded gardens under a small orchard of fruit trees, and using chickens to scratch fertilizer into the soil. A home doesn’t do all these things (or make them possible) without special planning and construction.
Resiliency and regenerative systems go hand in hand. But it’s more of a lifestyle than a set of amenities. Solar panels are accessories but green roofs must be tended –and nurtured. A home -a sanctuary- that supports a regenerative lifestyle isn’t just built, it grows alongside its human occupants over time with a great deal of love and effort.
We have much to learn before we can make this part of our dream a reality. Much to read, learn from others, to practice, to fail at, and to perfect over time. Nothing regenerative comes easily or without investing time into it. Most of all we need space. Space and custom, eco-friendly construction. As we begin to look at building our perfect home, these considerations will no longer be theoretical and we’ll need a good handle on exactly what we need and the right way to build it.
The best of both worlds…
Beach life is what made us want to move here in the first place. Jungle life lies ahead of us in vague dreams of the future. Both are a part of what we want and who we are. Striking a balance between the two is a question of location and distance, of course, but more it is a matter of priority -what matters most and what affords us the most opportunity for joy.
Letting joy guide our steps, fill our dreams, and drive our passions -joy within the constraints of purpose and possibility- this is how we navigate from one horizon to the next when so much of the future is still unknown. Finding the best of both worlds means striking a balance between the near-term and the long-term; and between passion and purpose.
Spirits, and tenacity got us this far. We still have a long way to go but I have no doubt that the passions that drive us, and the prayers we offer to make them manifest, will (miraculously, magically) yield us both the beach life we deserve and the jungle life we need.
But patience has never been our strong suit, so for now we search, we study, and we try to keep our spirits high.