A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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March 25, 2005 — We’re not connected with any university, so I am calling our planned sabbatical a “sort-of” one. We’re just doing it ourselves.

Basically, we’ve recently decided to spend about a year away from our home in Crestone, Colorado, starting several months from now. We intend to spend most of that time living in Mexico, though family visits and some other adventures call too. We’re in the process of fixing up the inexpensive little house we rented here in Bernal, Mexico, and it will be our base in Mexico. Being near the center of the country, it’s good for travel in any direction.

It’s not a simple thing to uproot yourself, if only for a while. A key to making it work has been the arrangements we’ve been making by email lately with some friends who own land in Crestone and will be putting their home in Illinois up for sale this spring. Once it sells (and houses in their area tend to sell pretty fast), they will rent our house in Crestone and take care of our dog and our two cats. Their business will contract with our business to fill orders, etc., while we roam.

We face the daunting task of cleaning most of our stuff out of the house before they come. We will continue to use our garage, which has a large storage area and Kelly’s office. We’ll live in our motorhome in Crestone for a while once they arrive, to train them in our business. Then our year-or-so sabbatical will begin, again in Cando. We’re all working on going with the flow so far as timing. Kelly and I were planning to be home at the end of May, but may return a bit sooner. How long it will take our friends to arrive, and how long it will take us to train them, are wild cards.

You may be wondering how we can afford to do this, since we aren’t rich or retired, nor are we getting a sabbatical salary from a rich university. Well, our computers will be with us, and we will keep working on our websites and related projects, though likely at a more leisurely pace. Long ago, we read a book that turned out to have a tremendous influence on our work lives. The Incredible Secret Money Machine advocated creating products that you could sell — not one-of-a-kind things that you have to keep making, but things that you could duplicate. Kelly and I have been doing this for over 20 years, mainly with books and videos. The idea is that they keep making money for you, once you set up your distribution and marketing systems, while you are on to your next projects. You sell to a wide variety of customers, so you are not dependent on any one customer to keep groceries on your table.

As a former librarian, I often recommend books, but actually I think I have just distilled the essence of this one. It was written long before the internet. We used wholesalers and went to trade shows in earlier years, but now most of our product sales are to retail customers who find our websites online (there’s a list at our site www.hartworks.com, if you’re curious). I highly recommend this Secret Money Machine strategy, or some variations on it. Nowadays, Kelly does some consulting, and we both do some internet affiliate marketing of other people’s products as well.

Why a Sabbatical?

We’ve done something like this more than once before. Last time was about nine years ago. These times have been among the most interesting and satisfying in our lives, and in some cases they set us off in new directions. Kelly’s involvement in sustainable architecture dates from that last trip. Last night I dreamt that I finished writing a book that I began on that trip, Meetings with Doña Refugio: The Inner Journeys of a Woman and Her Dogs.

Why live in Mexico?

It’s got a great climate. People are very warm and friendly. Its culture is fascinating, rich, and complex. Living in a village where we can walk to everything fulfills a dream I have had ever since I lived in a village in Spain in the 1960s. Living in Mexico is less expensive than living in the US. We’re enjoying a break from the present intensity of politics and life in the US, but appreciate the closeness to home. We are generally enjoying the challenge of improving our Spanish. There are probably a dozen more reasons. We’ll find out!

2 Responses to “Living in Mexico for a Sort-of Sabbatical”

  • Agnieszka Bajan says:

    Hi, we are doing it right now. We left upstate NY in July 2011 and drove down to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico to spend some quality months. We are loving it!!!!What is not to love, nice people, sun every day, great cuisine. Please check out our blog to read about our experience so far!
    wanderlust.bajan.pl

  • Rosana says:

    Have a great time.

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