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From Vancouver to Cancun: Ashlie's Cancun Blog and Other Stuff
26 May, 2011 10:21
I am a proud Vancouverite from Canada that has been living “la vida loca” in Cancun, Mexico since 1995. I speak Spanish fluently and I am married to a Mexicano. I love experiencing new things from travelling afar to just a few kilometres away to checking out the latest restaurants/clubs etc. - I am there!
Adventure-seeker should have been my middle name. I am a foodie, amateur photographer and wannabe writer. I am the administrator of 3 websites www.ranchseeker.com and www.yogiseeker.com and www.spaseeker.com (we are almost ready to launch!) and an aspiring Social Media Marketing guru
I am fortunate to have great friends and a great family both in Cancun and Vancouver.
Last but not least I have 2 very different cats that keep me laughing and on my toes.
1. Why did you move abroad?
Many people over the years have asked me “how the heck did you end up living in Cancun?” I always respond “I went on vacation and never left” which isn’t exactly true but seemed like an easy, quick way to answer people’s questions without having to go into too much detail. I did end up in Cancun on vacation about 17 years ago and then at the end of my stay I went back to Vancouver but when I arrived I quickly realized that I had left something behind… a part of me. I eventually decided to go back but this time for a longer period. I stayed for little less than a year hoping to satisfy my Cancun itch; however, after about a year when I was back in Vancouver I realized that my itch just couldn’t be scratched away that easily. So I made the very difficult and frightening decision, much to my parent’s dismay, to move to Cancun! I sold most of my belongings and packed up the rest including my cat Missy and we set off to our new home leaving behind everything that was familiar to me and safe.
2. How do you make a living?
When I first arrived I owned a small café which I eventually sold and then I tried my hand at running a small restaurant which I also sold after a few years. I then wanted to try something different and after much persuasion by a good friend I entered the world of time share. After several years and a lot of sales I realized that time share just wasn’t something that I wanted to do forever so I started looking for something new to sink my teeth into so to speak. I was very fortunate that at that time my Father was looking for someone to take over a pet project of his that involved administrating a website and sales. Now several years later I am in charge of several sites and I have become very involved in social media marketing. I am extremely fortunate that I can work from home and I have the freedom to travel when money and time allows me.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
When I first moved to Cancun because of the nature of my businesses I wasn’t able to get home very often but now I try to get home at least 2-3 times per year. My Mom several years ago bought a place here so that she could spend her winters away from Vancouver’s dreary rainy season so I get to spend a fair amount of time with her each year. I communicate with my Dad several times a week via msn chat and email. I use Skype and msn to keep in contact with my friends and of course Facebook plays a big role in keeping me up to date with everyone.
4. What's your favourite thing about being an expat in Mexico?
I love how warm and friendly the Mexican people are and their culture. I also love living in a warm climate all year round.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Mexico?
I find dealing with immigration and anything that involves paperwork here very time consuming and frustrating. I also find it hard to deal with people’s constant tardiness and “mañana, mañana” (tomorrow, tomorrow) mentality even after 16 years.
6. What do you miss most?
I miss my family and friends, the mountains, and Vancouver’s cultural diversity and great ethnic food. I also miss how easy it was to get together with friends as work schedules were mostly 9-5 Monday through Friday; whereas, here people’s schedules are all over the place and they have less free time.
7. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
I find it strange that people can never give you a straight answer and will often accept a social invitation even though they never have the intention of going just to avoid saying no. Also, Mexican people are very inquisitive and will ask you very personal questions even if they have just met you.
8. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That Mexicans are lazy and speak "Mexican". This misconception of Mexico really makes me mad. Mexicans are hardworking people who work long hours often in unsafe conditions for very little money and in many places in extreme heat. Also Mexicans speak Spanish!
9. What advice would you give other expats?
Learn the language and make friends with the locals. Don’t disappear into expat communities, you will get far more out of your adopted home. Also, you can’t change the customs of a country so instead of getting frustrated learn them and adapt. Life will be much easier.
10. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in 2009 as a complement to my social media marketing training but it turned into an enjoyable creative outlet. It allows me to take time out and be alone with my thoughts for a while every week. I also hope that my blog will help dispel the ever growing fear that Mexico is unsafe for tourists that has resulted from irresponsible journalism and what seems like a vendetta against Mexico.
I have met new people who are local bloggers like me and also made new contacts with people who have contacted me via my blog about what to do and where to eat in Cancun while on vacation. Also, as I mentioned above it has turned into an enjoyable creative outlet for me.
Ashlie's blog, Ashlie's Cancun Blog and Other Stuff
Find out more about being an expat in Mexico with Easy Expat's
Mexico City Guide
Great interview, Ashlie! I agree with all your observations :) (especially question number 7!)