I met Bronwyn within a year of moving to Toronto over a decade ago. At the time she had recently returned from living in Korea. As long as I’ve known Bronwyn, she’s remained untamed which qualifies her as a perfect candidate for an MBSB interview.
What made you choose the expat life?
I’m not sure I chose this life or it chose me yet. I do know that life “back home” did not fit with my philosophy of how I wanted to live.
Why Tulum, Mexico?
I was planning a cross country move when I made a brief yet life changing visit to the Mayan riviera. I sat there looking at the sea and it dawned on me that although Vancouver had water and a natural beauty I was wanting in my life…the sea and the playa in Tulum were far nicer and warmer with sunshine all the time. There was the undeniable. In this case Tulum picked me.
Please fill us in on an average day for you in Tulum.
Days are very tranquil here. If it’s a work day, it’s not much different than a work day back home except for the 4 km bike ride to the beach and the only traffic on the path are butterflies and iguanas. On a non-work day and this means no house cleaning, no laundry (which is a job in and of itself at times), I am usually found at the beach for part of the day or visiting one of the many cenotes around Tulum or just relaxing with friends. There is no plan as that set one up for disappointment and doesn’t allow for the randomness of life to work its magic….good Lord I sound like a hippie 😉
Ha! What adjustments did you have to make moving to Mexico?
First and foremost would be the climate and the language. Not sure you can adjust to the climate but it does hit you like a wall and takes some getting used to. In summer one just accepts the fact that sweat is a part of your daily outfit.
What is the status of foreigners in Mexico?
I’m unclear as to the meaning of this question but there are several types of “foreigners or expats” here:
- Retired folks that own homes and live here part of the year
- Folks from all over the world…mostly Europeans, Americans and Canadians who have moved here and started a business
- Folks that wanted a new way of living out of the “rat race”. A simple existence where work is not the main meal of the day. These people, of which I am one of, work in various fields from spa-type therapist, to service providers like child care to tour/dive guides and the like.
“I smile more,
and live more.”
And of women? Additionally, how do you feel foreign women fit into the culture?
It’s a Latin culture on the Mayan riviera…women are second class in many ways and many jobs are still unattainable. Many local women do not work at all. Foreign women I find, are of a different elk even from the counterparts “back home”, thus are able to adjust or at very least accept the ways of the land and laugh it off.
In no way have I felt fear for my safety nor have I felt repressed by men or the culture here.
Many local ladies do not work but there has been a change in the last couple years and I am now seeing lady taxi drivers…the one industry that is very male oriented here.
Please give as an idea of the range of costs for monthly expenditures including rent, internet, food and other general expenses.
People rent rooms, small one bedroom houses or massive homes. Rooms can be as low as $120, a house $250 to $450 and massive luxury homes up to $1000 a month. Internet is approximately $35 and includes cable, tv, phone. Most do not have landlines and at the beach there is none at all. We all have cell phones and it’s pay as you go, so all depending on your usage really, but I spend less than $20 every 4 to 6 weeks. Food is surprisingly expensive but I think this is due more to the fact that this is a tourist town. It is comparable to city prices. Sadly, transportation on a truck can be filled up for $40 to $60 but many folks ride bicycles, scooters or motor bikes for ease as much as cost. Taxis in town cost $2 to the beach from town, $4.50 during the day and up to $9 dollars at night. Colectivos (local transport from tulum to Playa Del Carm and in big cities is more like public transport but in vans) cost from Tulum to Playa Del Carm – an hour trip costs $3.50.
Are there opportunities for expats to work in Tulum?
Yes. Tulum is a very small town but growing at light speed. Work options vary depending on your skills and bank roll. As in any growing economy there are just as many options for employment, many expats come and open a business. Hotels, bars, restaurants, to services….if you have the imagination you make what you want.
What’s your favourite aspect of living the expat life?
Not sure if I relate to the idea of being an expat but I certainly relate to “Tulum living”. I have lived and worked in other countries where life was very different and I never felt it was my home. Here I feel I am at home. Topping my list of best aspects – lack of daily stress and drama. I smile more, laugh more and live more. My life motto being “work less…LIVE more” and the fact that I rarely know what day of the week it is. I no longer live/work, think “I cannot wait until Friday”.
Everyday is the weekend here.