By Deb Zulawski
Blogger, artist, photographer, global traveler and soon to be expat currently living in the Pacific Northwest
Well, it is decided! After years of dreaming of an expat retirement and searching for the right location by visiting a good number of countries and potential towns, villages and cities in which to live in my retirement years, I have decided on the Lake Chapala area in Mexico, about an hour south of Guadalajara. I am so excited!
The village of Ajijic on Lake Chapala in Jalisco, Mexico has become a favorite among expats from all over the world.
Besides the beauty of Lake Chapala, the colorful buildings and street art all over town certainly add to the appeal.
It became perfectly clear to me when I was on an exploratory visit to Ajijic, a small village on Lake Chapala, with my friend, Pam, a few months back. I stood on the malecon, looked out over the lake, and just knew that this was where I was called to be. It was reminiscent of the time when I knew that I needed to move to the Peruvian Amazon. There is that feeling in your gut. It is an internal calling that was answered. As I stood silent, looking out at the water on the lake reflecting the golden setting sun, I knew this was to be my home.
And then, in that split second, the search was over.
There are a number of villages around Lake Chapala, each with their own character. I will have to get down there to determine which village will be the best fit for me. Will it be the little arts community of Ajijic? Or will it be Jocotepec, a traditional Mexican village on the west end of the lake with less expats and more opportunity to integrate into the local culture? Maybe Chapala or one of the other towns that hug the lakeshore? I don’t know yet. That answer will come with time.
It’s funny. When I was going from one country to another I would look at the architecture, the size of the city, the distance from the U.S., the expat community, the culture, the cost of living. Everything was analyzed. Would it work? Wouldn’t it? Was the altitude too high? Were the locals welcoming? What were the expats that I encountered like? Did they seem inclusive or did they appear cliquish? Too hot? Too rainy? Would it fit my budget?
The questions went on and on. It seemed as if there was always something that I noted in the back of my mind. But not this time. I didn’t need to dissect it. I didn’t need to go through a checklist of wants and needs. I just knew.
Now that I know that one of the villages on Lake Chapala will be my home and the search has come to an end, its time to start planning, getting rid of my stuff and getting prepared!
So much to do! Soon I will be landing in my dream.
Read more about Ajijic on Lake Chapala in Jalisco, Mexico
Are you living in another country as an expat? How did you decide on your location?
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