“Note: This article was sent to me back in 2016 and was first published on my old blog, however, with everything that is currently going on at the southern border and all of the back and forth in Washington DC about building a wall I thought it would be interesting to repost this article again… M.D. Creekmore.”
In the early 1990s, we took our homeschooled children and headed to the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Things looked bad for the USA at the time. We worried about an economic collapse, failing schools, dangerous cities and the eroding values of our society. So, we bought a 23-acre farm just a few miles from the headwaters of a spring-fed river and began our homesteading life, planning to become as self-sufficient as possible.
We raised our own vegetables, berries, and fruit. We had chickens for eggs and chickens to eat and 4 dairy goats for milk. Our 100 ft. deep well supplied the clearest, best-tasting water you can imagine.
Our neighbors were self-sufficient long before we arrived and together we bought grass-fed beef and organically raised hogs, sent them to the local butcher shop for slaughter, then gathered in our neighbor’s basement where they set up stainless steel tables, electric saws, and meat grinders and we processed the meat and readied the hams and bacon for curing.
Later, we smoked the hams and bacon with apple wood, passed through a long pipe into 50-gallon barrels we turned into smokers. At the end of the day, we ate chili and drank homemade elderberry wine and played music with our friends.
It was a great life – the best. We acquired practical homesteading and survival skills. The children grew up, got married and left for jobs in the city and we found ourselves alone, managing a large operation by ourselves. Exhausted, we reluctantly sold the homestead.
Fast forward a few years and things look much worse for the USA than I had ever imagined. We have a government that actively works against the very people who put them in power. Taxes are so high that ‘we the people’ are enslaved to the government for life.
Our leaders believe that laws are for the little people, not for them, and they enrich themselves while using the law to harass and persecute their political enemies. There seems to be no escape. Maybe the answer is to leave the USA.
Three years ago we decided to visit Mexico and several other Latin American countries that we had heard welcomed expatriates. We wanted a life that was free from government interference and oppression, but that allowed us to practice some of our homesteading skills.
Our first stop was Jalisco, Mexico, where people from north of the border are encouraged to settle and where there is an existing infrastructure that supports expats. We had planned to stay only a short time, but we ended up staying for three years, so far. Here are just a few reasons why life in Mexico appeals to us and may appeal to you:
Lower cost of living
Everyday life is a lot cheaper in Mexico. Our electric bill arrives bi-monthly and comes to about $10. You read that right. We use propane to cook and heat the water. Electricity runs fans in the summer, refrigerator, washing machine, and a water pump.
We shop in the local markets where the food is fresh and cheap. I can buy 2 kilos of tomatoes (4 ½ pounds) for 15 pesos, about $.80. Public transportation is efficient and runs often, taking you from the village, forty miles into the city of Guadalajara for about $3.00. You don’t need a car to get around in Mexico. Because so few of the local people have vehicles, the towns are compact and walkable. We live on $1700/month and figure we could easily cut that cost by $500/month.
High quality medical and dental care
If you become a permanent resident, you are eligible for the state-run medical program for about $300/year, or you can pay for the reasonable doctors’ visits out of pocket. Dental services cost about 25% of the cost of similar services in the USA and the quality of care is equal to, or superior, to what you can find north of the border.
Year-round growing season and rich soil
We live in the area known as the volcanic axis so the soil is rich. This is an agricultural area that produces every type of vegetable. Major growers like Dole and Driskoll’s have established large farms here, producing raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries for export.
You can buy the berries at a fraction of the cost you pay in the supermarket in the USA. Because of the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit, you will eat healthier in Mexico than you ever did in the USA.
We drink coffee a local vendor brings from Vera Cruz and then grinds to order from the back of his truck. At home, we grow an abundance of herbs and vegetables in our container garden and have fresh lettuce, basil, and spinach for salads year-round.
An environment that welcomes self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship
If you become a permanent resident, you may work in Mexico or start a business. There are many expatriates from all over the world who have opened restaurants or created businesses to meet the needs of expatriates, or who sell services that cater to tourists. Some home gardeners sell their organic produce or at home-prepared foods and cheeses, honey, from beehives and health-related products at one of several markets in the area.
Better quality of life
Living in Mexico changes the way you look at life. The people are less materialistic and pretty soon that attitude rubs off on you. You worry less, spend more time over lunch, in conversation with family and friends instead of staring at a cellphone.
You will build relationships with like-minded people who have also decided to escape from the oppressive, constantly monitored rat race that has become our lot in the USA. Is it safe? When we first arrived I asked the same question and a man who had lived here for two decades advised us not to start a brothel or become engaged in the drug trade and we would be fine.
After three years of living in Mexico, I have found his advice to be true. We have never had a problem with our neighbors, who have been kind and welcoming.
I am proposing a different way of achieving a more self-sufficient and freer lifestyle, especially for those who do not have the ability or desire to live on a remote homestead. I know from experience that it is a hard life for those who do not have children to help, or who are older and no longer have the physical stamina to begin homesteading. Your survival skills can still be put to use in a life that is easier, less stressful.
We have friends who have acquired every piece of survival equipment available. They have stockpiled non-GMO seeds and freeze-dried foods, canning equipment and canning jars, and a large library of books about every topic regarding self-sufficiency and survival.
Yet, they have never planted a seed, never killed a chicken to eat, never canned tomatoes or made a jar of jelly. They have the stuff to survive, but not the skills or experience to live the life if it becomes necessary.
The truth is that not all of us are capable of beginning from scratch to build a self-sufficient homestead. Either we don’t have the money or the skills, the physical strength or help from younger, stronger family members.
One way to survive – and even thrive – is to move to a place that makes it easy to live a better life, one that requires less money while providing some distance between you and the mess that has become the USA. Who knows? Your place in Mexico may even become the refuge for loved ones when times get difficult.