Sometimes life can get lonely in Latin America.
It’s not uncommon for gringos to get their life set up here drinking their days away and engaging in whatever vice you can think of.
And being very lazy with life in general.
As cost of living is so low with maybe 500 to 1,000 bucks a month being your living expenses…
It’s easy for a gringo down here…
Especially a young gringo…
To basically live a life of meaninglessness down here.
Where he is barely working…
Just enough to get by perhaps.
Or maybe working a little more than that but not by much.
And just spending his days drinking away and trying to sleep with whatever random local of the day that he can.
At some point, you would hope said gringo finds something deeper in life.
Being honest for the moment, this website that you are reading on is a bit of my purpose right now.
It’s more of a hobby to be fair.
But it gives me something I’m excited to work on.
For those who have been following this blog since it started…
You might have noticed that I have written a shit ton of articles in the first year.
Over 300 as of this writing.
The reason why is that I’ve had so much I wanted to say about my experiences down here that I wanted to put them on paper.
And I enjoy it.
At the same time, it would be cool also if maybe I met some folks reading this in person.
As a way to connect with other folks who have a life down here also.
That would be cool too.
Either way, it’s an important aspect of life here that I wanted to bring light to.
Because I don’t see a life of just degeneracy to be the most satisfying for most down here long term.
I’ve tried to handle my own vices at times.
And they don’t necessarily make my life any happier.
For a lot of gringos, as I said, the vices fill in the gaps in life down here.
For various reasons.
Maybe they are bored to hell and don’t have anything else to do.
Maybe they are dealing with trauma from the past and simply engaging in their vices.
But given how boring life can be down here…
And as a way to deal with those vices…
I strongly recommend to most gringos to find a purpose in life while down here
For me, this website is a temporary purpose.
It’s a project.
That’s probably a better way to put it – a project over a purpose.
Of course, that purpose can come in its own ways.
Some few years ago, I remember talking with another guy who spent quite some time in Mexico.
He ultimately left Mexico in the long run.
But while he was here, he discovered his purpose to be self-employed.
He ultimately ran a business that served to distribute fair trade coffee from southern Mexico through the US.
To him, it was what woke him up in the morning.
Gave him something to look forward to every morning.
Something that he can proudly say is his business.
That he was successful running.
For many, a form of employment can give you that meaning to life.
For many others, it doesn’t necessarily if they hate the job they are doing.
Which I feel is relatable for many expats who are doing dumb work online making 1,000 a month at 40 hours a week.
Writing freelance articles on topics they don’t care about or whatever.
For others, like the guy I knew, he turned his work into something he was passionate about.
That he believed in.
For him, it made life down here more enjoyable without the vices.
Giving him that purpose.
And sometimes the work at hand can be other things outside of running a business.
Thinking back on my first few trips to Latin America…
One to Mexico.
One to Guatemala.
One to Nicaragua.
One to Bolivia.
While in Mexico, as you can read here, I met a man named Peter who was running an NGO that was building schools in Chiapas, Mexico for rural indigenous communities.
He strongly believed in his work and had been at it for decades.
Then you have my time in Guatemala that you can read about here.
Where I met a Dutch woman who ran a Dutch-Guatemalan NGO that served to provide education and entertainment to local children in a poor neighbourhood.
She ultimately married a local man in that area and they run that NGO together.
For her, it provides a purpose also.
After that trip, I went to Nicaragua as you can read here.
Where I met a man who was Nicaraguan- American that organized trips to a community in Masaya, Nicaragua to work on projects to benefit the community he worked at.
Given his roots to Nicaragua, he felt a connection to the community and the country as a whole.
And wanted to give back to it through the work he did.
Finally, when I was in Bolivia, I met a British guy named Alex who ran the NGO that I worked for at the time.
He was strongly passionate about the NGO work he did and it drove him to stay in the country from my understanding.
That was his purpose.
The purpose you seek doesn’t have to be running your own business.
It could be working for another business at a job you love.
Or, in the cases above, it could be for an NGO that you are passionate about.
But what if what you are passionate about doesn’t have anything to do with work?
Next, you have folks who simply have a passion for the culture down here.
For Latin America as large.
You might call them “Latin American enthusiasts.”
Granted, I have rarely met or talked with someone like this.
Personally, I don’t have the strongest interest in Latin American culture.
Though, as I wrote here, there are things about certain cultures in Latin America that I am fond of.
Anyway, there is a guy named Vance who runs a website called My Latin Life as you can read here.
Who, from what I can remember, has expressed an interest in the culture and history of this region.
Similarly, I can think of a few people in real life that I have met personally who were like that.
For example, the Nicaraguan-American guy from before.
Though, in his case, it would make more sense as he has roots in the country.
What about other gringos with that deep interest in the culture and history of Latin America?
Who are not Latino?
Because, from my experience back in the US, it was usually other Latinos like that.
Who just had an interest in whatever home country their parents came from.
Down here though in Latin America, I’ve met a few folks like that.
There was one dude who had a deep interest in Bolivia that I met and “Andean culture.”
Similarly, there was another dude who worked for the Peace Corps in Paraguay that I met that you can read about here…
Who had, over my conversation with him, a genuine interest in the country.
Outside of those two, I remember one guy I met in Pachuca, Mexico who was, if I remember right, was Italian.
Who had a genuine interest in Mexico and the culture behind the country.
Outside of that, I haven’t met anyone else like that.
I will say though, such as in my case, that Latin American culture and history does grow on you over the years of living down here.
Or I hope it does!
Well, it has in my case when it comes to Mexico.
And Mexico City in particular as I have grown a deeper interest in the different neighbourhoods and the history behind this amazing city.
To a degree, you can see that as a purpose for why someone might live in Latin America.
That extra thing that motivates them to keep living down here.
That doesn’t involve vices.
But there is one more thing that comes to mind….
Finally, you got folks down here who have families in Latin America.
Do I know any personally?
There’s one German guy I remember who married a Guatemalan woman that happened to be my Spanish teacher when I was living in Xela, Guatemala.
I imagine his love and marriage with her has kept him down here longer than he expected.
But keep in mind that I am fairly young.
I don’t know too many other folks that have stayed down here for love and marriage.
Though, in the back of my head, I feel there must be one or two other folks that I must have met who were in that situation.
Otherwise, the most obvious example I can think of from the internet is a man named Colin from Expat Chronicles as you can read here.
Who married and had a family down here.
Though he did ultimately move back to the US for several reasons.
But when thinking of some of the examples that come to mind…
From real life and from those I have read about on the internet…
I can only imagine that obviously having a family has given others a purpose down here.
Something that I don’t understand personally as I never married or had kids down here.
But I can see how that would equally serve the same purpose of giving said gringos a purpose with their life in Latin America.
And these are just some of the examples that I can think of from work to culture and family.
Again, the examples above are just examples of what could be your purpose you find down here.
I do believe that, especially for younger expats, having that purpose is much needed.
If you are 70 years old and about to kick the bucket in 10 years anyway….
Well, I’m not convinced you necessarily need a purpose to keep at it down here.
But there are plenty of foreigners who live down here in Latin America…
Most who end up going back home eventually.
But for those who wish to keep at it long term until you kick the bucket in 50 years or whatever…
Assuming you make it that far (which most don’t)…..
Then I would argue you need a purpose in life to keep at it.
Otherwise, I feel the vices will eat at you long enough.
And your lifestyle isn’t going to be, for lack of a better word, healthy.
Something to give you more meaning in life down here.
Not necessarily something that makes you excited about Latin America itself.
Though that would definitely help if it gave you excitement about the specific area of Latin America you live in…
But more importantly something that makes you excited to wake up every day.
To look forward to.
That doesn’t involve vices.
For me, that’s writing I feel.
For the moment.
Writing for this website and for other personal websites that I own that I enjoy writing for.
Even though my purpose is nothing more than a hobby in that case as this specific website doesn’t make me any money.
It is still something I enjoy quite a bit.
And, in the future, I will likely find other things that I become passionate about.
As life moves on.
Anyway, that’s all I got to say.
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Thanks for reading.