A few odd years ago, I was visiting my parents again back in Iowa for a week or two in the summer.
It was most likely around July time since that’s usually when I head back around that time of year.
Anyway, I’m inside my dad’s truck as we are sitting in some parking lot waiting for our ice cream to be taken to us in front of a Dairy Queen.
And, like usual, he wanted to express his concerns obviously about my decision to live abroad in Latin America.
A concern that anyone who decides to live abroad will likely encounter as friends and family back home think you’ve gone badshit insane.
“Who would dare live in a shithole like Mexico?!?” is part of the thinking.
But there’s also other concerns also – such as those regarding career, if it would be a good place to buy a house in the future, etc.
Which, to be fair, all of those concerns are reasonable – safety and finances in this case.
But as we are waiting for the ice cream to be carried over to us…
He sighs and goes “You know, I won’t pressure you too much about it. You’re an adult and can make your own choices. You know my take on it. But Matt, what you are doing is what people do in retirement in their 60s. Not in their 20s.”
Meaning obviously that it’s rare for someone to choose to live abroad at such a young age.
Now, on that topic, I would kinda agree with that as older folks obviously have more money to pull it off.
Though, on the other hand, I would disagree a little bit as it is becoming more common for young folks to do it as well.
Especially when compared to his generation when most folks couldn’t just find a way to make money on the internet.
Which, overall, has made it possible for me to live abroad.
But that’s not the main point of this article.
What stuck out to me regarding what he said had more to do with the last bit of what he said.
“What you are doing is what people do in retirement.”
Obviously, as I just said, I disagree with this sentiment.
That we should all just wait and work back home until our 60s to not enjoy the benefits of living abroad.
Of course, as I wrote here, I don’t think someone should live abroad until they handle the financial aspect of it where they can make a real income online and not just 500 bucks.
Having said that, his comment about it being what “retired people” has come back to mind over the years.
Because I have seen folks who, by any measurement, basically live in early retirement down here.
And not in a good way.
Let’s explain what I mean.
The Human Vegetable
The truth is that there are gringos down here who basically become human vegetables.
A form of living in their own little “retirement home.”
Where they have some cheap cost of living of maybe 500 to 1,000 bucks a month…
Never have to work too hard to get the money together online to cover that.
Working from home.
And basically laying on their bed or in a chair all day long.
Taking steps outside only to get groceries, do laundry, buy liquor, etc.
But, outside of that, they basically never go outside.
Stop working once they have come up with what they need from online ventures.
What do they do the rest of the month?
Just lay at home watching movies all day long running through a bottle a week.
I can think of a few examples of that.
The Rich Venezuelan Woman
As I wrote months ago in this article here….
There was a white Venezuelan woman I met living at the same apartment building that I was in.
She was probably middle aged but definitely not old enough for retirement.
Where she would just lay in bed all day with the door open always around 24/7 in her place.
Watching whatever random movie.
Becoming the world’s most sophisticated wine expert.
And only getting off her bed when UBER Eats delivered KFC, McDonalds, Dominos, etc.
Suffice to say, she never looked very good.
And always smelled like shit.
With a nasty attitude also.
All around, she wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around.
I can only speculate…
But obviously she had money so to speak.
Because she never worked from what I noticed.
Never left the apartment.
Literally always in bed with the door open 24/7 basically.
So she must’ve had plenty of money in the bank to cover her ass for a long time.
Or until she drops dead from alcoholism.
Whatever comes first.
But she’s not the first person I can think of….
Moving from Latinos onto Gringos….
Over a year ago or so, I remember sitting down for a beer with a friend of mine named Bryan.
We were sitting down at some Mezcal bar in Roma Norte.
Fairly close by Metro Insurgentes.
Anyway, as we got talking, he was telling me about a roommate he has.
Some American dude named Chris who was in his late 20s or early 30s.
What did Chris do?
Supposedly, Chris worked in “freelance writing” of some kind.
And was successful enough to make decent enough money quick enough.
But, from what Bryan noticed…
Chris basically never left the apartment.
Bryan used to invite him over to some parties he knew and Chris would always decline.
And the house that Bryan was living in at the time was a very social place.
With all the roommates knowing each other very well and always interactive and friendly.
Chris would just chill in his room from what everyone noticed.
Never left the place.
Never seemed to have any friends.
Never having any chicks in his life.
Never having any hobbies.
Never having much of a life.
So why the hell did he live in Mexico?
Who the fuck knows.
Doesn’t seem much of a life, does it?
Regardless, I can emphasize a little bit with this personally.
As I’ve written elsewhere on this website, I’ve had small periods of my life down here where I’m bored out of my mind.
As I wrote more here for example.
For me, I can be a bit of an introvert personally.
And it’s easy for me to just chill at home.
Work a bit.
Drink a lot.
Watch movies and listen to music.
And going outside the usual tasks needed to be done.
With the only real real human interaction being walking to the nearest metro to pick up some Tinder chick to hookup with about once a week.
To be fair, I’ve lived like that before.
Though, being honest, it goes deeper than just “being an introvert.”
When I have fallen into that trap, it’s usually because I become pretty depressed coping with shit going way back.
Which, to be honest, doing so can also leave you in a darker mindset.
Where you end up spiraling into a deeper depression because you ain’t doing shit outside.
It’s not healthy obviously and I imagine the other folks mentioned in this article probably noticed the same thing.
Bryan’s roommate and the Venezuelan chick.
And so, like I said, I’ve had moments like that…
Fortunately, I’ve recognized how fucked of a life that can be and moved beyond it doing what I can.
But it’s an issue that can become an issue for you.
Perhaps because life becomes so easy down here…
And you don’t get any real hobbies….
So you just stay home most days of the week without doing shit.
Where you, for whatever reason, become a human vegetable.
Become someone who is wasting away “in their retirement home.”
Retirement in a bad way.
And most folks who notice that might wonder……
“What the fuck are you doing in Mexico anyway?”
Which is a fair question.
You got this awesome opportunity to enjoy life abroad.
All the experiences that can come with it.
And the benefits of not having to work too hard given the low cost of living…
But you waste it on drinking another bottle to re watching American Psycho?!
To be fair, that is a good movie as you can see here.
But this is the issue anyway as described anyway.
However, let’s wrap this up on a positive note.
How to Avoid the Retirement House
To avoid the retirement house is actually pretty fucking obvious.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
Basically just do the opposite of whatever you were doing before.
Granted, if you have issues that you are coping with that make you want to stay in bed…
Then maybe a therapist is needed or some shit.
But assuming you are just a lazy fuck who doesn’t want to get out of bed beyond working and drinking….
The tips I would give are the same ones I wrote in this article here.
Ideas be the following:
- Take a walk outside once a day just for the purpose of walking for one hour at least. Maybe chill in a park along the way.
- Reach out to friends you have. For me, that means hanging out with folks like Gino, Blayde, Bryan, etc. For you, it’s whoever.
- Don’t got friends? Well shit. Check out this article here on a good way to find friends in Latin America. Otherwise, maybe join some “Expats in x Latin American country” Facebook pages where you can find people on there to chill with.
- When it comes to making friends, also try to emphasize making local ones. I find that it’s more common for other gringo friends to eventually leave you as they decide to go back home obviously. How to make local friends? Well, like in Tip 3, you can do so in those bar events if you can find one. Check Tip 8 for another tip.
- Hooking up is kinda nice actually. It’s fun obviously and at least gives you some human interaction. Just make sure it isn’t a majority of your human interaction in any given day. Like above, get some real friends who you aren’t trying to stick your dick inside of.
- Control the drinking if it becomes a problem. As I wrote here, drinking can easily become a bigger problem for folks who have an easier life down here with nothing to do.
- Work out at the gym.
- Sleep healthy and eat right to make you feel better.
- Have hobbies you enjoy. This is especially important. It can help you find locals you can be friends with and also give you shit to do that keeps you preoccupied. For myself, I enjoy hiking as you can read here. In fact, I plan on doing some hiking trips soon around Mexico City in the next week or two. So keep an eye open for an article eventually on that.
- Have a passion in life. Something that makes you excited to get out of bed. For me, this website you are reading this article on here been a bit of a passion for me. A project that I have been excited to write my experiences on.
And finally, if you ever do fall down…
Maybe feel depressed some days….
Have some liquor at home…
Don’t beat yourself up about it.
I sometimes have hickups even to this day.
Just a few weeks ago, I was talking with some dude on the phone over Whatsapp and we had a good convo and all…
But over the course of our 3 hours talking, I got pretty wasted on my vodka and black tea.
So the drinking is something I still work on.
Today is actually my first day of taking a 30 day break minimum from drinking.
So far so good!
Maybe it’ll be more than 30 days?
So take the steps you needed – one at a time – to improve yourself while you live down here.
So you don’t become a human vegetable in your “retirement home.”
And can have a productive and healthy life.
With more exciting moments than just listening to the same music at your place over and over like this good shit here.
That’s all I got to say.
Just don’t become a human vegetable.
Make sure you ain’t in retirement.
But in a kickass vacation that never ends with awesome shit happening all the time.
Chicas, dinero y fiestas con tus homies.
Homies over Hoes -- Boondocks
Shit like that.
Anyway, if you got any comments relevant to the topic, drop them below.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.