“Why do you live in Mexico?” someone might ask the aging gringo with a beer belly in retirement.
“Oh it’s wonderful here! Sunshine, nice people, good food and beautiful scenery!”
Of course, when a gringo says that, I can’t help but feel they are blowing smoke up my ass.
And, if you are a local in Latin America, you probably should be mindful of the possibility that an answer like that also is blowing smoke up your ass.
Which isn’t to say that some gringos don’t live down here because of those reasons!
But let’s be honest…
Some guy in the US who lives in Mexico…
He really can’t find “sunshine, nice people, good food, and beautiful scenery” in the US of all places?
Oh and let’s not forget “Latin culture.”
Nice people? Eh, I don’t think Mexicans are necessarily any nicer than folks back home. That isn’t to say that they are mean but they never stuck out to me as being “extra nice.”
At least not in non-superficial ways.
You have got to be joking – no good food in the US?
Get out of here.
I miss food in the US – I prefer it much more than here in Mexico.
Which isn’t to say Mexican food is bad – it isn’t!
I just always look forward to food back home when I visit family.
We don’t have Latinos?
Miami, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Cali, NYC, etc…
Oh give me a break – no good scenery in the US?
What are you missing?
Normally, when people say this, they are referencing the beach.
No good beaches in the US?
Try this video here.
Normally, when someone says this stuff, it’s to not say the real reason – low cost of living (and maybe easier access to pussy for the men).
Still, I’ve already addressed all of this.
Outside of the “beautiful scenery” bit.
Now, to be fair, I’ve been partly guilty of this.
My Own Context
Back when I lived in the US, I only really knew Iowa and Ohio.
I’ve visited other states very briefly but don’t know them all that well.
And while in Iowa and Ohio, both states with plenty of beauty, I never did too many touristy things growing up.
There are so many parks in both states that I have never been to but folks visiting from outside probably have because TripAdvisor told them to or something.
Having said that, I never had then a real appreciation of just how beautiful the US is.
And our hat to the north – Canada.
So when I travelled to Latin America, I was blown away by how beautiful it was.
Because, to be fair, there is a shit ton of beauty to the outdoors in Latin America!
Lots of it!
In my opinion, my favorite countries are Argentina, Chile and Bolivia when it comes to outdoor scenery.
But you can find amazing things in so many other countries down here also.
With all that said, it should be noted that, as I get older, the more I appreciate the beauty of my own home country also.
Simply seeing photos posted on Twitter of amazing scenery back home.
Something that, as I said, I had no real appreciation for as I left the US early in my life and never travelled within my own country.
One day, I plan on traveling around the US for a year or less.
Treating my home country like I have treated Latin America – as a place to explore and see all the wonderful beauty in the countryside.
Though I don’t see myself living there anytime soon, I would like to gain that appreciation and experience of how beautiful my own backyard was.
Something I never realized growing up.
The Beauty of America
And, equally so, there are many things in Latin America that we have back home!
Do you enjoy the amazing scenery of Patagonia with mountains like Fitz Roy or Torres del Paine?
Go check out the scenery in the upper west coast of the US to around Canada area as you an see in this video here.
Want a giant waterfall like Iguazu or something?
Niagara Falls as you can see here!
Giant rivers that are kinda like the Amazon or Orinoco River?
I lived next to it all my life!
Want a statue dedicated to some historical figure?
Like all those statues of ambiguous Latino generals who fought in some random ass war that you can find in small parks across Latin America?
Mount Rushmore, motherfucker!
We one upped the Latinos on this one…
Fuck your bitch ass statues…
We’ll carve our leaders into GIANT MOUNTAINS!
“How about that?”
Here’s a video of the best caves in the US.
And what about cool beaches?
Check out those beaches in that first video posted above.
I know what you all are thinking…
“But Matt, what about the AMAZON RAINFOREST?!?”
I got you.
In Iowa, we got a place called “Stephens State Forest.”
Which is, from what I just read, the “largest forest in Iowa.”
You can see a video of it here.
Now it might not look as impressive as the Amazon Rainforest….
But look, it has the same shit!
It has trees…
Plenty of insects.
Lots of room to walk around.
And, according to the video, you can even cook steak there!
Now how cool is that?
Are you allowed to cook steaks in the Amazon?
I bet not!
And it’s named after a person…
Do you know who the fuck “Amazon” is?
Amazon the Company?
That’s lame as fuck – who would name a forest after a company?
What corporate shit is this?
At least we all know who Stephen is!
He’s the guy who always has extra beer to offer people.
So it’s basically cooler than the Amazon Rainforest if we are being honest.
Even though I’ve never been there….
We obviously have a lot of cool shit in the US.
And Canada also.
To a degree, I don’t think that “the beauty” of Latin America is, if of itself, a reason to live down here like some folks might paint it to be.
In the same way that “sunshine, Latino culture, good food and nice people” are not the most convincing reasons either.
Because we have all of that back home!
Granted, if those things keep you down here truthfully speaking, then that’s great.
But I think there’s a few other things that come to mind….
Reflecting on “the Beauty of Latin America”
First, I think there’s truth to the statement that “the beauty of Latin America” is a reason why some folks live down here.
But it’s not the whole story.
Imagine some young kid who makes 1,000 bucks a month or a retired person making 1,200 a month on social security.
In either case, both individuals don’t have as much money to enjoy the beauty of the US or Canada.
Not on those budgets!
It costs a lot more!
While in Latin America, more broadly speaking, you can do a lot of really cool shit for a lot less.
When I was in Argentina, I was able to canoe among ice glaciers for something like 50 bucks more or less.
I also was able to walk around on an ice glacier for like around the same price.
Similar to America though, you do have parks you can enjoy walking through for free like in Latin America.
El Chalten in Argentina has plenty of hiking opportunities that you can do for free like those in America.
When it came to spending a week in the Amazon Rainforest, I got to enjoy that with everything included for like 200 bucks?
I’d be willing to bet doing something like that (with food included) would cost much more than 200 bucks in the US.
And when it comes to living on the beach….
Well, living near the beaches of Santa Marta in Colombia will cost you a lot less than the pretty penny you need for Miami.
All around, your 1,200 USD retirement fund can allow you to enjoy the nature of our planet on a lot less.
And actually live down here while enjoying some of the nicer outdoor places of Latin America more cheaply.
Second, there’s obviously an element of “wanting to travel.”
Spread your wings.
That makes a lot of sense.
You might’ve already seen all of that cool stuff in the US…
But now you want to check out other continents and countries…
And all they have to offer.
I get that.
Third, I’d say it is easier to enjoy really amazing sightings down here in relative peace than the great sightings you have in the US.
That isn’t always true though.
In places like Machu a Picchu of Peru or Iguazu Falls of Argentina, you’ll have a shit ton of people around you.
But if you want to enjoy the Amazon…
Much easier to enjoy alone given all the spots you can check it out from.
Same with finding an isolated beach that basically has nobody on it (or relatively few anyhow for the time being).
This is an aspect of enjoying nature that some folks really want – to be in alone and in peace with quietness.
Nobody to distract them.
I’d say that it’s easier to find more really good spots down here that satisfy that than in the US.
Which isn’t to say you can’t find that in the US but there’s less of them arguably.
But that’s all I got so let’s wrap this up.
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with the statement that you really enjoy the nature that Latin America has to offer.
I just find it a little bit ironic since the US and Canada have tons of amazing scenery that rivals many of the areas you see down here.
Outside of certain areas though like the Amazon and others that you obviously will have difficulty finding or won’t find anything comparable at all in North America.
And if you are from a country that has limited natural scenery that isn’t as giant as the US or Canada in geography…
Then there isn’t so much of an irony here because you don’t have so much contrast in outdoor scenery to enjoy back home.
Either way, for me, I do find the beautiful scenery of Latin America to be a giant bonus to living down here (especially at the lower cost).
But it’s just one benefit that I like about living down here and not the whole package.
And definitely not the main thing that keeps me here.
Just a nice cherry on top that really makes life down here even that much more enjoyable.
And to live down here, I do think that having a combination of reasons (not just one) makes it more enjoyable and easier to sustain a life in Latin America long-term.
Either way, that’s all I got to say.
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