Saturday, April 29, 2006


Title: Hopalog
Type of website: Personal blog of a family of 6 on the road in Mexico after selling their house in Northern California
Excellent source of...: Growing fascination and envy.

OK, I have to admit...I'm absolutely fascinated by the story. Kathy, the author of this travel-blog, is married with four children. She and her husband apparently sold their house in Northern California, bought a van and an RV and are touring around Mexico, home-schooling their children and looking for a place to settle down. Apparently, they have a satellite internet hookup on their RV and Kathy posts photos and a running commentary almost daily. And there's a whole wealth of Flikr fotos too.

I'm inspired to begin considering (again) convincing my husband to buy an RV, pack up the two dogs, and hit the road next year. Of course, we would have to sell some properties first. That isn't out of the question. And then there's the business. But with a satellite hookup... oh! sorry. caught me daydreaming.

When you think about it, this blog is a literary version of a reality show. And maybe that's the wave of the future. ("Wave of the future, wave of the future..." - Howard Hughes). In the end, there's nothing more interesting than reality. Nothing more powerful than truth.

This afternoon I read an interview with Al Gore saying that reality must have it's day (he was referring to global warming). And while I type this, I'm listening to Neil Young's new album, streaming over the internet to my little corner of the world and hopefully many other corners as well. (..."I'm living with war in my heart every day...I take a holy vow to never kill again"). And I'm reading this story about two people who really DID leave their jobs to spend more time with their family.

And I'm feeling hopeful.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Quality Peoples

Title: Quality Peoples
Type of website: Personal blog of young California designer who moved to Mexico two years ago
Excellent source of...: A look at what it is like to live on the West Coast of Mexico. Also, insight into living in Mexico as a young professional (as opposed to what so many expatriates are here: old retired people).

This website isn't really *about*'s just about someone who lives here. And for that, it's a fascinating read if you are interested in the subject. I guess Americans living in Mexico is still a novelty, though I wonder how much longer that is going to be true.

Unlike many people I know, Ed Fladung, the owner of this blog, isn't over 55 and retired. He moved down to the Puerto Vallarta area to help his parents (who I think may be over 55 but have a business there) with the family business. And it seems that he liked it so much, he stayed. Well, apparently, he also fell in love. Not just with Marcia, but also with Mexico.

He doesn't just write about Mexico. He writes about California when he goes back there, about design, about his life. But he lives in Mexico, so a detailed read of this blog can give you a pretty good idea of what life is like for an expat in his world. And of course, if you want to just cut to the chase, he has a category "ex-pat life" with 140 posts about the subject.

Oh, and Ed's a surfer, so you can find out a lot about surfing in that area. And of course, he's a photographer, so you'll find plenty of those on his website as well. He's a designer and he's building a house, so there's photos and info on that too.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Another View on Living in Mexico

Title: My Life in Mexico
Type of website: Personal blog of retired Californian living in the State of Durango
Excellent source of...: Detailed information on what it takes and what it is like to live as a retired person in a non-touristy, normal city in Mexico.

Sometimes I find interesting websites by looking at the people that have come to see our website, Yucatan Living. While perusing the 'referring pages' in my Webstats statistics, I came across the website of Mr. Rolly Brooks, a fellow former Californian.

Behind the humble design and everyday language of this website is a wealth of information for anyone interested in moving to Mexico to live a normal, everyday life. Lerdo, Durango, is not a tourist hot spot and probably doesn't have a large gringo population. So the photos and the stories and the subject matter are all about typical Mexican life, as seen through the eyes of a gringo who is very privileged (and apparently grateful) to have been adopted by a large extended Mexican family (is there any other kind?).

The website has a brief tour that explains how Rolly got to Mexico, shows photos of his neighborhood and family and then takes you to a page with links to other parts of the website. There are photo essays on street vendors, houses and churches in his neighborhood. There are instructions on how to make a piƱata or tortillas. There is even a photo essay on how they make my favorite kind of brooms (though I have never seen *green* ones!).

Rolly has done a few building projects, both in the US and Mexico. The website includes some very detailed photo essays of those projects, which will be of great interest to anyone thinking of building in Mexico. One of them even includes all the costs of the project. And there are two very useful pages with photos of tools and building materials and their Spanish names.

While this website is not professionally designed, it is easy to navigate. And it has a wealth of information...after living here for four years (though in another part of Mexico), I learned a lot from this website.

But what I love about this site is what isn't said expressly, the story that emerges from behind the photos and stories of Mexico. This man, Mr. Brook, who self-admittedly looks a lot like Santa Claus, seems to have left the United States under difficult circumstances. Because he seems to have treated well a man he hired to work with him years ago, he was invited to live in Mexico with that man's family. And because he had the courage to accept this generous invitation, he has had the good fortune to have been accepted into another way of life that it seems he is fully enjoying. His life in Mexico may be more humble, and he may not have as many 7-11's within one mile of his home, but he appears to have a rich life full of family, children, fiestas, explorations and the daily pleasures of learning about a culture that is new to him. And what better culture to be learning about? The Mexican culture is as deep and wide as the Rio Grande, rich with stories and traditions, colored with the pain and suffering and joys of generations that have created it. And Rolly Brook appears to be in it up to his elbows, enjoying every minute of the adventure.

Mr. Rolly Brook is a lucky man and I feel lucky to have shared his life through this website.