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Road to Mexico Part 1: From Panic to Preparation

As my family prepares to embark upon our second trip down to Mexico, this time to renew our temporary residency visas for another 3 years, I wanted to walk our readers through how this all came to be, because it definitely has been a journey! It all started with the “pandemic”…

2020: Something’s very rotten in Denmark

Road to Mexico Part 1: From Panic to Preparation

When “he who shall not be named” was elected in 2015, I knew Canada was headed in the wrong direction. But my real “awakening” occurred very early in 2020 with all the Covid hysteria, lockdowns, and the like, and that’s when my husband and I realized we needed to look at alternatives to living in Canada for our family.

When I look back at that time, especially as the media talking heads and government are even now, in 2023, trying to get everybody scared about Covid again, I can see my fight or flight response was fully activated back then. The thought of a Plan B or moving away from Canada had never even crossed my mind before, aside from a wistful thought here or there on some of my previous beach vacations. Nothing serious, though.

But this. This was different. For me, the veil had finally been lifted, and I could never go back to how things used to be. “Normal” was forever changed, so I guess all their talk or a “new normal” was right, after all.

When we started building our Plan B, we were 100% running away. We did not know when all the madness was going to end, and we were not about to have our kids grow up in this environment of fear, threats, and rabid group think.

2020 passed in a bit of a blur. I don’t think anyone expected things to last as long as they did. Or maybe we just didn’t believe (or want to believe?) they would.

2021: Anywhere but here

Road to Mexico Part 1: From Panic to Preparation

Then came 2021 which, in my opinion, was far worse than 2020. Society was losing its collective minds and seemed to be falling apart around us. It was a scary time for everyone, albeit in totally different ways for different people. By that summer, we decided enough was enough. We were ready to pull the trigger and head down to Panama to pursue the very affordable Friendly Nations Visa. It was an exciting, and scary, prospect. There were a lot of unanswered, and unanswerable, questions.

Would the kids and I stay down there until things improved in Canada? What would we do for their schooling? Would things be any better down there than they were at home, or were we jumping from one bad situation to another? We were in such a mad scramble to get away and there were so many unknowns.

As it turns out, fate wasn’t really feeling Panama for us. The Canadian travel restrictions made it virtually impossible for us to get down there and back, not once, but twice, as was required to complete the process. We also weren’t sure it was the right move for our family and didn’t want to add additional stress to our situation. So, we didn’t end up going.

This ended up being a blessing in disguise. If I’m being completely frank, our decision to pursue residency in Panama was very much a fear-based decision, the embodiment of that fight or flight response I mentioned earlier. Sure, the program was great and it was very affordable, but I didn’t know much about Panama, aside from some pretty surface-level information. Mostly, I knew it was NOT Canada. And, at the time, that’s all I really cared about. I hadn’t even looked much at what Panama’s own Covid restrictions were which, in both retrospect and in my opinion, were worse than Canada’s in some ways.

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We had been so focused on running away, that we completely lost sight of where we were going. We were making a huge life decision under duress, rather than out of a conscious decision for what we wanted for our children’s futures and our own. We were driving forward while looking in the rearview mirror. That, my friends, is not a recipe for long-term success.

We hunkered down and rode out 2021 while continuing to research potential Plan B destinations. Travel was now an impossibility for us due to increased restrictions on movement. The good thing about that was that it forced us to spend time researching and planning. And that’s exactly what we did during those dark days.

2022: All eyes on Mexico

Road to Mexico Part 1: From Panic to Preparation

2022 finally rolled around and, after miraculously surviving the winter of illness and death (insert eye-roll here), we had reason to feel hope again. Things started to open back up. Masks were less and less common. We knew it was only a matter of time until we would be able to travel again. And, this time, we were going to be ready!

Early 2022 is when we decided on Mexico as our first Plan B destination. It was easy to get to from Canada, and it was very easy and affordable to obtain residency there. Plus, if you could get down to Mexico, you could get to pretty much anywhere else in the world.

We had been to the country on numerous previous occasions so we already had a certain comfort level with it.

As part of our research to determine if Mexican residency was the right move for us, we attended webinars to better understand what to expect if we decided to move there. We read blogs and articles, watched YouTube videos, and listened to podcasts. We even booked a consultation with an expat who had gone through the process and was currently living there and helping others do the same.

Once travel restrictions eased up, it was game on! We had the information we needed, and now it was time to implement it.

Join me next week for Part 2!

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my “Road to Mexico” series! I’m excited to share my story in the hopes of encouraging our readers to pursue their Plan B, or at least know they are not alone.

As usual, I highly recommend subscribing to Escape Artist Insiders magazine, which was instrumental in helping us develop the knowledge and mindset to start building our Plan B. I cannot overstate how refreshing and relieving it was to read articles written by other people who felt the same way I did about everything that was happening during the pandemic. It gave me a ray of hope on some very dark days.

Join me next week for Part 2 where I detail how we obtained our temporary Mexican residency, and of course some of the unexpected twists and turns we experienced along the way.

LisaLisa is an aspiring expat from Canada who is working to put together her Plan B with a young family in tow. She is excited to pair her lifelong love of writing with her passion for offshore strategies and outside-the box investments in her weekly articles for Escape Artist readers. Follow this “rebel with a cause” as she walks the path less traveled and shares her experiences along the way.
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