How I Ended Up in Mexico

I won’t get into the reasons why I left, only how I ended up here after I did leave. Walking out of the USA over 7 years ago I had no idea where I would end up, all I knew is I was going for a walk with my dog and we were in search of a new home. Leaving just before another Wisconsin winter hit I sold most of my things (a second time) and filled up a bag with some survival gear and clothes. We started off in a motorized bicycle with a homemade fiberglass trailer but that soon became a huge failure even in some smaller hilly mountains. The one thing I had over looked was a break system!

After trashing the bicycle on a huge mountain barely escaping with our lives we decided to set out on foot. Bought a new stylish hiking backpack and was lucky enough to find people along the way that helped in my adventure. From food, places to stay, to transportation; it was a blessing and even when we had to sleep behind a dumpster it was still an adventure. (No hotels allowed dogs.) One time riding on an air mattress in the back of a pickup truck with my dog Ace as a group of 5 travel hippy hobos made there way across Texas.


After crossing the border the adventure became more intense, unable to speak a lick of Spanish it was a curve ball to say the least. I spent a month on the border helping a family fix their computers at their internet cafe and in return they offered me food and a place to sleep. They showed me there city and we were able to communicate with translators quite easily. After spending a month with there family I figured it was time to hit the road head deeper into Mexico. Making friends and family along the way I never went a night without food or a place to stay.

Eventually we would make it to the other border of Mexico but for some reason I always felt something calling me back. After a few months on the border my dog came down with a few serious illnesses. I spent almost a year taking care of him trying to fight his problems and right as it seemed like they were going away one morning his heart gave out as he went to follow me. After being my homestead, baby animal babysitter, and travel buddy for over 12 years; from Wisconsin to Arizona in Audi’s to riding shotgun in a motorized bicycle death trap on his way to Mexico, swimming in rivers and eating gifted food along the way.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t quite depressed for at least a year or so and just had no interest in traveling anymore. In that time span I met more and more of the community here and was accepted as friends and family. Enjoying beers and food with the neighbors as we shared plants and animals. I guess you could say I fell in love with Mexico and the community living here.

7 Quick Tips for Traveling in Mexico

After traveling all over Mexico and living in a few different places I learned quite a lot along the way. Some of these tips are common sense and others are things you would never think of coming from the USA. The media sells Mexico as a cartel ridden danger zone but the reality is, it’s very safe. It’s more a “show” of force rather than a real gun battle in the streets. Being in some of the most “dangerous” parts of Mexico I really never had a single problem. Actually the opposite, shady looking guys on the side of the highway outside Matamoros gave me a huge container of chicken and a large cola for me and my dog.

Here are 7 tips for traveling in Mexico:

1) Never carry a lot of money in your wallet. If you do happen to get robbed or need to bribe an officer you don’t want them to know how much money you really have. Look like the stupid tourist, pull out your near empty wallet with a few hundred pesos and let them snatch what you have. Keep your valuable cards and cash tucked away in a safe place or another pocket.

2) Never use your phone in a public area without being aware of your surroundings. Losing your phone isn’t the end of the world but it can wreck a good vacation losing all your travel info and GPS. If you are using your phone out in public not paying attention it’s easy for anyone to run by and snatch it.

3) Always make eye contact and greet people that pass you within 2 arms length. It’s very common to greet everyone here and making eye contact and a greeting helps thwart any could be robbery. Most times they light up with a smile and reply with a hardy BUEN DIA!

4) Never walk behind or near a sleeping street dog. The dogs in Mexico have a culture of their own. They travel and eat on their own schedule and often times offer a friendly face. Sometimes they’ll follow you to OXXO in hopes of a treat. They meet up on street corners at random times of the day. I have seen 10-15 randomly on one corner just sniffing and wagging tails. Never seen a dog fight. However, there are exceptions. Always be ready and I do not recommend wearing flip flops for this reason. I have had to use my foot as a weapon and shield a couple times. One, a crazy dog got lose. Second time, I was actually thinking about writing this article and thought this was a good tip. On that same walk home I did exactly that while lost in thought. Two dogs jumped up and starting coming at me. Normally they are friendly but I startled them real bad. Hence this rule!

5) Don’t be afraid to be yourself and practice your crappy Spanish skills. Most people here are genuinely friendly and welcoming. They are glad to help and usually don’t expect much if anything in return. The people here have a general curiosity about your story and enjoy good conversation. Instead of hitting up the hostels and Dominoes; venture out and meet some locals and try the local foods. It’s all good!

6) Take advantage of quality bus transportation. ADO and other bus companies like the combis offer great travel prices to go anywhere in Mexico. No ID, no passports, nothing is required and it’s very cheap! You stop in random places and people will get on and offer snacks and drink from the jungle. You can take full advantage of your trip to Mexico by using these buses to get around anywhere rather quickly and affordably.

7) Haggling is a key skill when purchasing tourist packages or boat tours or anything like this. You can usually get away with 20% off the price but don’t over due it. These people are hard working and make great products and tours are authentic and fun. I purchased a hammock years ago that was hand made and very nice quality. I ended up paying full price but didn’t mind because of the quality and I knew it was hand made. I sleep in it every night and foresee myself having it for a long time. Haggle firmly but be fair!

13 Negatives of Living in Mexico That No One Talks About

Mapola with Sexy Dancing in México

Baile en calderitas / los Traviesos de Chetumal/ #cumbia #tropical #caribe #surestemexicano

Traveling by Combi in Mexico

When it comes to traveling Mexico many people think they need to rent expensive cars or fly from place to place but the reality is combi travel in Mexico is extremely easy and very cheap. It can be intimidating your first time because of the confusion in trying to find the correct routes, drop offs, pick ups, and pricing. Creating a map of combi routes gets quite difficult as the routes change quite frequently making it near impossible to stay up to date. The thing to remember however is most combi drivers and locals are more than willing to help you out even if you need to use a translator app or maps on your phone.

Most places in Mexico the locations and stops are all written directly on the combi bus to make it easy to figure out where you are going. You’ll pay anywhere from 7 to 12 pesos unless you are going a longer distance to another city or location. Where I am there is the main hub downtown right outside the old market where you’ll find buses going in all directions. Worst case just ask someone or show them where you are trying to go and they will point you in the right direction.

Combi Bus Mexico

When it comes to longer distance travels I prefer going with the larger autobuses for comfort even if it is a little bit more expensive. The plus side to the ADO autobus stations is most of them have free WiFi if you need to do any research or get some work done. Often times traveling by the larger autobuses you’ll have people get on the bus selling delicious food and snacks along the way which can make the travel experience a bit less grueling.

When it comes to local travel, combi buses will save you a lot of money in the long run and it’s a great way to learn Spanish, chat with locals, and find unique places to explore. One thing to keep in mind though is sometimes you get packed into the bus like sardines which some people might not like. For me personally it’s part of the experience and often times you’ll find yourself laughing and smiling with the locals as you’re packed in. Usually I find myself sitting there in peace listening to other conversations, picking up on their words and communication to improve my own Spanish.

If you’re still a bit nervous about traveling by combi in Mexico turn it into a personal challenge for yourself and over coming it will lead to higher travel confidence, opening up new doors and experiences along the way. If you’ve got some time in a certain city spend the day just riding around on random combis, exploring, trying new food, drinks, or anything else you find interesting. Worst case you can always take the combi back to your original location or a taxi if you truly get lost. You’ll quickly find the people of Mexico are very welcoming and helpful if you get into a sticky situation, just reach out and ask someone for help.

At the end of the day combi travel in Mexico is very reliable, safe, affordable, and I highly recommend it for your overall experience here in Mexico. It might take a few minutes longer to get where you’re going but when traveling the journey tends to be more fun than the destination. Don’t be scared of a new experience no matter how challenging, at the end of the day you’ll be rewarded with a boost of confidence.

Is Mexican Street Food Dangerous?

Over the last 7 years of living Mexico I often see comments on social media from Americans or Europeans saying that Mexican street food is dangerous, unsanitary, and unhealthy but the reality is this couldn’t be farther from the truth. As 1st world countries stuff fast food in their mouths I find it odd how they could attack real homemade street food especially considering most fast food has proven to be fake, nasty, and terrible for your health. On the contrary Mexican street food is always fresh, unique, and delicious.

During my time here I have eaten from thousands of street vendors, thousands of random foods vendors selling out of a triciclo, or just neighbors offering me a free meal. In my entire time here I have never gotten sick, I’ve never had food poisoning, and I’ve certainly enjoyed it every single time. To be honest I don’t even know where all this negativity comes from concerning Mexican street food but there seems to be a great deal of propaganda and fear mongering to keep Americans out of Mexico. Eating from the likes of Taco Bell and McDonalds while criticizing others just seems comical.

Mexican Street Food

With all the class action lawsuits over the years against large corporation chains and fast food restaurants it’s a bit mind blowing someone could talk down on Mexican street food while eating a Subway sandwich with rubber in the bread. Even going back to my time in the USA I had tons of health issues, stomach problems, and lack of energy from the terrible sources of food in the USA. The meat is injected, vaccinated, and fed terrible diets, refrigerators and preservatives to move it across the country, chemicals coating every vegetable or fruit… yet here in Mexico fresh food is hated on by Americans and Europeans.

The funny part is if you actually do want some real fresh food in the USA you’re going to pay a hefty price tag to get it. Sushi orders going for $50 USD just for a one bite meal when in Mexico I can order a 3 person plate of fresh ceviche for less than $10 USD. I can buy just about any fresh food I want with no chemicals, preservatives, or vaccines at a fraction of the price yet Americans still talk nonsense about Mexican street food. Eating just one cheeseburger at McDonalds would leave me with a painful stomach ache for the rest of the day yet here I feel energized and happy eating some fresh Mexican street sushi. (Ceviche)

All in all you’ll find some of the best food you’ve ever had in your life on just about any street corner in Mexico. Heck most of the time they sell it from a bicycle right at your front door having tamales, homemade coconut water with corn, or cacao (real chocolate) with corn, iced fruit treats, or even some homemade bread with ham and real sugar on the spot. With all the regulations and government permits in the USA you still have unsanitary restaurants, food poisonings, and fake foods being sold as healthy.

I’m not saying food poisoning can’t happen here, but it’s far more unlikely than places like the USA where they have to cut corners and lie to maintain their business in the pile of rubbish known as government regulations and bureaucracy. There is one little tip I can offer though if you ever do feel sick or perhaps your food wasn’t cooked to perfection and that is a glass of water and lime. Lime juice will kill most bacteria and worms you’d find in undercooked foods and just a couple glasses could help save you from a few days of the squirts. A pretty common custom here in Mexico is eating limes with salt while you drink beers or eat dinner and this is the best way to keep any sort of bad actors from getting into your body.

Crossing Borders

Laid out on the lawn enjoying the last summer breeze,
cold nights and winter on the horizon hopin’ my buds don’t freeze.

Not sure how much longer I can survive inside this modern day prison,
surrounded by government worshipers and fake christians sowing division.

Can’t do another long winter alone captured by miles of snow,
wish’in I could escape this twilight zone ages ago.

With no one around but my dog I’m left starin’ at the forecast,
runnin’ out of time better make the decision and fast.

Watching my paperwork burn as my plan starts to come together,
packin my bags ready to step through the portal into the nether.

Thumb up hand on the leash they’re shifting down we got another ride,
hitch hiking with my best friend as we run up to the passenger side.

Another cool cat helps me out with food and a bed,
but I’m not always lucky on the road some nights I dread.

One night every hotel doin’ me dirty with their no dogs allowed sign,
can’t leave’m out in the cold or I’m a bitch with no spine.

A race against the weather my wool blanket is our only protection,
sleeping behind dumpsters hoping to avoid 5-0 detection.

Another long day we make it to a beautiful river in Texas,
sun setting as I’m cleanin’ our paws connectin’ to the nexus.

One last stretch of dessert on the way to the Mexico,
comin’ from Wisconsin look’in pale as an eskimo.

Better take a bus for the last bit of highway not tryna get burned,
lying to Greyhound my boys’a service dog ridin’ first class not concerned.

Pull’en up to the border town at 4 a.m. prepp’in our entrance,
tryn’a nap on the bridge before we claim our independence.

Lookin’ back I can’t help but see the rot and decay,
thinking about the sacrifices all I can do is prey.

But it’s just the price I pay,
destiny is callin’ me,
open up my eager eyes.

Walk’in up to the first guy I see and ask him for directions,
greeted by a big smile and broken english I’m makin’ connections.

Livin’ with a family that owns an internet cafe,
fix’in their computers an enjoying a free place to stay.

Spend’in my days with the abuelo sweep’in the street,
sellin’ clothes outa the patio chat’in to the beat.

My spanish was terrible but we still connected,
sharing his food and time with me he was highly respected.

Tossin’ tortillas to my dog had him smilin’ ear to ear,
headin’ out of town after a month lookin’ up with a tear.

Off for the jungle makin’ friends along the way,
friendly people and good food nothin’ but love on display.

Blown away by the beauty of the jungle and ocean,
swimmin’ in cenotes and lagoons feelin’ some kind of emotion.

Every time I try an leave fate denies me,
wavin’ me back to Mexico like an aggressive referee.

Got me livin’ in a welcoming little beach community,
good vibes we tradin’ plants an animals with impunity.

Working together the last few years watching it grow,
lookin’ back at the USA as they partake in the election game show.

Cheesin’ over what color tie their slave master is wearin’,
wait’in for the president to save’em I’m laughing and starin’.

Headed to the beach for some fishin’ without permission,
no permits or government approval catchin’ meat without admission.

My ducks and chickens takin’ over the streets in search of food,
like a gang they’re running the corners scoping out yards to intrude.

No one calling the police on my rooster for singin’,
gettin’ on my purpose bright an early when-he starts ringin’,

Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side,
but they never mention it only happens when sacrifice and faith collide.

Time to stop debating with the matrix and get back to creating,
whether another country or your back yard you’ll find an adventure waiting.