Stephen F. Dennstedt
“Soon to depart Merida, Yucatan for destinations south”
People still ask me how I can afford to travel and live abroad. My question back to them is: how can you afford to live in the USA? I am finally leaving Merida, Yucatan, after 2-1/2 years, to travel further south (the original plan called for a stay of 1 to 1-1/2 years in Merida). I am returning to Chiapas for my first stop, and I plan on spending about a month in San Cristobal de las Casas (at an elevation of 7,000 feet) for about a month before crossing into Guatemala sometime in early October. I just purchased my ultra-deluxe bus ticket, on ADO’s Platino bus line, for the 14-hour trip from Merida to San Cristobal for $1,430 MXN/$109 USD. This is no Mexican “Chicken Bus.” Luxury Lazy-Boy type reclining seats (2 seats on one side of the aisle, with 1 seat on the other side—I opted for the single seat option). Mega leg room (unlike flying by airplane these days). Continuous movies, air-conditioning, food and drinks—and an onboard bathroom. It’s also an overnight bus so I can sleep most of the way. Oh, and BTW, once I reach my destination I will be staying at a B&B for the huge sum of $121 MXN/$9.25 USD per night (not per hour, per night). This includes a free breakfast, wi-fi, towels, assistance with tours, city maps, and on and on. Are you starting to get the picture?
A recap of my living expenses here in Merida for the past 2-1/2 years: Rent $3,000 MXN/$229 USD (3 bedroom, 1 bath, dinning room and kitchen fully furnished colonial house); Internet $300 MXN/$23 USD; Electric $150 MXN/$11 USD; Water $20 MXN/$1.50 USD (per month/paid every 2 months); Gasoline for my scooter $75 MXN/$5.73 USD. Add that up and it comes to a whopping $270 USD for my everyday living expenses (minus food, drink and cigars). And world-class medical and dental care is available for a fraction of the cost incurred in the USA. I just completed a dental procedure that would have cost me $2,000 USD plus in the USA for a mere $150 USD here in Mexico. Ask me again how I can afford to travel and live abroad. Sorry folks, but I sometimes succumb to my perverse nature and ratchet up the envy factor when I can. Rather than go suicidal, plan your own escape instead.