Why I Moved to Mexico and How it Changed My Life
By Ryan Bradley
Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
I was born in Inglewood, CA but lived all over the world after that—San Diego, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Rhode Island—because my father was in the military. We even lived in the Kingdom of Bahrain for about eight years. That’s where I experienced a lot of my adult life. The same month I arrived, I began work in banking for the world’s largest credit union. Within a year or two, I became the youngest bank manager in its history. I was 21 years old at the time. Before that, I’d only been working at Von’s in California, as a bagger and making coffee for customers.
However, by the time I moved back to San Diego, I was desperate. I was in the middle of a divorce and not only dealing with the financial hardships of that, but I’d just relocated from another state and found myself staying at my grandmother’s house, working three jobs, and sleeping on a couch in her storeroom. Although I appreciated my grandmother’s help, I was used to having a certain level of autonomy and independence, first as a bachelor and then as a husband. This allowed me to be broken for a moment. I truly believe that when you go through a breakup or tragedies, it’s important to be broken and let everything spill through you for a little while. When I first started lifting myself up, I applied to 24-Hour Fitness and was hired on the spot. I worked there at minimum wage for a while and also as a patrol officer for a security company, driving from about 6 pm to five in the morning. That one was for $10 an hour. During that same time I worked as a political canvasser as well, going door-to-door and informing voters of the important issues that were going to be on upcoming ballots.
I truly believe that when you go through a breakup or tragedies, it’s important to be broken and let everything spill through you for a little while.
This was all really exhausting but I didn’t think about it too much. I just focused on going from one job to the other.
People always asked me why I didn’t go back into banking, but for me it wasn’t an option. Even though I’d been successful at it, I was afraid that I’d put myself in a box and on a career path that I didn’t really want. I never really felt like a banker and the idea of waking up every morning to pursue a corporate objective wasn’t fulfilling so that chapter was closed in my mind.
I remember the day that I arrived in Mexico. The irony is that my grandma’s house was only 16 minutes away—literally in another country. I was also so hungry for an opportunity to not only change the current state of my life, but also my future. I remember being much more confident than other Americans around me. Many of them had been exposed to the media’s portrayal of Mexico, but I’d spent time overseas with my family as a military dependent so I was keenly aware that the media’s version of reality and the truth are often vastly different from one another. I needed to go to Mexico for myself and I needed to seek My Truth. I would come to Mexico on three different occasions before I ever settled there permanently. It has been, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I needed to go to Mexico for myself and I needed to seek My Truth.
When I showed up in Mexico, I had very little cash but I’d heard stories of rents being as low as $75 a month, and I was really hoping to find something like that. I never did find rents quite that low, but what I did find was opportunity.
Making The Jump
For the broken, the ambitious, the overwhelmed, the hungry—there was just so much opportunity! Mexico not only afforded me the chance to live affordably with a monthly rental payment that was easily within range, but it also permitted me to do something that I was not able to do in a long time—eat. For so long in America, the only meals I could afford were the packages of peanuts at convenience stores, paying .99 cents for two at a time. I’d eat them as quickly as I could to ease the hunger pangs that came like clockwork throughout each day. However, in Mexico I found myself being able to afford not only delicious fresh food at the liberally dispersed taco carts in the city, but I even had the budget to eat at nice restaurants. No longer was I limited to Burger King’s 10-chicken-nugget-for-$1.50 deal as my only restaurant dining option. I now had hope, purpose, and eventually, a plan.
For the broken, the ambitious, the overwhelmed, the hungry—there was just so much opportunity!
I feel like my life didn’t really get started until I came to Mexico. At first, I just lived in Mexico and worked over the border in the U.S.—but even that was living like a king. Since the cost of living in America was so much higher, I experienced luxuries in Mexico that I couldn’t afford to enjoy in the U.S. Through the people, energy, culture, and provision of having a home in Mexico, I was able to reduce my need for three jobs to only one. I was even able to work a schedule that began to revolve around me and my life—instead of living my life around my work schedule. Not only did I have more free time on my hands, but my bank account was growing, eliminating the agony and stress of living paycheck to paycheck. I was able to educate myself in ways to work smarter rather than harder—unlike my San Diego peers. I’ve now been in Tijuana for five years, and I see my old San Diego co-workers struggling more than ever these days.
For a year, my sole job was working at San Diego’s number one nightclub, FLUXX, providing celebrity protection two days a week—Friday and Saturday. Since then, I’ve been able to concentrate on just passively managing rental properties here in Mexico. One of the main benefits I’ve experienced because of the free time I have now is that I can exercise my brain and study things more intricately than I’ve ever been able to do before. My job at Flux was not only part-time, but it was my only job– yet ALL of my co-workers had had to work one or two additional jobs. I only had to work two half days per week and as far as I know, I was the only one that was able to pay my rent six months ahead! Most people allow fear to control them, keeping them from making the changes they need to make in order to improve their lives—but for me, change is freedom and I embrace it. I couldn’t remain in soul-crushing, suffocating jobs that held me back from enjoying my life anymore.
I feel like my life didn’t really get started until I came to Mexico.
Don’t let the media’s rumors of what life is like here stop you from making the move if you want a better life. We’re told that Mexico is a dangerous place, but in reality the violence is cartel related. Meanwhile, there are mass shootings of innocent people almost every day in America. One statistic states that there have been more shootings than there have been days in the year. On the one hand, America has a lot to offer—democracy, freedom of speech, but on the other hand, the quality of life in America is overrated and over-hyped. One of the benefits of living in Mexico is that there’s very little racism and very little judgment. The values are different. In America, we are expected to work, work, work, but in Mexico, social time and family time are given more importance, creating a greater overall sense of well-being. Even though people still tend to struggle and work hard here, there’s more balance. It’s amazing.
Improved Quality of Life
If you want to improve your life, there is no better time to act than now. I would encourage everyone to embrace real inspiring change in their lives—to try some of the things that I did when I started my journey. The move to Mexico is so affordable and the value of owning your own time and your own life is incredibly rewarding. I’ve been recommending this opportunity to my friends and family for a while now. Many of them have taken my advice and have never looked back.
Since moving to Mexico, I’ve had the mental space to allow my mind to work for me and this has enabled me to increase my savings dramatically. I study the massive amounts of valuable information available online, visiting non-traditional educational sites like www.smartwealthinvestments.com, that can not only help us expand our minds, but provide direction for us to grow in other areas of our lives.
I spend my time sharing the wisdom I’ve learned with anyone who’s willing to learn. I’ve sent my parents and my closest friends to the same places that I stayed in when I first came here. Anyone who’s interested in visiting a safe place in Tijuana will enjoy the cultural experience as well as the proximity to downtown, just mere minutes from the U.S. Border. I would encourage everyone to simply make the trip Tijuana for the eye-opening experience, or even to grab life by the horns and take action into converting their life into something meaningful for themselves.
Two of the places where I’ve not only stayed, but where my closest friends and family members have as well, are fortunately found on one of the safest traveling home-share sites, AirBnB. I highly recommend The Private Bungalow — for the solo traveler or the economically challenged individual who just wants a glance into the culture and potential opportunity that Tijuana has to offer. For guests wanting a more full range of amenities and options, or for couples, I recommend the safety and tranquility of The Hummingbird House — which is typically priced at only $5 or $10 more per night than the Private Bungalow and is conveniently located right next door to that space. There are a wide range of other properties on AirBnB, but these two provide a good overall sense of the community, as well as the authentic culture of Tijuana.
I hope this article helps you find yourself, discover your purpose, and alleviate any stress that was never yours to begin with. We all deserve to thrive! Thanks for reading! ☺