Best Sites for Expats and Expat Wannabes
Once you become an expat or potential expat, two continuing education goals coalesce. The first is keeping up with new online sources of information and entertainment from the U.S . The second is learning to better understand your new country and how to navigate it.
It’s not easy. In most Mexican home town newspapers, the most newsworthy items in expat newspapers are community issues like fights against antennas disguised as pine trees or a wild cat getting loose and killing a chihuahua (The Guadalajara Reporter).
You worry that with such thought-provoking fare that your expat brain, in the words of a popular White Stripes song, will turn into ‘pancake batter.”
A straight diet of beautiful sunsets, live outdoor music and early morning strolls through the market is not good for you in the same way frosted brownies at every meal aren’t (Or so I’ve been told they aren’t).
Most of my readers are thinking about moving to Mexico and want to do research.
Here of some sites and blogs that I like. So many blogs about Mexico are not updated (some haven't posted since 2009 and still come up in the first pages of search...what's up with that?)
Mexperience - Mexperience is website for basic how-tos on moving to Mexico; buying insurance, owning a car, customs, laws, everything you can think of.
They sell little e-books for a few dollars apiece that go into more detail on any given subject. The main reason I don’t go into these subjects on my website is that Mexperience usually does a adequate job.
Lonely Planet Type “Mexico” in the search bar for a nice variety of stories pertaining to Mexican culture, events, famous tourist sites and news.
The Matador Network - A little more playful and youthful than Lonely Planet, search “Mexico” for the same kind of stories as Lonely Planet plus some whimsical observations on the culture, cuisine the Spanish language.
The Truth About Mexico - Feeling a little queasy from all the stories about how Mexico’s falling apart, what with all the violence and kidnappings on every corner? Read this and calm down. Here’s the truth about Mexico by the people who actually live there.
Mexico Mike - This blog has been the bible for a few of the single men I know in preparing for their move to Mazatlán. We're kind of friends now and he's a great guy.
Two Expats Living in Mexico - This popular expat blog gives detailed how-to's on Mexico once you live here, especially if you're considering the Yucatan. The author, a former Florida sheriff gives detailed advice on safety and saving money in Mexico. It's the level of detail you won't need until you actually get here.
The Mexico Monitor - a sound blog on Mexico law, business and politics by Jess Heath, an attorney based in Mexico City.
Expat Focus - has a very good forum that, unlike others, seems well-maintained and has recent postings.
Pinterest - I know, I know. It sounds funny.
The best use of Pinterest for expats is cooking. When I moved to Mexico, I had to throw many of old my recipes away because their ingredients weren't available in Mexico, or the recipes tasted different.
Pinterest’s search feature was a life-saver to find Mexican dishes translated and recipes that used ingredients available in Mexico, like avocado and mango. [See the Ventanas Mexico Pinterest board for recipes tested in Mexico.)
Since I’m not so sure of the vigilance of Mexico’s FDA (Do they even have one?) and you can’t always translate ingredients on bottles, it can be a little frightening testing out hair and skin care products. Pinterest features recipes for making your own shampoos, sugar scrubs and lotions from botanicals easily available here. Many photos are heavily photo-shopped so beware: Your results may vary.
Remember, you can read and read, but nothing comes close to having an extended visit. Too much research just provokes unnecessary anxiety.
It’s impossible to weigh things properly from just research. You can easily get overwhelmed by minutia. By experiencing Mexico early in the process, you can gain the proper perspective and know what to focus on.
Related link: Mexico can feel just like home when it comes to entertainment at home. - Ventanas Mexico
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Hola, I am a partner with Ventanas Mexico which provides insight and resources to people considering expat life in Mexico, including "If I Only Had a Place," a guide for the aspiring expat on how to rent luxuriously in Mexico for less.
I am also author of the "Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online," a curation of the best Spanish language tools on the web. You are never to old to learn a new language, and it's one of the best ways to keep your brain young. Get started for your life in Mexico.