In today’s interview we speak with Martin and Lorena Cagnotti  two expat Argentinians who made the decision 13 years ago to move from their home town of Buenos Aires to the hubbub of Mexico City. After 7 years there they have now settled into the idyllic seaside community of Playa del Carmen where they are raising their two children through unschooling.

We met up with them to discuss living in one of the world’s largest cities, why they moved to Playa del Carmen and to talk about many of the myths and fears round home schooling and unschooling children and why they feel it has been the best thing for their development.

You can follow their adventures and ask them questions about living in Playa del Carmen at their website, http://thenomadicadventures.com . If you’re a family and into home exchanging with other families of similar age then check out their new home swapping website www.familyhomeexchange.com

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What I learned from speaking with Martin and Lorena:

  1. Mexico City has an unfair reputation as an unsafe place to visit. The Cagnotti’s loved their time there and had no issues with safety. Mexico is a city of extremes in wealth and poverty yet all seem to live together side by side with no ill feeling or tension.
  2. Playa del Carmen offers a quieter lifestyle than the busier party town of Cancun only an hour away. If you’re after a slower pace of life it’s certainly an option with an increasing number of expat families and retirees settling there. Like any holiday town it has it’s tourists areas and local areas and it’s important to get out and about and explore beyond the beaches if looking to shift there (if you want to know more about Cancun check out our interview with Jen and Jay Kerwood)
  3. Unschooling is not about leaving your children to run amuck. It is really about letting them discover what they are interested in then showing them how to learn the relevant skills to help them. By understanding why they need to learn and how to practically apply it, it gives their learning more purpose and gives them a reason to learn.
  4. Unschooling or home schooling doesn’t mean your children are outside the curriculum indefinitely. In Mexico they are still able to pass exams that allow them to tick the right boxes for further education and as Lainie Liberti also spoke about more and more colleges and universities are accepting children who have been raised in an unschooled environment.
  5. As Alyson Long and Andrew and Daryl Grant will also testify to unschooling or home schooling does not leave your children lacking for social interaction. The Cagnotti kids still attend classes in art and music and interact more often with other children who are being home schooled or unschooled than they would have done in the classroom environment. They love what unschooling has offered them and wouldn’t change what they are doing.

Check out this episode!

You’ll love today’s interview with Stephenie and Tony Harrison. In 2013 these guys hit the road for an undetermined length of time relying on savings they had made during the previous 3 years. (Tony had been a graphic designer while Stephenie was completing research for her degree in neuroscience). 12 months into their journey they knew they wanted to travel fulltime – Tony could pick up work doing graphics and designing websites but what could Stephenie do?

Recognizing her skills in research they discovered an opportunity in Google adwords and Stephenie has now firmly established an online business that she never could have imagined when they left. As she loves to say – you don’t need to see the whole staircase to climb the stairs!

You can find out more about their adventures and online businesses via their website http://www.20yearshence.com

Stephenie Harrison - 20 Years Hence Stephenie Harrison - 20 Years Hence Stephenie Harrison - 20 Years Hence

What I learned from speaking with Tony and Stephenie:

  1. You don’t need your income in place when you leave. These guys didn’t even know how long they would go for – but once they decided they needed money they approached it in a very pragmatic fashion. Much like Stacey Kuyf these guys have been willing to make up the income as they go along.
  2. Going home to cement their future was important. They were disciplined enough to return state side to build up their business before leaving again…and they set some very clear income and timeframe goals as to what and when they needed it by. Had they stayed on the road the process of building their business may have taken longer and been more expensive.
  3. They told everyone their plans. It’s easy to be quiet in case you fail but by letting others know what you want to do means opportunities open up – as happened with Google adwords.
  4. Traveling with pets needn’t be a hassle. They have found crossing into Mexico relatively easy. They secured a health certificate for both dogs before going and although they may occasionally pay a little more in rent because of animals, the costs of good quality vet care, which is easy to find, is as little as 1/3 to ¼ of what they would pay in the U.S.
  5. You can find affordable parts of Playa del Carmen – their rent of $US480 per month include utilities and internet for a one bedroom apartment near the ocean…and at $US13 per day to have two meals per day out life isn’t so bad!
  6. I loved Stephenie’s saying about learning to value her happiness. Sometimes you can be made to feel guilty for doing what you love. It’s a timely reminder that we are all here to enjoy life while we have it.

Check out this episode!

Although Barnaby Andersun had lived the typical suburban lifestyle of house, mortgage and car for 18 years in Brisbane,Australia he always knew that with a portable business there was a less stressful option that would cost him less and allow him to travel the world on his own terms.

In 2012 he finally made the leap, taking his branding business with him. He started in Bali, before moving to Chiang Mai, back to Bali, on to Canada and New York before settling in over the last 6 months in Mexico. Barnaby sees himself as a citizen of the world and loves the freedom his lifestyle affords him.

He now runs an online business which employs over 50 web designers (all based in the Ukraine) and he’s currently doing it from a beachfront housesit overlooking the Carribbean in Xcalak Mexico .

To find out more about Barnaby check out his website at http://learntolivefree.com

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What I learned from speaking with Barnaby Andersun:

  1. Barnaby has given a lot of thought to his lifestyle and embraced it whole hog. He’s not just a temporary traveler with a travel blog – he’s turned his lifestyle into a serious business filled with adventure along the way. He’s mastered the art of cutting costs while maximizing income.
  2. Again Barnaby has emphasized how little it costs to live the location independent lifestyle. His current abode in Mexico costs him around $10 every couple of days for food, being a housesitting position everything else is largely paid for.
  3. It’s never been easier to make an online income than it is today. There are so many online resources that can make the average layperson into an internet expert. Even if you don’t want to make money online simply letting out a mortgage free house can be enough. One of Barnabys house-sharing friends has been traveling the world for a number of years just funded by $20000 in rental income from a place he owns. Maybe you could too.
  4. Try before you buy. Barnaby spent two months living out of a suitcase in Sydney to see how well he would handle it. He believes most people should try it in small steps as you never know what or where might appeal to you as a traveler.
  5. Earning an online income doesn’t have to be expensive to set up. Be prepared that the first thing you try might not work but as long as you don’t throw a lot of money at it nothing is lost. Try again until you find the niche that works best. Don’t forget you don’t need a lot of money to live like a king in many parts of the world.

Check out this episode!

Being an expat doesn’t have to mean leaving your old life behind. An increasing number of people are enjoying the benefits of their home life while spending a significant portion of the year in other locations – and you don’t have to be a retiree to do this.

Jen and Jay Kerwood are Toronto natives who have spent the last 3 northern winter living in Cancun, Mexico. They spend around 8 months of the year there, returning to Toronto during the summer months when the weather is more settled.

Jen and Jay aren’t the baby boomer generation either – they are able to combine a portable worklife with the opportunity to travel and enjoy the best things that Mexico has to offer.

We apologize for the internet quality on this interview.

To get in touch with Jen and Jay and discover more about their lifestyle you can contact them via their blog at www.mexicoeh.com

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What I learned from Jen and Jays interview:

  1. Becoming an expat doesn’t have to be a fulltime commitment. These guys get the best of both worlds – avoiding the harsh Toronto winters but able to spend time at home catching up with friends and family and enjoying the benefits of big city life.
  2. Cancun has two parts to it. You can be a tourist along the beachfront but step back a few blocks and you’ll find a world of locals, very little English spoken and an affordable lifestyle – plus plenty of expats to make you feel welcome
  3. Cancun can be a great stepping off point for visiting other parts of Mexico and Central America. It’s a centralized location with many interesting areas you can visit within a short drive from its beautiful shores
  4. Mexico isn’t just for retirees. Although the expat community has its fair share of the older generation more and more younger people with portable lifestyles are enjoying the benefits it has to offer.

Love Mexico? Happy to live in million dollar homes for free with the housekeepers and gardeners while the owners are away? If this sounds like the lifestyle for you then you’d better listen to today’s show. Jason and Deidre enjoyed a six figure corporate income in Kansas City but they were stressed, unhappy and never had any money left at the end of the month. The passing of a friend made them realize that life didn’t go on forever and that waiting for retirement was not the best way to live their lives.

3 years ago they packed up and moved to Mexico, spending a year renting before getting themselves into housesitting in Mexico and they haven’t looked back. They regularly get more houses to sit than they can handle, especially from repeat clients, but are still driven by a desire for a new experience.

Click the podcast link to listen to the Mizes sharing their inside tips of Mexico housesitting. You can follow them in more detail at their website http://awolamericans.com

Flamingos in Mexico Morning kayak in MexicoJason and Deidre Mize AWOL Americans

What I learned from speaking with the Mizes:

  1. Mexico is easy to get into with 6 month visas being the norm for most travelers. Even leaving at the end of your stay needn’t be a problem with a 72 hour turnaround before you re-enter the country. The Mizes know people who have spent 10 years travelling in and out on holiday visas – that said do your homework and make sure you have the right paperwork if you’re serious about committing.
  2. Housesitting may not be for everyone but there sure is a lot of wins to it. You do have to shed much of what you own (and many see this as an advantage in itself) and saying goodbye to pets you get attached to can be hard but the pluses (did we mention the million dollar homes) the chance to travel and the serious reduction in travel costs make it all worthwhile.
  3. You can negotiate with rebels. Their hilarious story of being stopped on a country road is worth hearing in itself (don’t let it put you off Mexico though, their experience has been crime free so far)

Check out this episode!