Preparing to leave life in Europe

In less than a month, we’ll be leaving Europe and heading back to Mexico. I have a lot of mixed feelings, but Tigger is ready for the leap.

Here are the things we’ll miss followed by the things we won’t.

Europe holidays


Mexico is full of culture, and the people are incredibly friendly with a great joie de vivre. With European countries being so close to each other and having to mingle so much, however, many cities have developed a mixed culture that is just simple to meld into. We’re familiar with the Mexican culture and have spent a lot of time there, but for the most part here we blend in with everyone else.

At least until we speak.

We can traipse all over Europe, and most of the time no one has any clue that we’re foreigners until verbal communication is required. In Mexico, we’ll stand out like a sore thumb once again which means having to deal with touts and taxi drivers trying to take advantage of the situation. Not my favorite part of life in Mexico.

Being fluent in Spanish helps with the taxis, but the touts spot you walking down the street. There’s little escape if you have to pass into the touristy areas at all.

Europe has great food


This one is more Tigger’s thing. I adore Mexican food and am wholeheartedly eager to dip back into that cuisine. England’s penchant for fairly bland food (according to my palate) fits in rather well with Tigger’s “but macaroni and cheese is a food group!” preferences.

I will miss the prevalence of good and inexpensive cheese the most.

Metros and trains

We will both miss the wonderful transportation system. In Mexico, to travel around we’ll either be relying on buses or airplanes. Maybe the occasional car rental, too. With the exception of Mexico City, there is no metro, and there definitely isn’t a fabulous train system like we’ve had throughout most of Europe. It really makes getting around so much easier!

I think I will miss this part the most.

What we won’t miss about Europe


Western Europe is so freaking expensive, especially when compared against the weaker US dollar. As much as I love this continent, so much of it is so beyond my typical budget that it hurts to explore it. Many places we’ve had to avoid simply because of the cost, like Scandinavia.

Europe food


While there is some rather good food here, especially in Romania and Czech, I’m SO ready for authentic Mexican food. I’m someone who likes food so spicy that it makes me sweat, and the European version of spicy is absolutely hilarious. I also can’t find hot enough peppers to make Thai food, something that won’t be a problem for me in Mexico.

I also won’t miss Europe’s version of bacon. It should be crispy, people! I do enjoy a full English or Scottish, but give me crispy streaky bacon please. And, UK, what’s up with the mushy sausage texture?

Europe homogeneity


While it has meant no touts, in some ways I’m looking forward to being surrounded by notably different cultures. Being in English-speaking countries is a double-edged sword. On one hand, I can understand everything. On the other, I can understand everything.

It’s the same issue as in Australia and New Zealand. I can hear and understand EVERYTHING without trying. Well, except for some Glaswegian accents. Mon dieu, are you sure you speak English, Glasgow?

Even though I speak Spanish, since it isn’t my native tongue it’s rather easy to tune it out in restaurants, etc., which gives me more peace in crowded areas. In Latin America, I don’t have to focus nearly as hard to tune out conversations.

The fact that I’m clearly different also opens up deeper conversations with locals, which is something I really enjoy. And being a foreigner who speaks their language makes me more of an oddity which makes them even more curious.

Europe is really comfortable. Sometimes too comfortable. I miss living somewhere that feels. . . more exotic.


Europe has so much to offer it makes it difficult for me to leave, but I know I’ll be back. We both love it.

In the meantime I’ll be thoroughly enjoying my tacos, cochinita pibil, chilaquiles, and aguas frescas. And I look forward to the pachangas. Y’all are way too sedate in Europe!

What are your favorite/least favorite parts of traveling in Europe?

Share This Post On


  1. The Mexicans just know how to party! Abit of hot spicy food and some tequila and you have a great night on your hands.

    I do love Europe. Coming from Australia where the oldest thing is 220 years, I found it just incredible to see things built (and still standing) from the 1600’s. And Paris is still my favorite city!

    Post a Reply
    • They DO know how to party! Something I love about them.

      I had a similar feeling as you about Europe. We’re from the US which also is a fairly young country. Being in and around buildings hundreds of years old was just a never-ending treat for me.

      Post a Reply
  2. Good luck on your next adventure! Will you be in Mexico for TBEX later this year?

    Post a Reply
  3. I’m surprised you found the British food bland but I suppose it depends where you eat. I lived in London for years and love the Gastropub culture and the variety and great quality of International food (although I do agree that the Mexican food leaves a lot to be desired!). I wasn’t a massive fan of the Mexican food I ate in Mexico over 5 weeks travelling through the country and found it quite bland a lot of the time. The best Mexican food I have eaten was definitely in the States as a lot of the time it was fresher and had more ingrediants on the plate. Mexico is one of my favourite countries and I am looking forward to reading your posts about it soon 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • Sounds like we’ve had very different experiences with food in Mexico! As you said, though, it often depends where you eat. Plus, I always tell them to prepare my food for Mexicans and not gringos. That might affect it.

      Post a Reply
  4. Even as an English woman I agree with most of what you say….especially the bacon!!!!! If you pass through York station again pick up a. Cornish pasty at the stall there. Not spicy but I think Tigger might like! Also the only decent English sausage is CumberlandSausage but not sure how easy or authentic it is outside of Cumbria!

    Post a Reply
    • We bought some sausage labeled as Cumberland sausage, and it was much better than the stuff we had been eating up north.

      Post a Reply
  5. I definitely feel you on the painful prices in Western Europe, especially as we came here direct from Asia. In London we managed fairly well as we found there were plenty of free things to do and we could eat relatively cheaply by picking up lunch sandwich deals, but we feel poor in Paris and at times we feel our experience is suffering slightly because it’s so hard to do this city on a budget. Not impossible, but when most of what we want to do here is eat & go to museums, well… that stuff all adds up, and it stings when even a cheap lunch out at a bistro comes to nearly $30US. For us, what we loved about Asia is that it’s a place that you can enjoy pretty well no matter whether you want to burn through your money or pinch your pennies… but Europe feels much harder to enjoy when you’re trying to keep costs down. Thank goodness one of the ways our travel style has evolved is so that we generally are content to just walk our legs off and stroll through cities for hours a day; at least that is still free!

    Post a Reply
    • France was a double shame for being so expensive because the food is SO good, but it’s so darned expensive, too. Esp in Paris. If you head to Eastern Europe, you’ll enjoy things much more I bet.

      Post a Reply
  6. “On one hand, I can understand everything. On the other, I can understand everything.”

    Double edged – so true. After nearly 3 years of gibberish swirling all around me (save for Oz where, yes the din of English was kind of annoying), I rather favor being able to tune out the persistent yammering of humanity.

    On the other hand yes, I sorely missed being able to enjoy an in-depth convo with the Vietnamese locals (no way could I ever hope to even halfway learn that insufferable 6-toned language). Indeed, that’s precisely why I shifted continents and moved here to Ecuador. The best of both worlds.

    Here, unearthing my long latent Spanish is proving easy-peasy and already I can crack jokes with taxi drivers! But like you, I’m not so fluent that I can’t tune it all out on cue. Hmmm… maybe I should keep it at this level… 😉

    Post a Reply
    • I don’t think it’s related to fluency. When you’re a native speaker, your mind doesn’t have to do any real work at deciphering something. When it’s an additional language, even if you’re quite fluent, you don’t tend to think in that language per se so your brain just lets it pass right on unless you decide to focus on it. I pick up bits and pieces, but it’s so much easier to tune out than English. Glad you’re enjoying Cuenca!

      Post a Reply
  7. I can certainly relate to this post though whenever I left Europe back in 2006 to head out to the States I thought I was heading to the ‘promised land’, though now living in Arkansas in the proverbial middle of nowhere it certainly makes me appreciate everything back in England. However, I certainly understand the pros and cons of both societies. Life here is much cheaper of course though in terms of cuisine I have to admit that I miss the good, old British food (though now that I have found Mexican food here, that is one type that I would sorely miss if I headed back across the pond).

    I am sure you guys will adjust back whenever you move to Mexico but it will have done you a world of good to experience both societies and cultures.

    Post a Reply
    • Southern food is definitely quite different from British! You’ve had quite the adjustment to make for sure.

      Post a Reply
  8. And Tequilla, limes, margaritas, chips, salsa, guacamole, really good flour tortillas, … Abi absolutely loves “good” Mexican food, I think he’d eat it every day if possible. I’ve heard good things about Playa del Carmen so I’m looking forward to reading your perspective.

    Speaking of food that makes you sweat… on our last day in D.C. (earlier this week) we went for Viet Namese food and Abi order pho. The owner asked Abi if he could add the hot sauces for Abi, to which he eagerly agreed as he loves spicy. A little while later I looked at Abi to discover he was mopping his brow with a napkin as the soup was so damn spicy, but he was smiling!

    Post a Reply
    • Definitely looking forward to being able to buy fresh tortillas that are still warm from the oven. Among a zillion other things. Just not the heat and humidity.

      Post a Reply
  9. I think it’s a huge misconception that English food is bland.. and I say that after having devoured my 2nd pasty in 2 days!! Haha. Enjoy Mexico – can’t wait to follow your adventures 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • Well, I’ve been eating it for a few months, and it’s pretty bland to me. Even the “spicy” curry I had in London was mild to me. I’ve had some good stuff, it just tends to be bland to my palate.

      Post a Reply
  10. I agree, Europe has it’s charm with tons of conveniences. The metro is amazing! But Mexico is a place I love. I could eat Mexican food all day long. The people are friendly and although transportation can be difficult, a bus ride full of locals is a memorable experience.

    Post a Reply
  11. I know exactly what you mean about the crispy bacon and the authentic Mexican food. It’s impossible to get a simple salsa here in Munich. And there’s nothing to a simple salsa; they simply don’t know how to do it. I go directly to a Mexican restaurant the first day I’m back in the States. Always.

    Post a Reply
    • I was craving salsa so badly in Europe! You are so right about it. Just no comparison whatsoever.

      Post a Reply


  1. Tips for using Airbnb Paris and for other places in Europe | All About Travel - […] Preparing to leave life in Europe […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *