And another change blows in

I had an interesting dream last night.

The whole dream focused on me shopping for new earrings. They had a pretty good selection, but none of them were really what I had been looking for. I was poring over all the choices carefully, but there was always just something about each pair that wasn’t “it.” They were either the wrong size or wrong shape. Some beautiful ones were hanging droplets, but I wanted studs.

In my dreamscape, it took an incredibly long time to search through all of these various pieces of jewelry. I ended up waking before finding a selection that I liked enough to buy.

time in budapest

It made sense initially. Before we left Budapest, I had my other ear pierced. Last night I saw my calendar reminder that the piercing had been in long enough that I can change to a different set of earrings.

The source seems obvious, right? While normally I’d proclaim that interpretation a slam dunk, something else has been going on in the background.

We’re back in the UK doing a series of house sits. Being back in England has reminded me how much more enjoyable something as simple as grocery shopping can be when you know the language. During travel, going grocery shopping is part of the adventure. Especially if you want something seemingly simple like cream for a sauce. Will it be in the dairy section or on the shelf? Practically every dairy product has a cow on the container or a spoon filled with some type of cream, but it could be yogurt, sour cream, clotted cream . . .

When you’re living somewhere long term, though, sometimes adventure gets, well, old. Sometimes you want just want to go to the store and find exactly what you’re looking for without spending 15 minutes with Google Translate since the poor store employee has no clue what you’re asking for.

And sometimes even Google surrenders and admits it has no clue.


After spending the last 7 months playing the Schengen Zone game, I think it’s fair to say I’m just sick of dealing with visas as well.

After falling in love with Budapest, I paid attention to my feelings as we returned to France and our very brief stay in Romania to pick up our luggage. We both continue to be deeply enamored with Budapest. Even though I still love Paris, I have to say Budapest has replaced it as my #1. Tigger says it’s his top choice as well.

It’s nice to be in agreement on a location. Sure makes choices easier.

However, there is “Let’s stay there for a few months,” and then there’s “Let’s make it our base.” They are different experiences and a very different mind set. Adventure versus comfort.

There is also “What about winter?”

gdansk, poland

I feel like our search for a base has been very much like my earring shopping dream. We’ve had so many absolutely wonderful choices, but none have really been “The One.”

Budapest was extremely close. I could even ignore its winter, and for a while Tigger agreed. We both looked forward to returning.

The longer we’ve remained rooted in our house sit, though, the more time I’ve had to ponder. The allure has faded as I’ve contemplated the visa hassle we’re in for. Budapest is still my #1 city, but at this stage I just don’t know that I want to go through all the visa complications and the language ones.

Mexico has continued to call us back. It definitely isn’t “the perfect choice” either, but we do love and miss it. Even though we’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico, Tigger has not experienced a lot of the country. He has only seen the Yucatan, which is very different from other regions of the country.

During our travels, we have often avoided areas heavy with expats because we wanted to experience more of the local culture. For long-term, though, having a solid expat community can actually be a bonus, especially if there are expat families with teens.

This was one problem I had with Budapest. There were plenty of families with little kids, but finding an English-speaking teen was a big challenge.


We have a good friend in San Miguel de Allende (SMA), and I know there are lots of expat families with teens there. Yes, Tigger will learn Spanish and make local friends as well, but he needs friends he can easily communicate with while he’s learning the language. And he also needs some friends who are a bit more culturally close to him.

Mexico grants us 6 months, and I’m fluent in Spanish, so that knocks out the two biggest complications.

It’s also easier being gay in Mexico than in Hungary. That is something I do need to factor in as well.

Our plan is not set in stone (Duh!), but for now the idea is that in late December/early January we’re returning to Mexico. We’re going to give SMA a shot and see how we feel. We may end up in another part of Mexico, or we may return to Budapest. Or something else. But right now having 6 months on arrival, being in a place I already speak the language (and Tigger has retained some Spanish), being around English-speaking teens for Tigger, getting to spend more time with a dear friend, and having a more temperate winter is a winning combination.

Are you surprised our plans have changed?

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  1. Talon, I’m not surprised you choose that city.
    San Miguel de Allende has one of the biggest expat community and it’s beautiful.
    Some good friends just moved there because of the weather and culture it has.
    We’ll be going for Christmas and may stay for a month, so maybe we’ll meet there!! 🙂

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  2. I was so excited by the idea of you guys ending up in Budapest because I think it’s such an awesome city (at least from what I saw being there a week) but your reasons for not landing there and trying Mexico instead make so much sense. It really is important to have other expats around if you’re staying somewhere long term, and no matter how much you try to integrate with the local society, you need comforts and familiarity too. And Spanish is a much easier language than Hungarian! Oh, and winter…yeah, winters in Europe are rough, and I’m always trying to figure out a way out for at least some of the winter, so I can completely understand how Mexico wins out in that battle. Good luck with your time there, no matter how long it ends up being!

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    • We really want it to be Budapest, but when we factor in the language, visa hassles, and winter. . . Sigh.

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  3. I would be surprised if you weren’t changing your plans, rather than the fact that you are! That’s the beauty of this lifestyle eh? Sounds like an excellent choice for the both of you.

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    • That is definitely one of the great parts of this lifestyle. Although sometimes it WOULD be nicer to be able to make a decision more easily. lol

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  4. Change is the only constant, and to your point, if it isn’t “the one”, if it still doesn’t feel comfortable in your core, you need to keep looking for it.

    Buena suerte en tu regreso a Mexico!

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  5. LOL Not surprised at all. I think maybe it’s harder when you’ve traveled because you are very aware of all the choices! The times I’ve put everything in storeage and hoped to find a new base on my travels I never found anywhere that made more sense for me than the Canary Islands do. That said, there are times when I hate it! It’s a pretty similar choice to yours, I think, it’s my equivalent to Mexico (as a Brit) in many ways. I speak enough of the language for most things. I do avoid the expat “community” like the plague, though. I am told whatever nationality they are “all the same.” Not that I have no British friends, but they tend to have the same views on that as I do. Let’s face it, if we lived “back home” we wouldn’t assume that we would like everyone on the block, would we, so why should we have anything in common other than the language? Ah, language. Yes, I do miss that. I would love for there to be more choice at the cinema or I could watch documentaries on TV; I wish I could go to a play occasionally; I wish Chrome wouldn’t assume that I want to see sites in Spanish because this where I happen to be! I wish bureaucracy wasn’t so convoluted, because that’s when my language skills often fail! But, it’s good to have a base in times of trouble, somewhere familar even if you infrequently make it back! I hope Mexico works out for you. Your reasoning is always so logical, I can’t fault it, but end of the day, the gut decides I think, and then again, what may be right today, may not be tomorrow, when circumstances change!

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    • It is definitely harder when you have so many places you really enjoy and love. And it’s such a hard decision as well.

      I’ve had mixed experiences with expat communities, but I do find it can be hard for me to find “my tribe” in them as easily. So many have the mindset from their homes that I often find myself internally asking “Then why in the hell are you here?”

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  6. I suppose I’m not totally surprised that your plans have changed since that seems to be the norm for you! 🙂 Having spent 5 months in Mexico now and checking out different parts of the country, I can definitely say that it’s a really diverse place and the inland cities definitely have a different vibe from the beach areas (and every city we’ve spent time in has felt different from all the others!). Like you, when we are traveling we tend to gravitate towards the more “off the beaten path” places, but when we were considering where we might want to spend a full 6 months in Mexico, we decided that it actually made sense to move to a place that has a larger expat presence as it would likely have some more of the creature comforts we enjoy and we might have a better chance at actually making some friends. We haven’t visited SMA yet, so I have no idea what it’s like, but you also have Guanojuato near by which is also supposed to have a fairly robust expat base. And there is also Oaxaca, where we just spent a month, which might be an interesting base too. Plenty of options for you guys in Mexico! Buen Viaje!

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    • It is definitely our norm. On Facebook I joked that perhaps our surname should be “Changes with the Wind.”

      I really like Oaxaca, and it’s definitely on the list if SMA doesn’t work out. So is Chiapas.

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  7. Cool! We’ll be ‘next door’ in Oaxaca, so perhaps we’ll end up meeting. We plan on being in Oaxaca until April, and will definitely be through SMA. I was there about 15 years ago and loved it, although I’m sure it’s changed a lot. Enjoy your next adventure!

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    • Cool! We’ll have to keep in touch. I want Tigger to see some of Oaxaca, so we may come down there for a bit as a side trip if we decide SMA is our base after all.

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  8. A nomads plans are made in sand … Enjoy the journey! 😉

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    • I’m hoping we do as well because I would LOVE to be near you! We have so much fun when we’re together, and you’re such an amazing person.

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