Tag Archives: Daniel Gair

Inspiring Authors in Mexico–Daniel T. Gair

Daniel T. Gair is originally from Maine, U.S.A. and is currently living full time at Rancho Sol y Mar in Jalisco. Here’s what he has to say about his life.

Mexico had loomed large in my mind since, in junior high, a friend’s older brother came back from a trip to Mexico with his buddies, and regaled all of us younger boys with stories of the adventure. Just the word itself “Mexico” seemed larger than life while growing up. In many ways, it has remained so to this day.

The property we bought in Jalisco was a catalyst for a total makeover of Holly’s and my life. We’ve transitioned from a norm of black-tie fundraisers and cocktail parties to shoveling goat poo and tending chickens. Perhaps the largest transition is that I’ve gone from a life of jetting around the world, to living quite simply, and swearing off red meat and all unnecessary plane travel in an effort to limit my carbon footprint. My main focus in life has become the pursuit of a more sustainable lifestyle, and Mexico, with its ample sunshine, and relaxed regulations, has been the perfect place to follow that intention.

Other than the above practical day-to-day belief system changes, I don’t think my underlying spiritual beliefs have changed any. My beliefs are pretty standard issue Buddhist: Live with integrity. Be as present and in-the-moment as possible. Don’t harm other living beings unnecessarily. Be kind and truthful.

I’ve gotten calmer and more disciplined in my approach to things. I’d like to believe I’ve gotten softer and kinder. I’m trying to live less in my head, more in-the-moment, and to go easier on myself, but that is still a work in progress.

Achieving basic fluency in Spanish has been a big challenge that I have overcome. I have also overcome a lot of my core, day to day fear. I’ve had a good life. What comes now is the icing.

I’d say that other than all the challenges described in the book, the most intractable challenge is breaking through culture and language barriers to achieve the fullest assimilation possible. That and reducing my carbon footprint to as close to zero as possible, which, I’m finding, is a much, much larger challenge than I had anticipated. Creating community at the property is an ongoing challenge. Other challenges I face include missing friends and family and having good pavement to ride my bike on.

I try to take care of myself by eating well, meditating, and getting some good aerobic exercise daily.

I’m deeply proud of my daughter Aja who is one of the smartest, compassionate, and well-adjusted people I know. I am proud of how well Holly and I have dealt with mountains of stress getting to this point in our lives, and, even though the tracks of our lives have diverged a lot, especially with my current self-imposed travel ban, I’m proud that we have still remained committed to keeping our love intact and growing. I’m proud of what we’ve created here at the ranch. It makes me feel hopeful when I see young people get excited by the Permaculture Principals we are practicing, and I feel empowered to see the efforts we’ve made beginning to bear fruit (literally and figuratively). Lastly, I have to say, I’m proud of the book. I think I’ve transmitted a fun, insightful read, and that the stories carry with them a deeper message of respect for culture and nature.

The day we found the ranch was the defining moment in my life in Mexico. Where we’re becoming more and more self-sufficient, I no longer care much about all the consumer choices that we’ve left behind. Part and parcel with that, I barely ever worry about money anymore. We live off a combination of investments, social security, and rental income from a couple of properties, one here, and one in the States. I also have a dribble of photography residuals. As a retired photographer, Mexico has always provided me with visual inspiration. The country folk of Mexican, with their grit and positive attitude, despite so often having the deck stacked against them, are a constant source of inspiration.

I spend my free time reading, listening to and playing music, bicycling, horseback riding, swimming and taking walks with Holly.

As for writing aspirations, for now, it’s all about pushing this little bird, The Mexico Diaries, out of the nest, and seeing if it can fly. I’ve also begun writing regular articles and book reviews for Permaculture North America Magazine, and I intend to continue with that. I am re-working one of the chapters in the book, The Ride To Talpa, into a submission for Outdoor Magazine, or possibly others. Depending on how the book is received, I may begin a follow-up. Just a few weeks ago we had a story-worthy incident where a volunteer we had headed here turned out to be on the Atlanta Top Ten Most Wanted list and was being sought by both the FBI and U.S. Marshal’s Service. We helped stall him until his capture by U.S. agents posted in Mexico city. Seriously, this shit keeps writing itself! Lastly, I have a couple of fiction book ideas that I’m kicking around.

Take it from me, you won’t want to miss out on the adventures found in Dan’s book The Mexico Diaries: A Sustainable Adventure available now at Amazon!

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Book Review–The Mexico Diaries by Daniel Theodore Gair

A few months ago I was privileged enough to be a Beta reader for The Mexico Diaries: A Sustainable Adventure South of the Border. What a read!

The adventure for empty-nesters Dan and his wife Holly begins in 2005 when they began their search for that little bit of heaven everyone hopes to find in Mexico. Making a real estate purchase on the strength of a handshake and a scrap of paper from a less than emotionally stable guy named Steven, Dan and Holly struggle with completing the purchase long-distance, wading through the quagmire of ejido land grants, and the agonizing slow legal process Mexico is famous for.

These aren’t the only challenges. There are language and communication issues, both locally and further afield. The internet being what it is in Mexico has Dan climbing trees looking for a strong enough signal to complete important financial transactions. Then there is the constant battle with the local wildlife, snakes, iguanas, lizards, and tarantulas, that just don’t agree with the new rule that their place is OUTSIDE the house. Repairs and new construction projects are stubbornly done the Mexican way, much to the new owners’ bafflement while baby goats dance merrily on the top of vehicles.

Four years, a heart attack that nearly ends the deal for the would-be eco-warriors (spoiler alert–neither Dan nor Holly had the heart attack), and a few headaches later, 40 hectares of Mexican paradise is theirs and the real work begins. A whole slew of unimaginable characters, both human and animal, make their entrance (and sometimes spectacular exits) into Dan and Holly’s lives as they endeavor to create the self-sustainable lifestyle they envisioned.

Over the next few years, Holly becomes a goat-wrangler and Dan becomes the mascot for the yearly Mayto Calbalgata horseback pilgrimages. There’s no doubt in my mind that when the time finally comes for their Mexican adventure to end they’ll be able to say that they took to heart Hunter S. Thompson’s concept of life.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and lou.jpg

So if you are looking for a whirlwind Mexican journey to sustainability and beyond I’m positive you’ll enjoy the stranger than fiction story found in The Mexico Diaries: A Sustainable Adventure by Daniel Theodore Gair. Available free for a limited time at Amazon!

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