Tag Archives: surviving in Mexico

Surviving Voluntary Exile: How to overcome common obstacles to making a successful life transition

If you’ll remember, I created a course called Surviving Voluntary Exile: Overcoming Common Obstacles to Making a Successful Life Transition a few months ago designed to help those struggling with living in a new country at CourseCraft. That course is still available, but I wanted to expand the information’s reach. I know that some live in areas where regular internet access makes taking online courses difficult.

So today I’m pleased to announce that Surviving Voluntary Exile: How to overcome common obstacles to making a successful life transition is available in ebook and print format. The ebook has all the basic information and links to the optional readings, while the print book has journal pages for you to complete the activities that will help you create your best life in your adopted country.

voluntary exile

You can get the ebook free from Amazon for the next few days.


The course is still available and is a great option for those who want the interaction of a supportive community as they work through the lessons. In celebration of the release of the book format, the course is also on sale. enroll now

course cover square

I hope that with these new methods of distribution, more exiled, deported, migrant, or expat women will find a way to make it work despite the hardships.


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A to Z Challenge Reflections


Whew!  We made it!  Now you know that the best bug out location is found in central Mexico.  Let me know when you are ready to make the move.

Posting every day was an exhausting experience.  I have to be honest here.  I worked on these posts for about 6 months prior to the challenge.  Yep.  Sure enough. Even after having a draft ready to post for each of the 26-day challenge, it was a lot of work.  Some of the links I included no longer existed.  There were some typographical errors to fix.  Sometimes new information had come to light since I had written the draft (like that volcano crater forming just minutes from my home).   And then sometimes I just wasn’t happy with the draft and redid the post completely.  Facebook decided it would rather share my disclaimer image than any of the photos and graphics in my posts, so that was annoying.  Then I had some additional obligations and blog posts I had to SQUEEEEZE in during the month.  Well, I made it!

I expect reading daily posts was a bit overwhelming for you as well.  Did you miss any? I’ll post links at the end for you.

bingo board

Part of the A to Z Blogging ChallengeA to Z Blogging Challenge was to read and comment on other participants’ blogs.  This year there was a Bingo board to help with the motivation.  Although I worked diligently at finding the Bingo squares (and sharing them on Twitter) I wasn’t able to get a Bingo.  Darnit!  I hate to lose!  I did read a number of good blog posts though in the process, so I guess it wasn’t a total waste.

Right now, I’m not sure that I will participate next year in the challenge.  I haven’t come up with a fabulous and relevant topic yet.  If you have any ideas, let me know, please!  I have determined to do a 31-day challenge sponsored by Writers Bra,  but don’t worry,  I plan on spacing the posts out over the course of several months.


Here are the links to all 26 posts in the series A to Z Reasons Why La Yacata is the Place to be WTSHTF (when the sh*t hits the fan).



C-climate change


E-EMP Attack


G-global economic collapse


I-impact of an asteroid



L-lightning strike

M-martial law

N-nuclear disaster

O-oil shortage




S-solar storm


U-UFO invasion

V-volcanic eruption

W-wind storm

X-toxic cloud






Filed under Carnival posts

Surviving Years in La Yacata

La Yacata is more than a bug-out location for our family. It’s our home. Our quest to become self-sufficient is more than a temporary fix. It’s our lifestyle.

surviving all you get

At times, it’s irksome, inconvenient and downright agonizing. Sometimes, we want to just throw in the towel. We’ve had more than our fair share of disasters living here in Mexico, and most probably will experience even more disasters in the future.

So what enables us to continue this life which we’ve been attempting for 10 years now?

Here are some tips.


Having hobbies. Each of us has our favorite pastime. My son and I love to read. We have a pretty good library of actual books and our Kindles.  My son has taken up the guitar. He’s taken some classes, but for the most part been self-taught. My husband’s main pastime involves caring for our ever changing livestock selection. Sometimes it’s chickens and rabbits, other times, goats and sheep. We’ve had horses, donkeys, turkeys, quail, ducks and even a cow for a time. We all like to watch movies on our rechargeable DVD players. We like to go on day adventures. There are so many beautiful places here to visit. I knit and sew. Having hobbies keeps us sane. (See also Finding your Passion)

Being flexible about our income sources. You name it, we’ve probably tried it. We are not yet self-sufficient and as such find it necessary to supplement our income with outside work. We’ve sharecropped, taught classes, done bricklaying, baked bread, sold fruits and vegetables, had a store, worked in a store, and even collected and sold aluminum cans and rusty metal. All of these have been learning experiences for us. And while some jobs pay better than others, we never consider ourselves too good for any work. It certainly adds variety to our daily routines. (See also Finding your Passion)

self reliance

Doing it ourselves. My husband built our house from scratch. It’s still quite a work in progress. It’s nearly an organic entity, growing and changing as our needs change. We’ve had plumbers, carpenters, and metalworkers come and do the things that are beyond my husband’s skill, but the bulk of the work he has done himself. We grow some of our own food, although that too is a work in progress. We collect most of our own water. Doing it ourselves keeps us from becoming too dependent on governmental agencies. (See also Homesteading and Prepping)


Having goals. We have both short and long term goals. Getting solar panels is something we hope to be able to do in the next few years. Becoming totally self-sufficient is something that will take longer.  (See also Homesteading and Prepping) My son finishes formal schooling next year. Finding an apprentice type position with a carpenter or mariachi band is his next goal. My husband’s goal is to finish the second floor of our house. My goal is to move away from teaching in the Mexican school system and do more freelancing. Having goals helps us keep our focus on the bigger picture when day-to-day challenges present themselves.

change survival

Being adaptable. The key to making this lifestyle work is the ability to be adaptable to whatever comes our way. It’s either feast or famine sometimes. It has taken some re-orientation on our part to prepare for the worst while things are going well. It’s taken some attitude adjustment to get through the times when things don’t go quite so well. Being adaptable gives us the incentive to grin and bear it in gratitude.


I’d like to say that we’ve mastered the art of survival, but that simply isn’t true. We do the best we can with what we have at the moment and so far have been lucky. As you’ve seen in this month’s posts, there are things that are impossible to prepare for. So if and when they do present themselves, we will give it our best shot and hope for the best. If we survive life in La Yacata, well, great! If not, at least we tried.


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Filed under Alternative Farming, Animal Husbandry, Carnival posts, Cultural Challenges, Homesteading

Modern Day Marias–Maria, an indomitable woman

What was Maria’s life like in Egypt?  She was a foreigner, unfamiliar with the best places to buy meat or flour, unsure of her welcome in the community.  Did she keep to herself, hiding behind her new roles as mother and wife, or more likely,  did she take on tasks within the community and become a woman other women sought out for counsel or assistance?

Today’s Modern Day Maria is the latter.  She has always been liberal in sharing her wisdom in our virtual community of women here in Mexico.  Her words have soothed many a troubled heart.  Her wisdom has lit the candle of hope for others.  It can be said of today’s Maria that “Strength and honour are her clothing”  (Proverbs 31:25) and “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31: 26).  Here is her story.


I’m Maria. I go by Maria De Acosta as I’ve adopted my husband’s family name as I have no family of my own. I am from California. I now live in a small village on the Sea of Cortez on the Baja Peninsula. I am here by choice 10 years – how it came about is a very long, personal story. I met my husband here in Mexico. I had known his family for many years. He moved back to town and his family introduced us. I knew my in-laws for years before meeting my husband, so it was an easy transition to a family relationship. I loved my mother-in-law dearly. My father-in-law stays to himself. My husband’s sister is the head of the family and is very supportive of me.

Has my life changed? Incredibly so! I am forever a foreigner in a foreign land. I will live out my life here in Mexico. I find myself closer to the people of this town and find a richness of life I’d never known before. I’m able to serve the community as a volunteer in the veterinary clinic and dental clinic. I love it passionately. Living in service is a true privilege! I want to learn to use the anesthesia machine at the veterinary clinic, and I want to be trained to clean teeth at the dental clinic. Much opportunity is here.

I learn every day the value of simplicity, making do, repair and reuse. As to belief system, I do not hold to a religion. I hold myself to being honest, kind, helpful and ethical – that will never change! I realize I am more intelligent, capable and gifted, stronger emotionally than I ever knew. Since moving to Mexico, I speak Spanish better. I wish to become fluent in Spanish but have no formal teacher – everyone in town is my teacher. I want to become as fluent in Spanish as I am in English.


Like Eartha Kitt said whenever she’d come onstage, “I’m still here!” This means I’ve overcome the challenges, persevered and not only have survived them but welcome them into my being. The most defining moment of my life was when I swam out of my house in a flood with two kittens in my arms, got to safety on high ground. I heard there were two people still in their homes on the river, so immediately put the kittens into a car with a couple of guys staying out of the hurricane; I was the only woman to volunteer to be one of 5 people to go back down into the river to search for these people. They were found hanging on the window bars of their house. Their lives were saved that night.

I have lived through several hurricanes and floods. I faced death several times in the first hurricane/flood. I have lived in less-than-desirable conditions and have suffered and seen suffering and death. I have saved my own life and saved the lives of others, human and animal alike. I have not run from this to escape; I am still here. Goodness has come from this that has changed my life forever and contributed to the tempering of my heart, mind, and soul to make me a better person – I hope a better example of humanity.


I’ve done a lot of living in my 65 years. I have a house to live in now. I designed it and my husband built it. Life here in the desert village of Mexico I call home is very tough and isn’t for everyone. I’ve seen people come and go in this town and can tell with a glance who will stay and who will leave. It’s as if the town itself, not the people who are always gracious and welcoming, but Nature here Herself, who chooses to embrace you or cast you out. So far, She has chosen me to stay here and I feel calls me her child.

I have dreams of doing a bit of travel. It’s been my life’s dream to travel throughout Mexico. Summers are hard for me – the heat, humidity, and isolation. Looking forward to the Winter Season of activity and service to the community helps get me through. I have too much free time, unfortunately, particularly in the 5-6 months of summer. I write when something comes to my spirit and wishes to be said. I am a singer. I am looking for a music system to replace the one lost in the flood – I feel if I can sing again, a big part of my soul that is hurt and damaged will be healed. (I’m surprising myself now as these words flow forth, just watching them and realizing their candor and truthful directive). I make aged cheese and roast coffee. My goal is to be self-sufficient and use locally-sourced products. I am putting my husband’s daughter through university. The financial burden is troubling.

I’m inspired by people who are living in service of others – not to change things, impose their values on others, but to enhance lives. This is exciting to me and utterly worthy of respect and assistance. I want to stay active and of service as long as I can. To do this I am taking a yoga class. I’m 65 years old and wish to keep my joints flexible and muscles toned well into old age.

If I could it all over again, I’d have matured quicker as a young person and chosen a clarity of life sooner. I’d have chosen to study well in college.

When you’re faced with life or death, you choose life, I’ve learned. One day death will choose me. I know that death is only a breath away at any time, but until it appears I will go on living ethically and hopefully giving beauty to this planet I call home.




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