Biography of a Moose

So just how does a Canadian moose end up living in central Mexico?

The decision to leave Canada and relocate to Mexico on a semi-permanent basis didn’t happen all at once.  In fact, it was really part of a much larger plan that ended up being years in the making.

Powell River Sunset
Sunset on west coast of Canada, Strait of Georgia, near Powell River, BC

Born and raised on the west coast of Canada, in a seaside town called Powell River, I spent my younger years in several coastal towns in the province of British Columbia.

For a brief time after working a year after high school, I had the opportunity to move with friends down to Dominican Republic.  There in Puerto Plata, I had an eye-opening and highly educational experience with living in a different culture and language.  As a small-town Canadian who had only rarely been away from my birthplace, the experience stirred up in me an avid desire to travel more and to understand how other people thought and how they felt about their lives and their place in the world.  The trip only lasted five months, and I had to return to Canada, but at that point, the die was already cast.  I was a traveller.

Calgary skyline
Calgary skyline in the early morning light, March 2007

Upon returning to Canada and moving around from Victoria to Surrey, my first major relocation from the west coast of the country was to Calgary, Alberta, in 2000.  Originally, this was only meant to be a temporary move, but after settling in, life was very good and the years somehow just ticked away. My wife and I had the opportunity to travel a bit, and experienced parts of the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.  Before I knew it, it was 2018.

In 2013 I had opportunity to scout around northern Mexico and see what the real country (ie. not the tourist areas) were like.  My wife and I both absolutely loved cities like San Luis Potosi, whereas other places like Monterrey were so frenetic and chaotic we really didn’t feel comfortable.

Street scene, Taichung, Taiwan
The old and the new coexist in Taichung, Taiwan

A scouting trip to Taiwan in 2017 (while interesting) helped me make the determination that Asia just wouldn’t work for us; cost of living where we looked (in Taichung) was higher than expected, as was apartment rental.  Add to that the ridiculously heavy humidity and high temperatures, and no self-respecting moose would ever be able to make a comfortable home there.

Some research into Europe (Italy, in particular) as a destination turned up all kinds of logistical problems for a Canadian wanting to relocate on a semi-permanent basis.  Almost all countries in Europe are members of the Schengen Agreement, which enables them to share a common border for purposes of travel and immigration.  Within the countries who are members of the agreement, Canadians entering on a tourist visa can only stay for a maximum of 90 days in any 180 day period.  That means that a Canadian would have to leave the entire Schengen area (either back to North America, Asia, or one of the few non-member countries) for at least 90 days before re-entering Europe.  Logistically, this makes living abroad in Europe really difficult (at least on a tourist visa.)  There are other options for entry that involve seeking temporary resident status or naturalization, but these are both time consuming and costly.  At that point, Europe was out.

During those years in Calgary, I had seriously considered living abroad many times, but the timing just never worked out.  After much consideration and planning in 2017, things started to fall into place, and it was time to make a decision about a destination.

Guadalupe Road monument
Monument on the Guadalupe Road, historic center of San Luis Potosi

During that Mexico scouting trip in 2013, I learned about an entirely different Mexico that most Canadians (or Americans) have never experienced.  In places far removed from sandy white beaches filled with oiled tourists, tequila shots and all-inclusive resorts, I discovered an entirely different Mexico.  These places off the beaten path offered wonderful local food, friendly people, beautiful spanish colonial architecture and a slower, more patient kind of living.  In reflecting on the trip years later, I felt like I had found what I was looking for, but had failed to realize at the time.

The especially harsh weather in Calgary over the 2017/2018 winter was highly motivational in driving the decision to relocate to warmer climes.

Mexico seemed like the most logical choice.  Our tours around the northern central region back in 2013 were quite agreeable, so it seemed worth trying out for a while.  At that point, we committed to moving to Mexico for one year in order to give the location an honest evaluation.

After meeting some new friends in Calgary who were familiar with several locations in Mexico, we decided that Santiago de Querétaro had a climate we could tolerate, as well as being large enough to have all important services.  Reports suggested that Queretaro was also one of the safest parts of a country that was increasingly experiencing drug-related gang problems and increases in criminal activity.

To close off the Calgary chapter of our life, I gave notice of resignation at my corporate job with an oil and gas company and finalized plans for the move.

We rented out our Calgary home, moved all of our belongings into the car garage, and planned out our seven day, 4,400 km road trip between Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Santiago de Queretaro, Queretaro, Mexico.

As we set out on our trip, there was no doubt in my mind that our move was going to be a positive and beneficial experience.  Yes, there were going to be challenges.  Ahead we faced acclimating to a new climate, new social norms, a language barrier, and a whole different lifestyle.

I hope all of you will buckle up and join me on this amazing relocation adventure!  Be sure to comment and share the blog with your friends.

My earnest hope is that you will enjoy living vicariously through my eyes as I experience the new sights, sounds and vistas that are the ‘real’ Mexico.

Thanks for reading!

~Mexican Moose