• leaving india

I’m Moving: It’s Bittersweet, But We Are Leaving India on Tuesday

I’ve been putting off this blog post for a month now, and even now staring at the screen from my Airbnb in Juhu, Mumbai, I don’t really know how to start telling you all about this. But, since my flight out of India is Tuesday and I really am moving, I can’t put it off any longer.

I have been in India since 2012 and now we are moving out of India. We being Ben and I and OF COURSE our pets: Shanti, Omni, and KitKat. Ben has been here for a couple years more than I have, having lived in Kerala before he moved to Goa (where I met him).

While we are moving, we will still be in India a lot, at least four times a year! Ben has work here still and my blog as you know is a lot of India content, and that will not change.

We spent our last night with friends at Thalassa, which is basically where we met in 2012.

Okay, I’ll try to start from the beginning. First off, why we decided to move.

I wrote about this a little bit in this Ask Me Anything article where I talked about why we had been in India so long and if we would ever move – plus, where we might move if we did. We love Goa. I am not exaggerating when I say that last 6 years have been a vacation with basically no responsibilities. The thing is, we could stay like this forever – just working from home, going to the beach, hanging with friends, partying, and living the Goa life. Our friends here are amazing and the local people who “help us” with things here like our housekeeper, driver, security, and more have become like family. We all cried when we said goodbye! I really cannot even write what I’m going to miss because I’ve already cried enough! Basically, I’m going to miss everyone there and my whole Goa life which has just been like being in the best dream ever. The people, the food, the vibe, our house, the monkeys and jungle, and beach – it’s all perfect. But like an Instagram photo, there is always more behind that.

leaving indiaSonu, Leena, Sunni, Ben, Me, Kala, Nitesh, Ryance – some of our friends we will miss so much! This was right before we hopped in the car and left.

leaving indiaand of course Azad!

There are some small things about Goa that we don’t love but overall, it’s paradise and that is why we stayed so long. Goa isn’t like the rest of India. Goa might as well be an island!

Living in Goa is almost like not living a real life. We are so far removed from the Western world; the news, the politics, the fashion, the trends back home… We really are in a bubble in Goa. And, this bubble stays the same every single year. Most foreigners stay in Goa just six months then leave before the heat comes and the monsoon, but we lived here year-round. Monsoons can get quite boring as basically every nice restaurant is closed and most of our friends would go off traveling. Then season would start back up, the same parties, the same dinners, the same beach days. They are amazing days, don’t get me wrong – but it got to a point where we were like, should we try something else?

In a bigger picture, as foreigners, there are some things that are more difficult for us. For example, we cannot buy land or a house. We don’t have businesses here so we don’t even have bank cards and even paying our bills is a pain in the butt. We don’t speak the local language or Hindi which isn’t usually a problem, but would have been helpful when you’ve got a long-term rental house and need work done, and have business to do. In the long run, we do want to buy or build a home, have kids, and all that jazz. In Goa, if you have kids here they go to a foreigner school and then once they are 9 or so, you send them to a boarding school for like 9 months of the year. It works for some people and who knows what the future brings, but to me, it is a very foreign idea.

Then there’s family. Ben is lucky to be able to take a direct 8-hour flight from Mumbai to his family in London or Vienna but for me, it usually took 35 hours or more to go from Goa > Mumbai > London > NYC > Ohio. It was also expensive to take that journey and I only visited home once a year. Each year, it got harder as I realized I had less in common with my friends who all had kids I barely know and still see each other all the time. We talked less and less online and I didn’t even know where some of my closest friends were working. My brother and his wife had a baby and I really want to be around to see him grow up. It’s also little things like as a silly example when I went to Vegas and all the girls are singing along in the club I didn’t know a single song – and hadn’t been in a club in 3 years. I’ve changed a lot (and I mean, maybe a bad example because I have no desire to go clubbing anymore or know all the words of a rap song, but basically just feel out of the loop when I go home). I’m from such a small town and have had the same best friends since I was 3. Their parents are all like second parents to me. I haven’t had Christmas in the USA in 6 years and have missed some of my closest friends wedding, and even funerals of family.

I have met Ben’s friends loads of times in London, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and India and know them and their kids so well. They are such cool, funny people and it makes me kind of sad that Ben doesn’t know my friends in that way and some of my best friends haven’t even met him. He’s been to Ohio just twice. Plus, I have really cool funny friends, too (haha), that I think Ben would love to get to know. This is just because it’s so far away and expensive to go. I also have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Ben’s family while he’s not gotten to know mine very well. I think he’s met my brother just once for a 4-day vacation in Nashville. So, of course being closer to home is a bonus for me.

Obviously, there are also small things in Goa that are annoying as well, but not enough to move: the long 4-5 month monsoons with nothing to do an rain and clouds all day, getting pulled over and having to pay fake fines to police (which weirdly this year started to give me anxiety), the power outages (before we left, while Ben was in LA we had one for 3 days/nights – it was so hot I had to sleep in a hammock outside with the mosquitos). We lost our vaccinated dog, Huck, to rabies and there are so many strays where we live we cannot walk our dogs. We aren’t crazy about the trance music scene, and it does get boring eating at the same 15 restaurants all the time. I don’t write this to complain, because Goa will always be my second home but these are just some tiny reasons added on to the fact we are we kind of felt ready to move.

Even getting our animals out of India, was so typical India, we got scammed completely and lost a lot of money. We later found a great company in Mumbai, hence why we are here now. I’ll be writing all about taking our animals out of India in a later article because wow – it’s a HUGE undertaking.

India can be a hard place to be. When we travel to Mumbai or Chennai or wherever, outside of Goa, we are reminded that WOW India can be a ball-ache. I mean, I love India as you know but if you’ve come here as a traveler and encountered the hard things about India then you know what it must be like to stay here 6 years. Some things that are charming become not so much… I won’t go into the issues that we have in Goa but the little things can add up to make your day too annoying where you have to ask “why are we going through this?” when we realize that our friends at home in the USA and UK are not.

Overall, living in India can be hard at first, but once you’ve been here a while, know the right people, have local friends and know the prices of things you really can sort of live like a local and not get scammed and such. Plus, in Goa, most people speak English and are very laid-back.

I guess the main reason we are leaving is just to try something new – because we are actually going to start over in a new country (where guess what, we don’t speak the language and they don’t speak English). I know that the grass is always greener but we figure, Goa will always be there and we can always go back.

The steps we started taking to move and deciding where to go

We started to think about moving more seriously about a year ago. Truthfully, I was ready to move somewhere new about two years ago but Ben wasn’t. This last year, he did a lot of work in India outside of Goa and finally said “okay, I’m done – I want to go somewhere else”. Once we were both on the same page it started to become “where can we actually move without being married?”

Not being married is one issue but the second is that I work for myself so can’t even get sponsorship from a company for a work visa. Ben’s job is based in California but in the USA it’s hard to get a work visa.

We both wanted a new country and neither of us really wanted the USA (unless we were richer and could afford California) and Ben thinks England is too cold. Either way, we can only stay in each other’s home countries for 3 months. And it turns out, getting married to come to America is a HUGE hassle. Just look what my friend Anna had to go through – to get her green card they took her passport for a YEAR and she was stuck in the USA.

We thought about Europe but with Brexit, we wondered, can we both stay, unmarried with Ben being British? Visas would be hard nearly anywhere in the EU but they do allow some kind of domestic partnership we would qualify for possibly. But, after Brexit, would we be able to build a house or buy a house without issue? It was all kind of an unknown.

Ben had worked with a Mexican company on a project in India, and the people he was in contact with, Enrique and Monica, were living in Merida, in the state of Yucatan. They said it’s awesome you’ve got to come see it. It’s the most cultural city in Mexico and the safest, plus just 30 minutes from the city center to the Gulf coast and 3 hours to places like Tulum and Cancun on the Caribbean coast. Plus, the food.

That is why we went to Merida last fall just after my trip to Rajasthan. You might have noticed I didn’t post much from that trip or “do” much. That is because we were house-hunting every day and I didn’t want to tell anyone in case it didn’t happen (we didn’t end up finding a house). It was a BUSY trip but we loved the place. We dreamed of buying a house 15 minutes north of the city between the city and the beach. It is a “real” city with places like McDonalds and Walmart which to us was like “holy shit we can buy lightbulbs and cheese in the same shop!”

There are also cheap quick flights from Merida and Cancun (even cheaper) to USA and Europe. When I looked from Cincinnati to Cancun it was $300 round-trip. I was paying around $1400 from India each time.

In Mexico, you can come for 6 months at a time, back to back, as a tourist. You can buy land as a tourist. You can pay for things online without a Mexican bank card (like bills). Plus, you can buy a brand new 3 BR house there with a pool for $80,000. It’s beautiful, the people are awesome, it’s safe, it’s clean, it has stores, you can walk the dogs here without issues, and there is so much around Merida to travel and see.

Merida has some downsides for us like we speak no Spanish and literally couldn’t even order Pizza Hut on the phone without them using Google Translate on the other side of the phone. We HAVE to learn Spanish ASAP. I speak some elementary but we need to be fluent. Scams are real in Merida, too. They are sadly mostly done by expat “realtors” who rip people off and we’ve heard some horror stories.

In the rural areas, it might not be Goa jungle but they do have jaguars, pythons, crocodiles, and more all across the state of Yucatan.

We don’t know Mexico at all. Ben had some work in Chalacatepec on the west coast (real cowboy country) 5 years ago and I went with him. We went to Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta too, which were pretty touristy. Merida is not a tourist town at all, that’s for sure! It’s also not totally Mexican – it’s got all Mayan culture, Mayan people, and some people still speak Mayan. You don’t get normal Mexican food, you get Mayan food. The Mayan ruins are all around the state, along with awesome cenotes (underground lagoons), pink lakes, and lakes filled with flamingos!

So, we are moving to Merida, Mexico!

tips for merida mexico

We came back from Merida in November I think and both of us thought we should try not to travel too much and really enjoy Goa since it was going to be our last season. Other than working with Telunas Resort in Indonesia, and a quick trip to Malaysia, we didn’t travel much at all. I was kind of worried about the blog taking a hit since I was being a little boring but I posted a lot of images and articles about Goa and people seemed to not mind!

I did have to go to the USA in February to get my visa renewed and see my newborn nephew – and just before I left, we went ahead and booked our flights to Mexico for May 22. We booked with Air France for us and the dogs and last month that all fell through and we had to re-book with Air Canada. I cannot stress how much insanity comes with taking 3 pets from India to Mexico. Like I said, I’ll write about it more but wow, the paperwork and bureaucracy is pretty wild. Ben and I cannot even fly together. He has to come two days after me.

The thing we had to do for the move was pretty easy, but somehow took ages!

  • Find out if we needed visas – we didn’t
  • Buy a house – we went and didn’t find one
  • Rent somewhere – I did this via Airbnb and we took a 3-month rental in town for around $1,000 a month which in Merida gets you a really nice place with a pool and a walled-in garden for the dogs. It was not available until June 1st so we are renting another place for a week until we can move in which also looks amazing. I’ll share it all once I reach!
  • Find a flight that is NOT a codeshare (meaning it’s one airline only the whole way) from India to Cancun – this was the hardest part which I’ll explain in the upcoming article on the dogs after we reach Mexico
  • Find someone to pick us up with our dogs at the airport since our stuff and the crates won’t fit in a rental car – we hired a girl I found in an expat Facebook group to drive us in a big van from Cancun to Merida 3 hours.
  • Pack – I took some things like all those amazing rugs I got in Jaipur and a lot of clothes home when I visited the USA in Feb and the rest we fit in 4 pieces of luggage to take to Merida. I have 3 and Ben has one. The includes a huge king size duvet and two pillows. Ben literally packed like we are going on vacation because that’s all he owns.
  • Figure out a car in Merida – we can’t buy one as foreigners on a tourist visa we don’t think, so instead, I booked a rental car for the first month. There are all these car rentals for $1/day which according to my friend Hannah’s blog is real if you can turn down all the insurance. For this, I applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card which gives you $75,000 in car insurance and added Ben as a registered user of my account so he has a credit card in his name, too, so no fees for an “added driver”. It was $17 for a month. Let’s see if it’s real when I get there! They sent the credit cards to India. They came with the Priority Pass which means free lounge access for us both in airports around the world, too!
  • Be legit – we want to be “legit” in Mexico and get our residency visas and proper paperwork which we will start doing once we arrive.
  • Clean up our house in Goa (aka hire someone to clean it up)
  • Cars for the drive to Mumbai – the dog crates are huge so needed to have two cars, we had Babu our friend and driver (and his friend who we know well) take one car with me, Shanti, and KitKat, then Ben and Azad (our good friend from Kerala who has worked for Ben for years) and Omni went in the Bolero, which is Ben’s work car.

When it’s all in bullet points like this, it seems like it was an easy breezy thing to do but actually, it’s a lot of work and it was pretty stressful at times planning this move.

All of our luggage for the move! 4 large pieces of luggage and 2 carry-ons

Where I am now and the plan

The two weeks before we left is when it all started to come together – getting the packing done, cleaning out 5 years of junk from the house, and finalized our pets shots with our local vet.

We also had a puppy we were caring for (who has an owner but we just loved him so much) and took him to be neutered. He is staying with his owner but is an outside dog. It was hard to leave him, but he is being taken care of.

Ben was in LA for work so I admit, I was a little stressed putting it all together. When he came back we had just 2 full days to see friends and say bye, and for Ben to go through my piles of his stuff to see what he wanted to take and throw out or give away.

The ONLY flight we could do was an Air Canada from Mumbai to Toronto (a long flight for dogs, 15 hours) then a layover there and onward to Cancun. So, we said our goodbyes on Thursday and drove 12 hours to Mumbai getting in here at 5 AM. We have a great Airbnb in Juhu that is pet-friendly and under 6,000 INR per night.

Shanti was freaking out and laying only right on top of me – and kitkat was down at my feet in a carrier. I took him out to clean up his pee pads and they were totally non-absorbent and it got all over me… Comfy smelly ride to Mumbai lol 

Roadside stops along the highway to Mumbai… I had to pee behind a bridge but at least I had this view

leaving india

Friday, we were running around ALL day with the dogs doing their quarantine inspections and getting all their export paperwork and health certificates from government vets finished. That was on no sleep, and we were exhausted.

They only let one dog on the plane at a time on such a long flight and don’t do that route daily, so I go with Shanti (checked in the back of the plane) on Tuesday and Ben will come on Thursday with Omni (checked) and the cat as a carry-on.

leaving indiaOur Airbnb in Juhu – great if you have dogs (here is the link) it has this huge balcony and is walkable to a lot of restaurants and such

leaving india

leaving indiaCan you guess which bag is Ben’s?

That’s where I am now – looking out over the balcony, enjoying Mumbai this weekend and just trying to believe that I’m really moving from India after all this time. Mumbai is an amazing city as well so we’ll be out and about until we leave.

What it means for the blog

Honestly, things aren’t going to change that much. I plan to come back to Goa in November to visit and check out new places that have opened (and update my Ebook). I’ll go on a trip somewhere new in India as well (thinking Calcutta, Sikkim, Darjeeling) and write new blog posts.

I’ve never written just about India and usually do just one big India trip each year, spending most of my time in Goa. I don’t think you’ll even notice much of a change on the blog.

One thing that will change is my This is India stories will stop. I had considered doing a This is Mexico series, but honestly it’s so normal life in Merida that I don’t think it would be interesting enough – not crazy stories like India! We’ll see.

After I get settled in Merida, I’m sure I’ll want to travel more in Mexico and around Central and South America, so expect new content from there! I haven’t explored at all in these areas, so I’m really excited about that after spending so much time writing about Asia. 

I am a little worried that some of you only like my India content and might not want to stay along as a reader with me in Mexico, but I really hope that you do! Plus, I’ll be back in India in just 6 months :) Thank you for taking the time to read this WAY TOO LONG of a post. 3,500 words later, I should end it!

I’ve been off social media this week since I was moving and hadn’t shared the news yet, but if you check my Instagram stories now you’ll see live what we’re up to in Bombay! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments about the move – tell me what you think!

Leaving India is really hard and a little more emotional than we thought it’d be plus traveling with the pets is really stressful so I’ll do my best to keep you updated on social media next week.

2018-10-02T01:52:22+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.

40 Comments

  1. Shashank Rao May 19, 2018 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Goodluck, Rachel. Really enjoyed reading your posta about India. Looking forward to read about Mexico now. I livl Mexican food. Hope to see a lot of pictures. And if I ever visit Mexico, I’ll look forward to have you as my guide. :)

  2. Dulcie May 19, 2018 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Wow! Big change but very exciting for you… leaving means that going back to goa will be all the sweeter for you when you do now ;) exctited for your Mexico content ! X

  3. Nik May 19, 2018 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    I’m so sad and happy for you as I read this. Your posts are truly inspiring and your kind heartedness will surely be loved and welcome wherever you go. I hope that you will still answer questions about India and now also Mexico :) to those of us seeking escapes every once in a while. And now that you are closer to the US, pls do visit nyc. Good luck and happy journey.

  4. AGNUS MARIYA ANTONY May 19, 2018 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    All the very best Rachel..I’m a solo female traveller from Kerala.. You inspired me alot.. Really gonna miss you .. Take care…

  5. Tempesst May 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    I’m so proud/happy for you guys, and can’t wait to follow along with the Mexico adventures! I bet it’s an easy flight from Cancun to NOLA, just saying :)

  6. Anne May 19, 2018 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    How exciting! Not sure if they still do it, but OU used to do a winter quarter study abroad program in Merida. You may end up meeting a lot of Ohio folks!

  7. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown May 19, 2018 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    This was such an epic read!! I know how it feels to have an era come to an end, and start all over in another, different foreign place. But it all works out in the end! I’m so happy you guys are doing what feels right. I’ll definitely be looking forward to Mexico posts! I’m eyeing it as my next expat destination.

  8. Arathi May 19, 2018 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    Good luck with your move! I have loved all your India posts and plan on visiting Goa next year (after seeing family in India). But my husband and I love the Yucatán area and have talked about moving there so I am excited to read about the adventures to come! Safe travels!

  9. Brittany May 19, 2018 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Rachel ! I could almost guess where you guys were going to move to because Paul and I just moved to Mexico for similar reasons! The 6 month visa thing, an unmarried international couple who doesn’t want the us or Europe right now, plus moving with pets here was super easy, Mexican is my fav food… and so on! Heheh! :)

  10. Christine Wilhelm May 19, 2018 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I am thrilled this blog, you, Ben and pets are heading to Mexico. You are a popular, accomplished blogger and I predict your blog will thrive due to there is so much to do and see all over Pan-America. Just think, you are only 90 miles from healthy Cuban coral reefs that are some of the most beautifully preserved in the world!! You can easily fly to Rio for Carnival/visit the colossal statue of Jesus Christ and quickly travel to Peru to climb Machu Picchu (two new world wonders). Your blog will explode with new readers especially adding adventurous Europeans and South Asians that enjoy exploring our new world. The beautiful traditional Spanish city of Merida has frequent fiestas fabulous food, music and dancing. You will be so happy and conversational Spanish is easy to learn! Best wishes! Christine W

  11. Becky May 19, 2018 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple years now and I’m so excited for you on your new adventures! I will continue reading your blog whether you’re in India, Mexico, or Timbuktu! Good luck!

  12. kiki May 19, 2018 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    It’s funny, reading about all your trials and tribulations India sound just like what we went through living in the Caribbean. The police stops asking for money, the power AND water outages. Ugh! Unfortunately in a third world country it’s inevitable. I hope Mexico gives you a bit of relief from that.

    I’ve looked into Merida as well…the electricity costs scare me a bit as being inland it gets very hot. Maybe you can comment on that once you’ve been there a while!

  13. Erin May 19, 2018 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Good luck with everything!! I’m actually super excited to read your posts about Mexico!

  14. Nisha May 20, 2018 at 12:18 am - Reply

    It’s a sad news for us, Rachel. I can very well empathize how difficult it’d be for you as a foreigner when we locals also face so many problems everyday. Anyway, have a great time in Mexico and all the best. Keep in touch.

    Would love to read your Mexico stories.

  15. JOANNE ASHTON May 20, 2018 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Hi , I am planning to go to India for the 2nd time next Feb 2019 and would love to get some info on hiring a guide to show me around or a referral for tours for Goa, Kerala, Podicheri etc. I have no idea where to start. My last trip I went with Wild Women Expeditions and did central India! Could you reccommend any companies that do trips similiar. I have a travel agent here in Toronto that I use but he is not familiar with India as such. I have approx a month to do another adventure in India and would also be interested in seeing Rajistan as well. I am a 3-4 star type of traveller.

  16. Anna Maria V Turcato May 20, 2018 at 2:08 am - Reply

    Wow!!! Good luck for your new adventure. I love Goa, but I can understand all the reasons why you are leaving. I’m looking forward to read and see pics about Mexico: I’m sure you will find interesting places and things to share with us.

  17. Kelli May 20, 2018 at 5:08 am - Reply

    I have been following you for years! I admire you giving up your career and travelling and living in India. I always thought I might stop in or contact you when I eventually go there. I am excited to continue following you in Mexico, hearing how you like it, how buying a house goes! Good luck and safe travels!

  18. mrsnpres May 20, 2018 at 5:23 am - Reply

    Best of luck in Merida. We had friends buy a beach side home in Chelem and love it. We have been looking at Panama and plan to go on a relocation tour in December. Very friendly to American and British expats. Take care!

  19. Caroline May 20, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Loved to read all your blogs in India and looking forward to your new adventures! Best of luck to you both, we, your readers, re still going to be here with you!

  20. Karla May 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Hey, welcome to Mexico it’s great knowing foreigners coming abroad, I hope you love my country as much as I do, bienvenidos !

  21. Zahra May 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    I’m feeling this move on a personal level. With the way its written I literally feel like I’m leaving the country with you! On another note, good luck on the move for a new start in a new place! Looking forward to the South American blogs, but also happy to know this won’t be the last of India on your site!

  22. Gina anderson May 20, 2018 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel! Just want to say best wishes on this new journey. Mexico is amazing. I have not been to Merida but have been to several other areas in Mexico. Have to say, it’s a favorite place of mine. I will continue to follow your blog……I admire you for living the life that most only dream of

  23. Luke May 20, 2018 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel, long time fan of your blog here. I am Australian but have been living in Mexico for the past 2 years. I live in Chiapas which is the next state over from you and work with a project called Misión Mexico. If you ever get stuck, find yourself in Chiapas, needs some tips about how things are done in Mexico or needs some tips about the amazing places that Mexico has to visit, feel free to flick me an email.

  24. Katy (sort of) May 21, 2018 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Holy smokes! Wow – way to make a splash on the blog!

    Rachel, your “Tips for Women Travelers in India” was literally the FIRST thing I read about India after I applied for my Indian visa back in 2015. Also, it was the first thing I ever read about India with “I’m going there soon, so I’d better learn this well” eyes, if you know what I mean. So it really affected me (in a positive, ‘can do’ way). I didn’t even know you were in Goa until a few months later when I was in Goa too.

    I love how positive you are in this blog post even though I completely understand how stressful and tearful and hair-pullingly frustrating things can be during a huge upheaval in your life. Your love for Ben, the animals and your friends really shines through in the care you’ve taken to get everyone and everything settled and happy. Can tell you were a nurse, too, BTW.

    “This is Mexico” blog posts ARE coming, I hope, in a nice and positive way, same as India. There WILL be moments lost in translation and little things that are different, and I hope you can enjoy them as much as you’ve enjoyed the ones in Goa. I think you will.

    Juhu’s pretty posh, and I’m glad you were able to find a suitable place, and I am thinking of renting there when I am next in Mumbai. Though, honestly, Merida sounds nice now too….

    This past winter, I rented a scooter and went around Goa finding the very best Goan food restaurants and eating the best-tasting stuff. Always wondered if I would run into you and Ben, and now I won’t, but I’ll think of you when I’m cruising around Ashwem.

    You really made a successful life in Goa within the given parameters and that’s something to be very proud of, and something I admire.

    I’ll keep you on my RSS feed and can’t wait to hear about the pet situation and how you land on your feet, running, in Mexico. <3 <3 <3

  25. vrangler May 21, 2018 at 10:42 am - Reply

    hello, Wishing you a good luck for your new venture!

  26. Saurabh May 21, 2018 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    India will miss you Rachel! Best wishes for your trip and hope to see you writing back from India soon! Your posts are awesome. Leaving a place you’ve felt so connected during past few days/years isn’t that easy. But backpacking is all about moving on in search of new memories :) Wish you luck!

  27. Christine May 21, 2018 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Have a good trip tomorrow! I am looking forward to read more about Mexico and other places written in your honest and unique style! You will definitely not lose me :)

  28. thetravelingstylist May 21, 2018 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Wow what a big change but sounds like the start of an amazing adventure! Wishing you so much luck in Mexico!

    Allegra xx

    @the_stylishtraveler
    http://www.thestylishtraveler.co.uk

  29. Thursa May 22, 2018 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Wow, this is so exciting – good luck in your new home! Merida looks beautiful. I don’t think I could bear it if you’d left the dogs behind ;-) Hope they enjoy their new life in Mexico too! I loved your This Is India posts, but more for the little updates you’d give about daily life – it would be great if you’re able to continue to do a little weekly bulletin or something. Look forward to hearing about life in Mexico :-)

  30. Matthieu May 22, 2018 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    You took the right decision when you quiet your job and decied to travel around the world, it’s best thing can person do in his life. I enjoyed lot your experiences thank you.

  31. Sandy Martin May 22, 2018 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    Good luck Rachel! I’ve been following your blog off and on for years, and glad that I just happened to visit it today to see that you are moving to Merida. I’ve been there a couple of times and plan to re-visit again next year, I absolutely loved it! There’s dancing on the streets, music in the parks, birds chirping all day long! I have friends on FB that I connected with simply because I saw a post they had re. Merida on a mutual friend’s page; after visiting there for a couple of years, this friend and his partner decided to make it their second home, and purchased a house there. They live in Vancouver during part of the year and go to Merida for the winter/spring months, in between they travel to Thailand where one of the guys is from. They love Merida so much, they post how friendly everyone is, and how safe it is…the city square, well, I could just sit there for hours on end! and the food is fabulous..from Merida I went to Celustun and saw one of the bird sanctuaries where the pink flamingos flock to! so much to see and do in the Yucatan which incidentally is the safest state in Mexico. This past year I visited Valladolid which is the safest city in the Yucatan…. which is two hours south, make sure to go there (I’m sure you will!)…much happiness to you in Merida, I can’t wait to follow your future posts! Sandy in Maine

  32. Susan Jackson May 23, 2018 at 1:20 am - Reply

    We spent many years living in Turkey, Greece, England, Germany working for the US Govt and returning to the USA is such a cultural shock—we have never lasted longer than 3 yrs until now—6 yrs—hubby will be 80 this year and wanted to be near a US hospital and Dr if needed. He loves his comfort now but I try not to be miserable. Good luck on finding a house and enjoying your new life.

  33. Dani May 23, 2018 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed this article. It spoke from the heart. How did/do you manage the social isolation in Goa – or did you make quite a lot of local friends? I also completely understand and sympathise with the marriage issue (not always for the visa issue, but just in that there are a lot of places where you cannot legally live/stay with your partner without being married). But that is so, so exciting about Mexico! I wish you all the best. As someone who only started learning Spanish about a year ago – and who can now hold a reasonably fluent conversation in it – I might be able to reassure you that it is quite an easy and fun language to learn.

    http://www.thegingerpassports.com

  34. Tim UrbanDuniya May 25, 2018 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    How exciting! I relate to so much of what you have written, and there have been times as well when I have wondered whether I would stay or go, but so far I haven’t had to decide. I’m sure you’ll miss India, and we will miss reading all about it, but onwards and upwards – on to the next adventure! All the best :)

  35. […] not the only one who left their expat home after 5 years! Rachel is leaving India and moving to Mexico. Yay for other expat travel bloggers making big […]

  36. cindyeyler June 6, 2018 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Mexico is becoming less safe these days. I’ve spent countless time there. Not in Merida though. It’s not really as western as you are saying it is. I’m sure you will find interesting things to write about. I wish you the best on your new journey.

  37. thebritishberliner June 12, 2018 at 12:03 am - Reply

    I couldn’t believe it when I saw this piece in the newsletter a few weeks ago. I’m a little sad as India won’t be the same without you, but at the same time, very excited for what’s in store for you and Ben and the pets. It seems that a lot of my American blogger friends are gearing towards Mexico these days. Lucky Mexico!

    I wish you both the very, very best, and absolute happiness in your new home. I subscribe to your blog, so whenever there’s something interesting to share about India, I’ll do so, as I’m not big on beach-life …

    I look forward to what comes next!

    Victoria
    xxx

    • Rachel Jones June 13, 2018 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Hi, Victoria! I know, it’s so surreal, I wrote this post hours before I was heading out – I just kept putting it off because it didn’t seem real! I am already planning my next trip, though. Tiger safari with Samode (new hotel in this chain opening in MP!) and then Calcutta! Want to go some new places. Probably November, but could be Jan. Until then, will explore around here the cities in Yucatan (not much to write about the beaches here, they are just your average beach) and possibly do a little bit of exploring in Central America if you’ve been and have any tips!?

  38. Elizabeth Higgins June 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I am sad yet happy for you, Rachel. It really is heartbreaking for good things to come to an end and start all over again especially in a foreign land. But just keep your positive spirits up and it will all work out in the end. Best of luck!

  39. Haladih October 15, 2018 at 12:51 am - Reply

    So sympathize with your choice to move out of India! I’ve been back in India for 3 years now, also lived here 2 years about 10 years ago, and now am seriously considering moving back out! I love India, too, but it has just become too much of the same hassles for fewer moments of enjoyment. :( I admire you for staying here so long and hope Mexico is amazing! On another point, Immigration to the US via marriage is no fun at all, but I just wanted to say my husband and I had zero problems with this, and from India, too! We were married for 2 years by the time we applied which I think did make it much easier so I recommend marrying well before you want the visa. We got an ir1 I think it is called, which is much more “official” in terms of visas! Entry to the us was pretty easy, green card came in the mail a month later! We even finished the citizenship process three years exactly after immigrating and that went very well, too! Never heard a peep from immigration. I know there are horror stories like your friends, but if you are considering eventually emigrating to either person’s country I recommend marrying sooner rather than later! :)

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