My wife Karen, my son Asa, and I are choosing to potentially live in a place for a year (or more) that we’ve never been to. 1 part excitement, 1 part heavy anxiety, 1 part hope. We are hoping that we will find several things in Oaxaca...
More time together: We are looking for a place with a slower pace of life, with a more communal feel, and a child-friendly environment for our toddler, Asa. We are looking for a place to live where we don’t have to work 40-60 hours/week. I’m also looking for time to think about the prospect of change in the U.S. and worldwide, time away from the states for perspective. More on that below in #5.
Nature: We are looking for a place where Asa can be outside most of the time– in the water, in mountains, in forests. A culture that loves outdoors, that loves nature. Less developed, and less cluttered. Oaxaca is a large state with mountains, cities, towns, and coastal villages. We hope to explore them all.
Low Cost of Living: While it’s really unfair that people in underdeveloped countries are running to the U.S. for higher incomes, while we are running to Mexico for lower cost of living with our higher economic means, this is a reality. We hope to contribute to local economies, local change, and international system change that allows for all people to have what they need to live comfortably wherever they want. In the meantime, we are looking for a cheaper place to live that suits our needs, and we are happy to put ourselves in an environment where we will learn the local culture and be respectful and humble. For the time being, we will be working remote, online jobs, working less than fulltime, to cover costs of expenses we still have in the U.S. and lower cost of living in Mexico. Our housing, healthcare, and childcare costs will all be much cheaper, giving us more time to be together (see #1), to think about raising Asa as a Black boy (see #4), and everything else.
Racially & Ethnically diverse: Oaxaca has many indigenous cultures, a thriving indigenous movement for justice, and the largest population of Afro-Mexicans in the country. We want to be in a place where Asa can see people with dark skind who look like him, we want to be around different ethnic cultures to learn other ways of being, to taste delicious food, to hear beautiful music new to us, to see their art. To expose Asa to these things and give him more perspectives of the world. To give him and ourselves another language. We want to take a break from the horrible racism that exists for Black boys in America right now. We want a time and place to think about how to prepare Asa for this, and a time and place to see other diverse cultures.
Politics: To bring back hope to my heart. To see other forms of resistance, culture, and cooperation. To give me perspective from the U.S., where I’ve been dismayed at the state of affairs, the state of organizing, the state of change-makers. I want to have time to read and think and research and write about the prospect for a future world that isn’t destroyed by climate change and earth’s plunder, the prospect for system change in time to save humanity, the prospect for rebuilding the Left in America and internationally. I’m excited to learn more about and see the Teachers’ organizing, the Indigenous movement, the Afro Mexican organizing, and the nearby Zapatistas.
Close to America: We can’t go too far, we want to return for visits with our parents and friends. It is a cheap and relatively short flight back.
Spanish: Karen and I tenemos cuatro años en Españolen escuela. Right now I struggle to put sentences together. It will take a while for the Spanish to return, but we have a basis in the language and we will be immersed in it. It is an important language to know, for operating in the world and for traveling.
Connections: Thanks to fabulous, worldly friends, we have connections to good people in Oaxaca who will orient us and help us in our transition. We are especially excited because our new Oaxaca City friends are a family with a young child. : ) We can’t wait to see all the child-friendly sites they’re going to show us, and for play dates.