This is the official day that “I ran away from Home” I had wanted to “run away” since I was 18! What held me back? Fear of death from my parents, a deep sense of being a responsible person and truthfully, no one to run with me! So it seems I have always had “Fernweh” – that urge to travel
So after planning the escape, I left on a jet plane and headed to Mexico. Seemed like the appropriate 1st stop for a Texas girl looking for a new life and the desire explore the world. I of course had been to Mexico; the all inclusive resorts on each coast, over the border for some cultural exchange, but this was different, I was going as a full-time house sitter. My first stop Ajijic, Mexico for a house sit, now I had visited Ajijic in May of 2018 for my first international house sit. It was only 1 week but I was able to make contacts for future sits and that aided me in the master plan. So here I was for 2 months and 3 house sits. The first sit was at the home of my airport driver and his wildly friendly wife with two dogs and a koi pond. With a great location for walking to all that a person needs in life: food, friends and culture.
While in Ajijic, I was able to meet some other international house sitters that were sitting in the area. That was so fun, but also gave me a sense of community and support for my new lifestyle. Although I am basically an introvert that enjoys my alone time, I do enjoy the occasional chat with a human. We went to see the female Mariachi band, we formed our own group for Trivia Night at the local pizza parlour (it is nice to have pizza when you can share it) but we also shared our knowledge of the world. We shared our knowledge of the electronics that we haul around and played with a drone! Sadly, we all went our separate ways but with modern technology we keep up with each other as we wonder around the world!
Housesitting allows me to live like a local, meaning shopping at markets such as the Monday Market, Tiangus market on Wednesdays and the amazing Art Show in Chapala where the talented people of Mexico displayed their creativity. I was invited to attend the art show by a neighbor of the house sit, which then led to a house sit for her friend that filled in a few days gap for me! The next gap was not filled by house sitting but with an adventure to Macheros, Mexico with a stopover in Morelia, Mexico. Why you might ask? To see the monarch butterflies that winter in the high mountain area where the “hangout” every year! I took a bus to Morelia, stayed in a magical old historic home hosted by Rosa at Casona Rosa B&B. That is how you visit a city like Morelia and immersing in the local culture. I stayed one night on the way to Macheros and one night on the way back to Ajijic.
The monarch butterflies typically begin arriving in December/January and the best time is to visit in Jan/Feb so “they” say, as luck would have it, they began arriving in November. Staying at J&M’s Butterfly B&B was the best decision, very few guests (only 6 during my time there, 2 were fellow house sitters) You can choose to partially ride up the mountain by horseback or hike the entire distance. I rode, yes after 30+ years I got on a horse, you never really forget, right? Then a 30 minute hike to the top where you witness the most magical sight of monarchs in clones and when the sun hits them they fly! Unlike anything else….except maybe inside of a snow globe.
It was an amazing trip, with help from friends and strangers I was able to find the right buses and get back to Ajijic for the next house sit at the BnB which was a repeat sit. My mother and stepfather, Charlie came down for a few days visit prior to Christmas and enjoyed the flowers full of color, food and of course mom had to shop. Another advantage to this way of life is sometimes family can join you! New Years Day was spent with friends viewing parades and eating burgers. What a way to begin a year!