Why You Might Consider Living in the Riviera Maya

If you’re reading this post, I’m going to assume that you’re interested in spicing up your life a bit.

Perhaps you want to take a gap year. Maybe you want a learning experience for your kids. Maybe you’re just plain bored with the suburban life.

Whatever it is, I’m going to assume you’re open to the idea of living an extended period of time in a place that’s not your current home.

And even if you’re not, I’m going to do my best to sell you on why living in the Riviera Maya, even just for a short time, could be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

After all, 30 years from now, you’re not going to look back on the time you spent living in paradise and regret it. In fact, you’ll probably view it as one of the best times of your life.

My wife, my kids, and I all love living here. It’s why we came back!

And when I refer to the Riviera Maya, I’m referring to the Caribbean coastline of Eastern Mexico starting around Cancun and headed south to just past Tulum. It also includes my personal favorite, the island of Cozumel – which is where we live.

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Really Want

What Do You Really Want?

On my daughters 1st birthday, I started reading a copy of The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It blew my mind!

I was trying hard to compete in the Orange County, California scene – move up the corporate ladder, buy a big house with a ridiculous mortgage, etc.

This book, however, gave me permission to forget about that. It showed me another way.

It introduced me to the concept of “lifestyle design” and creating a lifestyle business to pay for the kind of life I wanted to live.

I started to evaluate what I deep down really wanted. I started to think of how I could make money without being stuck at a job. I thought about what it would be like to actually live my dream lifestyle together with my family.

It all boils down to one simple concept:

Lifestyle Business: Make Money, Then Do Whatever the Heck You Wanna Do!

That’s it!

You need money to do what you want to do. You need to provide real value in the world to get that money. So you need to create a business.

This is a business that provides you with all of the money you want, plus all of the time you want, minus the headaches of a traditional business.

In other words, a lifestyle business.

With your own lifestyle business in place, you can ditch the system and do whatever you want.

I know. I did it.

If you don’t already know, I built up my own business, and the took off to live on the Caribbean island of Cozumel with my wife and kids for over 2 1/2 years and then spent half a year touring Europe. Read more

Confessions of an American Mexican

Confessions of an American Mexican

I woke up just after 6 am this morning to the sound of my 8 month old baby saying what sounded like “Dada”. I looked into the crib and saw her sitting up and smiling at me.

“Dada”, she repeated with a huge grin.

I took her out of her crib and laid her next to her still resting mom.

I then looked out of our bedroom window to a beautiful new day. The white puffy clouds were already moving past in the tropical breeze.

The bright blue sky seemed to accent a patch of green jungle that lies between our house and the Caribbean Sea.

I spread my arms out wide in gratitude, took a deep breath and thought, “It’s Friday”. Always a good day.

“And I freaken’ live in Cozumel with my family!” Read more

Do what it takes

Do What It Takes

Take a long, hard look at the below photo…

If you look carefully at this photo, you’ll see a man on his belly digging through a public fountain for quarters, dimes, and nickels.

I know because I took the picture.

Last week we found ourselves on the waterfront in downtown Seattle on a miraculous sunny day. We came to a fountain and the girls threw in a couple of pennies after making a wish.

Then I saw a man approaching the fountain with his eyes set on it the way a lion stalks a gazelle.

As he got near, I watched in fascination as he, without hesitation and total disregard for those around, dove his hand into the cold water and rummaged for shiny coins.

I noticed the other bystanders staring in disbelief but nobody said anything besides a few murmurs to each other. At first, I was borderline appalled.

But as I continued to watch the man, I was intrigued and then totally involved in what he was doing. And, as you can tell, I even had time to whip out my phone and snap a picture.

After a few minutes and a soaking wet arm, the man stood up and walked away with a fist full of coins, probably a few dollars worth. It was one of those situations that kind of makes you think, “Did that really just happen?”

As we talked about it, I realized that somewhere inside me, I felt a sense of admiration for the guy. OK, so I know going around stealing other people’s “wishes” probably isn’t the best thing to do.

Besides that however, think of what else he did and what we can learn from it.

Singularity of purpose

He walked straight up to the fountain and dove right in. I love his clear focus. He wasn’t there to chit chat with others. He was there to collect money.

How focused are we on our goals? Really! Do we achieve them?

No shame

There were a lot of people around. He didn’t care. He achieved his goal regardless of what others were thinking about him.

Are there things that you would love to do but perhaps fear what others might think? Do you hold yourself back because you think you have a family who won’t understand?


Fountain man (as I’m now fondly calling him) had a goal in mind and executed perfectly. He didn’t wait for the right time. He walked straight up and dove his hand right in. He didn’t even take the time to roll up his jacket sleeve.

How often do you hesitate with a goal you’ve set? Maybe you think it’s too big or too hard. Maybe you want to wait for the “right time” to get started.

Risk versus Reward

I’m not sure the laws in Seattle about taking money out of public fountains but I’m guessing it’s probably frowned upon by city officials.

Fountain man would probably have had a rough time explaining himself if a cop were nearby or a nosy citizen had piped up. There was a large group of people nearby but he proceeded anyway.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that it’s ok to steal. I’m simply saying that too many times we are more afraid of a perceived risk and don’t go for the reward.

Do what it takes

This is the biggest lesson. I don’t know fountain man’s entire story. It’s not my place to judge. But I do know for some reason he felt it was necessary to rummage through a very public fountain with the intent to leave with money.

What he was going to use the money for is again not my business. I do know however, that he did what it took to get what he wanted.

With the goals you’ve set, are you doing everything it takes to achieve them? Are you desperate to see more of the world but are still stuck at a job? Are you anxious to meet a special someone but are afraid to get out and meet people? Are you trying to find a way to make more money but coming up short?

When my wife and I decided to make a drastic change in our life, we went big. We sold pretty much everything we owned and became intentional vagabonds. That was what needed to do.

What about you? What steps do you need to take to do the thing? The bottom line is this, when you think about your goals and the things you want to achieve, do it what it takes to make them happen!

So to Fountain Man, wherever you may be now, I salute you. Thank you for the strange but potent inspiration to the rest of us.


Why Getting Laid-off Can Be the Best Thing to Ever Happen to You

Why Getting Laid-off Can Be the Best Thing to Ever Happen to You

“We’re going to have to let you go”.

The words bounced around in my head for a moment as I looked around the taupe colored office with horrible florescent lighting.

After the meaningless conversation that followed (I mean, they already had their minds made up right?), I left the office and arrived home midday to greet my wife and girls. I told Heidi what happened and we sat down and had a very involved conversation.

Have you ever been laid off from a job? These days it doesn’t seem too bizarre. In fact, it used to be a very serious thing and now it’s almost commonplace.

Photo courtesy of Social is Better

What happens when you lose your job? It’s a shock to the system right? It’s a big blow to your normal routine. It certainly makes your life a lot more interesting, that’s for sure.

It’s now my intention to convince you that getting laid off from a job could be the best thing to ever happen to you. To sum it up – it creates new opportunity for you.

First, it gets you out of the routine

When you have a job, you have a daily schedule you must follow right? Getting released from your job means all of the sudden you don’t have to get up and hurry off to join the rat race. Your time is yours.

Maybe there was something you’d rather be doing but your job and your happy little routine didn’t quite give you time to do it. Well, now you have that time. This leads to the next point.

Second, it gives you the chance to grow

So maybe you weren’t in your dream job. Most people aren’t. Why not go after it now? What about that awesome business idea you had? Why not use this time to start it? What about that Round-the-World plane ticket you’ve always wanted to buy? Maybe now is the time to do it.

Reinvent yourself. Anything is possible!

Third, it gives you a new lease on life

You have to have the right attitude. I believe everything happens for a reason. I can say with 100% confidence that you losing your job will only create a bigger opportunity for your life…should you so choose.

Don’t worry yourself with bills or rent or whatever. You’ll figure out a way to pay them. Just get creative. Maybe you don’t need the $200 cable bill. Maybe you don’t need the super deluxe gym membership that you don’t use anyway.

Use this time right now to start doing what it is you really want to do.

So, hopefully I’ve at least helped you start to see that losing a job is a good thing. Now let me give you some practical steps to take if/when your day of freedom comes.

Step 1: Drive Home and tell the Family

I know this one may seem obvious. Your loved ones are going to wonder what’s up when you show up in the middle of the day. But your family and loved ones are your first and best support group. If you’re married (or in a serious relationship) use this time to talk it over. If you have older kids that can understand the situation, this is the perfect time to have a family council. If you’re single and maybe family isn’t around, use your friends or roommates.

Step 2: Tell everyone you know you lost your employment

It doesn’t do you any good to keep your new-found unemployment a secret. Tell everyone. Like I already mentioned, these days losing your job really isn’t too uncommon and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Call key people and email everyone else. This will get the ball rolling.

Step 3: Spend time in prayer

Losing a job is a humbling experience. Spend time in prayer or deep meditation thinking about what got you to where you are and where you’d like to go now. I know from personal experience that you can find answers if you just ask and listen. This introspection is very important and it leads to the next step.

Step 4: Set goals based on your priorities and values

Now that you’re free from your old job, set some goals. What do you really want to do with your life? What is your ideal income source? What is the one thing you’ve always wanted to do? Chances are what you really want to do will be in line with your priorities and personal values.

For example, maybe you love to travel. Deep values for you might include learning and freedom and mobility. Priorities for you include seeing new places and learning new cultures.

Be sure to set goals that are the most meaningful to you. Ideally, it’s a goal that gives you chills just to think about it.

Step 5: Start taking action

This is the most important part of the whole process. The most successful people in life are the ones who take action. And I mean meaningful action that’s in line with your the goals you’ve established. If you want to write a book, don’t just organize your desk. Start writing the book! It must be focused action.

It seems taking action cures almost everything – lack of money, lack of relationships, lack of (fill in the blank). You’ve been given an opportunity to do something even bigger and more meaningful than you were before. Now is time to really kick start your new life. Do whatever it takes to start today.

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will”.     Vince Lombardi

I’ll wrap this up by getting back to my own story of getting laid off. When I got home in the middle of the day, Heidi had a slight freak out. It lasted for a grand total of 30 seconds before her face changed and she burst out, “This is it! All this means is that a new, better opportunity is coming our way!”

And she was right. We have now carefully crafted our dream life and I’m very pleased to say we are living it. One of our primary goals is to help others also live their dream lives.

It’s possible. It’s real. Now it’s your turn.