More thoughts on moving to Mexico, life, and the promise to always give myself an interesting journey

📝 Editor’s Note: To protect their privacy, some names in this story were changed. The writer is responsible for the accuracy of events, places, and people mentioned in this narrative

I met Renato in Guadalajara. He is 28 years old, fresh from med school, got a nice job in the best hospital in Mexico. He is working 16-hour shifts and barely gets to see his friends for a drink. He doesn’t even have time for Netflix.

“Trisha, I dreamt that I died on my desk and it frightens me.”

Death has always been a word I was not afraid of. For me, it’s like menopause or aging gracefully – you need to embrace it and prepare yourself for it. It will happen at one point because that’s how just life is. It’s just something we don’t have control of.

I’ve lost 3 friends from the same group in a span of a year and this instance made me think: what am I doing in my life? Alex and Mindy passed away in June 2018 which was a mini wake up call.

But when Rachel’s unexpected passing happened two months ago, it changed me a lot. I stopped surfing. I stopped hiking without proper shoes.

I look carefully to the left, right and left again before crossing the road. I’ve become different in many ways I couldn’t imagine.

💨 Need help moving to Mexico?


While I was listening to Renato’s fears, I thought, how do our dreams fit in this busy circle of life? I wanted to tell him to loosen up a bit. I wanted to take him somewhere to enjoy a little.

I even proposed that he travels to Cuba with me. But I know Renato is a person who is actually happy with what he’s doing. Overworking is something that brings a spark to his life. 16-hour days make him happy.

We both chose different paths in life but I am sure he is not regretting his choice. Through the years, I learned not to tell people that the way I choose to live my life is not always the best form.

We admire our friends who left their corporate lives to live simply on some tropical island in Southeast Asia. Some even have high-paying jobs but they didn’t care – they wanted to find their peace.

But does that mean that they (we) lead a life that everyone should follow when we all know we can also be happy with our 9-5?

It’s all about putting it in perspective: no matter what it is that you are doing, are you doing what you want? Do you believe what you are doing is important?

Renato’s bad dream was just a little bump on the road that he can certainly get over with. I definitely did not drag him to the I-am-in-harmony-in-life-because-of-the-way-I-live kind of talk because I do not believe my life is something that fits his style. As always, “to each his own.”

“When I was young, I wanted to be a barber. It always felt right. But people told me it’s not a BIG dream and that I should change it.” he said.

Renato is from a big Mexican household. He grew up with a sister but have lived most of his childhood in a cramped quarter together with his mother’s sisters who have children his age.

Life was hard in the pueblo he grew up in so like many Mexican kids who grew up in a small town, they are raised to get out of that “poverty”.

His dream of being a barber in his village is deemed as small so he dreamed bigger – he went after being a doctor. For years, many people in his village, including his family, laughed at his “small” dream.

My head was somewhere else but in Renato’s childhood setting. I was thinking of my mom’s reaction if I told her the same thing.

In my head, I imagined saying, “Mom, I want to be a manicurist at the local salon.” I’ve seen her throw a flower vase on the floor when I was 17.

My sister joked she’s a lesbian and that she has a girlfriend – a thing we all believed because of her choice of friends and how she dressed up as a teenager.

She did not throw it hard but it was kind of a protest. After that, she said, “it’s okay, darling. You can choose whoever you want to love.”

But when she uttered those words, I heard the disagreement, the whys, the hows, the how-can-I-revert-this, the where-did-I-go-wrong-as-a-mother in her breaking voice.

When I was young, my mother is still not as informed as many single mothers in the world weren’t. The world was still following a sequence and order of life.

I never asked this to my mom friends but I’ll ask now: how would you feel if your child tells you she is a lesbian? Or if the other tells you she wants to be a manicurist? How do your children’s dreams weigh on you?

“How do you feel about people saying your dream was small?” I asked.

Having that environment he grew up in, he felt that was the right path for him and that there’s nothing wrong about it. He told me about their very odd sleeping setting.

He told me how a skinny kid he was as he always had to share his meal with his sister. He told me how they survived years just by eating rice and beans every day.

Best of all, he told me about being happy with that. He had nothing or no one to compare his life with because everyone was living the same way, hence, they were all happy about it. Yet today, he is earning 6-figures and still feels incomplete.

I thought about my happy childhood. I thought about the book I wanted to write about my life. Most books open with very sad chapters which progress to getting out of adversity.

I thought about what a great success story Renato has. But I also thought about me: should I write an introduction where I lived in a big house, went to expensive private schools, had unlimited Barbie purchases, grew up with housekeepers with a single mother for a mom?

Will that be a good opening for a memoir? Will people relate to stories of people who did not grow up the hard way? Should I go Notorious B.I.G. where Biggie wrote a song about growing up poor when it’s not the truth?

Will that make people buy my book more? Will that make them relate to my life more?

I am not even here a year but the series of events that happened when I moved to Mexico has been heartbreaking, life-changing, and exhilarating all at the same time.

And today, I am changing the belief that most of us are taught to believe: we don’t have a destination.

Growing up is a never-ending process and it’s never finite. It’s not that we’ll become something at one point and that’s the end.

So far, in my life, I’ve become a writer, a fashion editor, a travel blogger, a digital media specialist, and now, a 31-year-old single woman.

For the last 10 years, I traveled the world, led different lives, and become the many different versions of myself. Yet, I still keep going back to square one. I’ve lost track of how many times I started over and I know it’s never going to stop.

3 years ago, I was fortunate to grace the stage of a TEDx talk in Manila, Philippines. I’ve been listening to Ted podcasts for years and I couldn’t believe I was invited to speak before young people about “where are you headed?”

I loved what I wrote for this talk and up until today, the words in this speech still speaks to me in many different levels and forms. There are a lot of paragraphs here that I really like but I loved how I closed it with an excerpt from Jack (1996):

“Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end none of us has very long on this earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish, and think of me — make your life spectacular.”

How does one make his life spectacular? By realizing there isn’t a destination. By making his life an interesting journey. I used to be so worried about how my life will end up if I keep living the way I do.

I don’t have a house that I own. I sold my car. I am starting over in the oddest country of choice. But I do know I am living life the best way I know how.

Personally, it could be about my age, the development in feminism, or simply breaking the chains my culture has tied me to.

My life setting has always been lush and required me to spend a lot of money that I have. It involves buying brand new cars and leasing huge townhouses.

Now I am no longer scared to be identified by the things that I own or the size of the house that I live in. I still worry about the money in the bank because I have prioritized taking care of my health this year — and that requires money.

But I am not worried about not saving money every month without knowing what it’s for. I will only save for something that will have a purpose in the future and my requirement is identifying that purpose first before putting it in the vault.

This new method of dealing with how I age is intensely clear to me — I feel like consciously living day by day is still my cup of tea.

“It’s about the journey” has become real and true to me. And I mean it. I am no longer affected when people say I have a scattered life.

I’ve lived in 5 different cities with 5 different cultures. I accepted that where I grew up is not home to me anymore. I’ve lived a life according to what society rigidly demanded me to live.

I moved in with four different men who have four different ways of life. I fluently speak four different languages. Strangers opened their doors for me as I carry on to this voyage to life.

Many people in my life cannot find the right ways to support me but they are still trying their best to do so.

I am living the best adventure in life that most people dream of having. And I love every single bit of it. I fulfilled (and still fulfilling) the promise I made to myself: whatever path, wherever I am, whoever I am with, always have an interesting journey.

Making my days different each time is my current life goal and I don’t feel anything wrong about it. I do not feel unstable and I will continue to live in harmony with life.

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  1. Whenever I feel bad, lonely, sad or lost, I always go back to your blog and read your posts. Thank you for inspiring us.

    1. Thank you! When I closed the previous chapter of my life and now that I am starting to write the new chapter (in a new country, in a new culture, with new people), I read and re-read your stories for inspiration. Thank you!

  2. I really would like to see you compile all these articles and make a book out of it. You write so well and so much of your sentiments resonate with me.

    On the a different note: my friend’s daughter actually told her mom she was going to be a hair stylist and my friend went ballistic. she facetimed me every night until the daughter got talked into getting into the “right” path. No judgement here, just sharing.

  3. Wow what a stunning story. i am the same as death scares me too and i want to ensure i have made the most out of life! what a sad being but what a good message to come from tragedy. Its so inspirational that you have made the most out of the last ten years and traveled and just enjoyed life. i feel motivated to do more and travel and enjoy it more than worrying about work so much! thanks for sharing

  4. This is so moving. I hate the fact that we are told to dream BIG as in ‘dream bigger in dollar signs’. It shows that Renato still hasn’t found that true happiness in his work because he went after the ‘big’ dream by others definitions. I loved hearing about your ‘found home’ in Mexico. Sometimes home is simply the heart, not a location that’s set. Beautifully written, thank you for sharing this.

  5. I respect you for living life on your own terms. This adventure story is your own and you write it. This was a beautiful story that inspires me to live more fully and to stop worrying about the things that don’t matter.

  6. After a long time, I read an article where the author speaks about the inner thoughts, reminisces about perceptions and tries to get a grip on the huge entity called LIFE. I read the entire post-sentence to sentence and it was nice how you started with the dream os someone and then your thoughts moved on to you and your perceptions. I am sure the new place will add more insights into this journey that we are part of called LIFE

  7. There are so much similarities between us is what I realize after reading your thoughts on life. That you were on stage for a Ted talk is well deserved as you express yourself so well. I gave up a plush job, sold my car and materialistic things don’t matter much now except the necessities. I turned into a behavioral speaker and love being on stage facilitating programs. Very nice read.

  8. It is a great article, very inspirational. It is a beautiful adventure. We are recently talking with my partner that we would like to live in Mexico for a while. We like this culture and food very much; we love Mexican music. So we start learning Spanish, and who knows, maybe one day we will do that.

  9. Every word you wrote resonated with me. From the story of Renato – who had to break the chains of poverty to the pressures society unconsciously places on all of us. I have always wondered why stories of grass to grace sells more than the regular story of breaking mould and accepting to pursue life differently.
    Like you said to every man his own life to live.

  10. Every word was so true that it touched the heart. You are a compelling writer. And the fears from death, dreams, different perspectives, everything is for real. We all go through it. No dream is big or small. Its about the journey, how one handles it and the adventures we face. Keep going.

  11. Wow, Trish! This is awakening thoughts that I forcefully put to sleep. Growing up in India I was made to believe in so many things. Here the golden rule is dream big, by big that means to become a doctor or an engineer and get yourself a well paying job. Any alternative career is for incapable or less talented people. Thank you for writing this….its high time we live in harmony with life!

  12. Such an inspiring article! I noticed awhile back that you had moved to Mexico and have been enjoying your adventures via Instagram. In regards to what you’ve written, Death is a powerful thing. It can cause all sorts of people to do things they never thought they would. I resonated with this part of something you said – “Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end none of us has very long on this earth.” This couldn’t be more true. I’ve realized that life is too short not to be happy and we need to enjoy it and everyone around us. Thank you for the amazing post and keep safe, happy and healthy!

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