One year later: I’m glad I moved to Mexico and left Vancouver behind

For the vast majority of my readers, and particularly those who live in Vancouver, saying what I just posted as the title of my blog entry would be heresy. After all, I was for all practical purposes, one of THE pre-eminent Vancouver social media darlings. I have written about Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada for more than six years. And then I moved. I packed my belongings and moved to Mexico, to be closer to my (aging) parents.

Vancouver skyline from the Lions Gate Bridge

Everyone who is in some way or another close to me always asks me “are you sure you made the right move?“. And my answer, one year later, is still emphatically YES. I’m glad I moved to Mexico, and I’m glad I left Vancouver behind. You’ll see: I left behind a group of very lovely friends, and someone I loved very much and with whom I shared many, many years. I moved away from one of the cities I have loved the most (I lived for more than a decade in Vancouver), a gorgeous, exciting and vibrant city. I left behind a position that was highly glamorous and socially popular as the socialite editor-in-chief of Hummingbird604.com

Landscape in Downtown Vancouver

At the same time, I also left behind a number of things that were negative about Vancouver that I did not like, and that I put up with as part-and-parcel of living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

I left behind the snarky online fights of some members of the Vancouver’s social media scene. Yes, even with my personality (which is for the most part, gregarious, open, and always honest), there was always someone who disliked me, and always someone who would not like how I participated in the online realm. I have not received negative comments on my blog in months, nor have I been the subject of online attacks. Why not? I have a hypothesis: I’m no longer the competition. With one of the top Vancouver bloggers out, the field becomes less competitive (becomes more competitive among the ones who stay, of course, but I’m no longer a competitor nor am I on the same market).

Leader again on UrbanSpoon Vancouver

I left behind incredibly expensive real estate. Of course, I loved my shoebox one-bedroom apartment in Mount Pleasant, and I miss it terribly. But I also left behind having to commute everywhere by bus, and getting soaked wet or snowed in. I have a three-bedroom, 2 stories house with a yard and a back terrace here. And I pay $50 Canadian dollars LESS than I did for my shoebox in Vancouver.

Houses in industrial areas (Mount Pleasant)

Of course, with leaving the bad behind, comes also leaving the good behind. I miss the forests and the beaches. I’m someone who needs to be close to nature all the time, and the cities where I spend most of my time in Mexico are incredibly urban with a very low green-area-to-inhabitant ratio. Water is scarce in central Mexico, whereas it is abundant in Vancouver.

Stanley Park Prospect Point Event

Sunset in Vancouver and North Vancouver

Sunset in English Bay (Vancouver, West End)

I left behind a number of amazing friends and some of the best collaborations I’ve experienced, including my book co-author (Arieanna Schweber and her family), the co-founders of The Network Hub (Jay, John and Minna), and of course my Vancouver-based friends I met online and then became my offline friends (Airdrie Miller, Isabella Mori, MJ Ankenman, Kimberly Bowie, Gus Fosarolli and Russ Benger, Jordan and Alex Behan, Cassandra Anderton, Monique Sherrett, Ava Naves, Mark Robins and David Hannigan, just to mention a few of them – there’s still a tonne of close friends of mine I left behind in Vancouver, and the list would be incredibly long to mention them all here – you know I love you all).

Vancouver Pride 2011

Dinner at Steamworks Pub

Vancouver Pride 2011

Vancouver Pride 2011

But the truth is: I made the right choice. Living in Vancouver was a choice, and one that I made having JT as one, if not THE, primary reason why I stayed. But my priorities changed as my parents got older, and I had to make a decision, and I’m perfectly happy and content with the one I made. IT WAS THE RIGHT ONE. Living in Mexico is also a choice and one I’m very happy I made. I’ve had friends of mine come and visit me and spend time with me here, and I think that on closer look, they can see why I love being here so much.

Yes, I miss Vancouver. And yes, I loved every minute of my life I lived there. But I love my life here, and I have absolutely no complaints at all. Professionally and personally, this was the best decision I could have made. Sometimes I wish I had made it earlier, but everything comes in due time. But I’ll be back in Vancouver some day. I just don’t think I’ll ever move back. But as they say, never say never!

Related posts:

  1. “Are you happy you moved?” My response to this often-asked question
  2. Cafe Azul y Oro (Mexico City, Mexico) #MexMonday
  3. Yes, Vancouver, I have moved.
  4. Your dose of lunacy: No left turn where you should do a left turn
  5. What is left unsaid often hurts

Comments (18)

GusFJune 24th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

As long as we are here in Vancouver, you’ll always have a place to stay! Granted you’ll be sharing it with 2 people, one dog and one bird in a small, yet spacious, 1 bedroom condo in the heart of Vancouver! :)

MelanieJune 24th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Good for you and good to hear!! Just made a similar move myself, from beautiful Victoria back to Nashville, TN. Hoping for the best for both of us!!

Blair Smith @agentblairJune 24th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Thank you for the contributions that you made to Vancouver during your time here. We are better off having known you, glad you are well and happy Raul. -B

MinnaJune 24th, 2013 at 3:04 pm

We love and miss you soooooooooo much!!!

Janis La CouvéeJune 24th, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Congratulations on your first year anniversary back in Mexico Raul!

As someone who has family and friends on 4 continents I firmly believe in acknowledging connections past, present and future, and being present where I am. For you Vancouver was then, Mexico is now. Wherever you go there will always be people who are not where you are. But, love and friendship endure – across time and space. This, I know for certain. I’m happy for you!

MJ AnkemanJune 24th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Although I do miss you in person and look forward to seeing you in August, our friendship will stay alive with the help of your writings and postings. I always enjoying hearing what you are doing and where. H

Jen StoddartJune 24th, 2013 at 4:11 pm

No regrets! Vancouver misses you but we’re happy that you’re happy in Mexico. I like Janis’ comment above about love and friendship enduring across time and space. It’s totally true!

On a side note, I didn’t know you are friends with David! He’s such a sweetheart- I met him through the Running Room clinics. Small world. :)

Wishing you all the best always, Raul… no matter where you are in the world. xo

LisaJune 24th, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Miss you so much!! Hopefully you’ll have room in your busy schedule for a visit from me soon!

EsmirJune 24th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Minna I second that!!

Catherine NovakJune 24th, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Funny how sometimes even a biggish city like Vancouver can be terribly small-minded and parochial. I am so happy for you that you have made the right decision. Big hugs from (smallish) Victoria! You are akways welcome to come back for a visit…

Dianne ChowJune 24th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Honey you will always be missed here! And yes, I will make your favorite dessert!!!

David HanniganJune 24th, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Hey Raul
There is always good and bad in having to leave a Country/Province/City/Town etc… but at the end of the day your decision to leave can only be the one you make. We were lucky enough to have met your Mom (and you) and know how close you are to her. So I think although it seemed like a tough decision, in actuality it was easy to make. :) Thank goodness for Facebook, it is a great way to stay in touch and connected.

Ava NavesJune 25th, 2013 at 2:12 am

First of all, it’s made my morning to see my name amongst the friends you’ve mentioned! Thank you. You know that the feeling is mutual.

Having said that, the most important thing is your happiness, wherever it leads you. Your friendships will remain, regardless of where you are, or where we are.
Ava Naves recently posted..In Online Marketing, Mind the Time

fotoeins | HenryJune 25th, 2013 at 10:03 am

Raul, I don’t think there isn’t much need for any justification because you knew relatively quickly you had to be in México. But that’s not always how it works, and as friends are curious and wish to know, your explanation works perfectly. I’ve gotta admit after seeing D.F. a second time and with my friends’ recommendations, I hear the call of that city again, though it’s probably “helping” I’ve been looking at my photos from last March’s visit. I had some of the best food in the D.F. : the memory of 4am tacos in Coyoácan will live long and brilliantly. :)
fotoeins | Henry recently posted..Sydney Monorail : the final stop after 25 years

Earlth EpearlJune 29th, 2013 at 7:41 am

Its good you got out of the cut-throat world of the Vancouver blogging scene when you could. Its madness. It honestly reminds me of the peanut industry back in Senegal – crazy as that sounds!

Good on you Raul! We miss you here but so great to see you prosper back in your mother land!

raincoasterJuly 1st, 2013 at 3:17 am

Oh fine. Forget me. Leave me out of your list of friends entirely. What did you mean by that? I had a plus one for Wednesday, but I’ll be giving it to someone else now, because the last time you went to that place you didn’t use the catchphrases the PR gave us to put in our blog posts. And I bet you don’t even Instagram your food now.

Fine. BE that way.

/sarcasm

As someone who has been attempting (with greater or lesser success) over the past three years to leave Vancouver, I seriously feel this post.

RaulJuly 1st, 2013 at 3:38 am

@ Lorraine – you leave the best comments, EVER :)

And the invite for you to come visit me is always open!!! Get your damn passport! :)

raincoasterJuly 1st, 2013 at 3:49 am

WORKING ON IT!!!
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