Thursday, May 21, 2020

The May "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" Newsletter Has Been Published!

My Mexican Permanent Residency Visa and a NEW BOOK RELEASE!

I’m officially a permanent Mexican resident!
Hola from Sayulita, México!
I was so relieved when I was notified in April to go to the Mexican immigration (INM) office in Nuevo Vallarta for fingerprinting to complete my Permanent Resident Visa application! The office was open, but only one woman was working at the desk, so the wait was about two hours—but they were open and processing applications. She fingerprinted all ten fingers and then told me to come back for my card in two weeks.
     With so many government offices closed during the COVID-19 lockdown period, I was skeptical about whether my card would actually be ready in two weeks. But on April 27th, my representative read more...

New Book Release!

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United Kingdom:
Terry L Turrell, Author

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

19 Things I'm Grateful for in Mexico During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sayulita Beach was All But Empty During Semana Santa
Life is changing throughout the world, even here in Sayulita, Nayarit, México. Families carry out their daily activities as usual, or at least as normal as they can under the circumstances. Most of the international tourists have returned to their home countries or canceled their vacations to this beach town. Many Americans and Canadians who would typically be here until May have flown away early. Sayulita is eerily quiet, some say this is how it was twenty or thirty years ago.
When the visitors disappeared, many local people’s income all but evaporated. Many restaurants and bars have closed, but a few are still open for deliveries and pick up only. Food banks have sprung up to help families who have lost jobs.
We will stay. This is our home. We love living in Sayulita. We will help where we can, we will enjoy the peacefulness of this unusual time, and we will be thankful for at least one thing every day.
Gratitude eases the sadness. Gratitude helps minimize the stress of this scary time. Gratitude gives us hope.
We are thankful that…
1. we have daily sunshine, providing us with warmth and vitamin D to help keep us healthy.
Our View from Home of Sunshine and Wild Parrots
2.  we retired in Sayulita, a Mexican village with a beautiful beach and so much to offer, even when it is not currently a tourist town.
Sayulita "Selfie Street" is Deserted, but Beautiful
3. we live outdoors, our home open to the garden and sunshine. Thankfully, we aren’t cooped up inside a house in a cold climate.
View of Bougainvillea and Jungle from Our Terrace
4. the traffic is almost non-existent. It’s fun to watch the cowboys ride their horses along streets in town without meeting cars and construction trucks.
Cowboys Riding through Sayulita with Little Vehicle Traffic
5. we participate in online Zumba classes with Debora P and other Zumba teachers through Zoom two or three days each week to help keep us physically and mentally healthy.
Virtual Zumba Class at Home through Zoom

6. we attend yoga classes online through YouTube with Audra Rose Stanley and Zoom with Jim Gallas, helping to keep us strong physically and maintain inner calm during this stressful time. Bella enjoys yoga class too.
Bella--Always First to do Down Dog During Home Yoga Class
7. we shopped at Costco five weeks ago, stocking up on food and wine. Now that alcohol sales are prohibited in our town and much of México, we're especially glad we bought extra wine and still have a little left.
Rationing Our Wine After Mexico Stopped Alcohol Sales
8. we shopped at Home Depot in Puerto Vallarta four weeks ago to buy two additional air conditioners to keep our house cool this summer as we may not be able to travel this year.
Purchasing 2 High-Quality Inverter/ACs at Home Depot
9. Jon, my husband, is skilled at installing the air conditioners, including running the electrical and drain lines, only needing a local company to charge the units with refrigerant. Jon has Parkinson's disease, so this ladder work makes me nervous, but I can't keep him from his fun.
Jon Installing the New Air Conditioner Interior Unit
10. it’s inexpensive to live here, partly because the U.S. dollar to peso exchange rate is high, 24.99 at the time of this writing. This means that, as an example, the air conditioner we bought when the exchange rate was about 20 pesos per dollar would have cost about $650 US dollars. Today it would have cost $520 US dollars at an exchange rate of 24.99. Other factors that make it inexpensive to live in México are our low utility costs, extremely low property taxes, lower grocery costs, and lower prices when dining out.

Current Exchange Rate Makes Our U.S. Dollars Stretch Further
11. Bella, our dachshund, keeps us laughing with her football-retrieving antics.
Bella Loves to Play Fetch with her Football
12. we have water! The city water had been turned off in our neighborhood for over two weeks in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic—not a trickle coming from our hose. Our tinacos didn’t run dry but we were conserving and I was becoming concerned about washing hands, dishes, and cleaning the house. Neighbors were having to purchase truckloads of water to fill their cisterns and tinacos. After daily calls failed to get action, Jon finally walked to Sayulita’s new water department and showed them on the city map the streets at our end of town that were without city water. Within two days, the problem had been solved and we have more water pressure than we’ve ever had since we moved here. Sayulita still uses water-conserving measures, but we know we will receive water to our house at 4:00 PM every day, allowing for garden irrigation and filling of our cistern.
We Finally Have City Water Flowing After 2 Weeks Without!

13. some restaurants in town are open for carryout orders and most of those will deliver meals, as well. Some days walking to town to pick up lunch or dinner is the only exercise we get, but it feels so wonderful to get out!
For Reuben Sandwiches & Chinese Chicken Salads To Go

14. meat markets and small grocery stores are open in our village so we can stock our freezer and fridge.
Crock-pot Pot Roast with Beef & Veges Purchased in Sayulita 

15. Our children and grandchildren in Oregon are safe and financially secure. We’ve enjoyed video-calls with all of them in the last two weeks. 
Grandkids Playing--From the Swing to the Trampoline!

16. I’ve had plenty of time to write my books and blogs.
At My Desk in Sayulita

17. my new novel, "Pickle Jar Test: In Sickness and In Health #2", will be released this month! Look for this eBook on Amazon worldwide.

18. so many readers have recently downloaded my novel, Just Another Manic Moment: In Sickness and In Health #1.

19. we live four blocks from the beach. Last night we stood on the beach and ate a frozen juice popsicle, enjoying the view of the ocean while we waited for La Rustica to prepare our take-out order of pizza and salad. Life is good in Sayulita!
Sayulita Beach on Cinco de Mayo

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico MARCH NEWSLETTER Has Been Published!

My Mexican Permanent Residency Visa and a FREE Book!

Sayulita Beach is Quiet This Week

     Our world has changed so fast this month that I've rewritten this newsletter three times. I hope you are well. While the world hibernates during this Covid-19 pandemic, Jon and I are catching up on our home projects. One good thing about being home so much this week is that I’ve had lots of time to write. More about that below.
     After driving our motorhome to Arizona, we're happy to be back home in México. In January, we made a rather sudden decision to sell our 28-foot Triple E Class C Diesel motorhome through a consignment company, RV Arizona. Why would we do that after RVing in México for twenty years—and loving it? The main reason is that we decided it was time for me to apply for my Mexican Permanent Residency Visa. You can read more about that in my recent blog article, OUR LAST RV TRIP IN MÉXICO AND WHY! New Travel Plans.
Sadly, Our RVing Days in Mexico are Over
     It has been six weeks since I applied for my Mexican Permanent Residency visa. On February 19th, I had my official photo taken and signed the paperwork for the application at the Book Store in Paradise Plaza Mall in Nuevo Vallarta.        The photographer asked me to remove my glasses and earrings, then pin my hair back from my hair, as required by the immigration office, INM. After she told me I still had too much hair, a wisp of bangs, covering my face, she sent me to the restroom to wet my hair and slick it back from my face. I’m sure my “mug shot” will be worse than any DMV photo I’ve ever had.

     I was told that in about six weeks, I would be notified to return to Nuevo Vallarta for the fingerprinting step. Normally, my Permanent Residency Visa would... continue reading HERE

FREE eBook from March 28 through April 1

     I recently discovered the useful app called Grammarly, an online grammar checker, and have been using it while writing my second novel, Pickle Jar Test: In Sickness and In Health #2. With all of this time on my hands, I decided to edit my novel, Just Another Manic Moment: In Sickness and In Health #1, using Grammarly, and rework the cover. In celebration of publishing the revised version, I am offering it FREE for five days beginning March 28. I hope you will read it and leave a brief review on Amazon as I am an independent author. Each review helps others find this book which I wrote to increase mental health awareness.
     What does this have to do with Healthy Living and Traveling in México? I believe living and traveling in México, a beautiful, less stressful place, is beneficial for our mental and physical health—and the book is partially set in this wonderful country.
FREE on kindleunlimited
Terry L Turrell, Author
     I invite you to SIGN UP for my "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter", published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.

Friday, March 6, 2020

10 Reasons We're Happy to be Back Home in México!

View of the Jungle from Our Upstairs Terrace
    There are so many reasons we're happy to be back home in México after our motorhome trip to Tucson last month! When I started writing about each reason I'm glad to be in Sayulita, I had to force myself to stop my list at number 10, since there are so many great things about living here.
    As a side note, we're also happy to take a break from traveling. Google emailed this map to us that confirmed that we were very busy with our travels in 2019.

 1.       Life is mellower, simpler here in Sayulita with its small-town atmosphere. The contrast to the fast-paced life in Tucson reminded us how much we prefer living in México. 
Jon Builds Gutters Mexican-Style in His Outdoor Workshop
2.    We’re getting more exercise. Sayulita is small enough that we can walk everywhere we want to go. We walk to and attend Zumba classes twice a week, yoga classes twice a week, and walk around town or on the beach every day, getting 10,000 steps per day much more often, according to our Fitbits. Another health benefit is that our Zumba and yoga classes are held outdoors under palapa roofs where we breathe fresh seaside air.
I Ease Into a Balancing Pose in Yoga Class
Yoga Helps Flexibility & Balance--Good for Jon's Parkinson's
I Lead Part of Our Zumba Class

3.    Our monthly budget is half of that in the U.S. or less! Our electric bill averages $18 USD per month and our internet expense is about $18 USD monthly. Our water bill did go up from $12 USD per month to about $14 USD this year, but we’re glad Sayulita is finally installing water meters at each home so there will be less waste in town and we will each pay for what we actually use. We own our home in México, so we are debt-free. Our property tax is about $100 USD annually. We pay all of our bills annually, so that simplifies life and gives us a discount in some cases!
4.  We need that Blue Water Effect—the benefits of being near water. The psychological benefits of sitting by the ocean, seeing the blue water, listening to the waves, have been proven. We are so happy to be back in our little oceanside town where we walk on the beach, go to dinner on the beach, and sit and watch the ocean at least once a week.
5.    We love the wonderful weather—blue skies and lots of sunshine. It seldom rains this time of year. The rain won’t come until June or July and lasts for about three months. Winter, spring, and autumn temperatures are comfortable.  This week it's averaging around 75°F during the day and 60 to 65°F at night—perfect for us. Tucson was too cold in February; I guess it's not far enough south for us.
6.   We enjoy dining out every other night at very good restaurants for less than half of what we would spend in the U.S. We eat healthier meals—lots of fresh produce, fresh meat and fish, and freshly prepared dishes, both in restaurants and at home. One of our favorite new dining experiences is discovering inexpensive restaurants that don’t have a liquor license so they allow us to bring our own wine without paying a corkage fee. This week we ate at PizzaVenezia in Sayulita and brought our own wine—the total bill for a large pizza with two extra ingredients, plus tip, was 380 pesos, about $19 USD, and there was enough left for lunch the next day. We saved money, I didn’t have to cook or wash dishes, and we listened to live jazz music while we ate! Okay, that was another 40 pesos for a tip ($2 USD) and well worth it.
7.       Our tropical garden is blooming, as it does year-round. Gardening is my hobby and therapy. Our small, colorful yard is our descansadero (resting place), our oasis, our calming escape place. We enjoy showing it off when friends and family come to visit. 
       We love these two new potted plants—does anyone know what they are called?
8.       Our small town has grown enough that we have most everything we need within walking distance. Intercam bank, Saint Luke’s Medical Center, fitness centers, multiple options for yoga and Zumba classes, many tienditas (little stores), farmacias, hardware stores, and over 100 restaurants, so we seldom need to leave town. If we can’t find it in Sayulita, we can usually have it delivered to our casita from or
9.  It will be easy and exciting to travel around México now that we are free of our car and motorhome. When we want to leave town for big-city shopping or an adventure, there are buses to Puerto Vallarta, a Vallarta Plus bus from Sayulita to Guadalajara, an international airport nearby, Uber, and taxis. We’re planning our first long-distance bus trip to Guadalajara to take a walking tour of the historical center. This summer we'll probably fly to the Guanajuato International Airport and then take a taxi to the cooler mountain city of San Miguel de Allende where we'll stay for two to three months. Maybe we’ll take a cruise sometime soon, too.
10.    We walk almost everywhere in Sayulita—it’s so healthy! We only need our golf cart to get around town when we need to haul heavy loads—no other vehicle. The golf cart is our transportation when we take laundry to the lavandería, shop for larger loads of groceries, or to explore the jungle and beaches. The golf cart simplifies our life and decreases our expenses—and Bella loves to go for a ride with us! 
Exploring Sayulita Beaches & Jungles
Healthy Living in Mexico Book #2
     Terry and Jon found a way to escape the rat race, retire early, and make their money go further. Their decision to move to México may seem radical to some, but others may soon consider doing the same thing! Discover how they prepared and left behind the chaos in the United States to find their piece of paradise in the sun.
     I invite you to SIGN UP for my Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Monthly Newsletter, published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.
Terry L Turrell, Author
     Follow me on Facebook at "HealthyLiving and Traveling in Mexico" for more information about life in Mexico and my Amazon Author Page for updates on my books and blogs.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Ready to Leave the Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park
     We’ve been RVing in México since early 2000—over 20 years! We loved the adventures we had motorhoming through México!
     So, why are we finished RVing? My Mexican Temporary Residency Visa (Visa de residencia temporal or RT) expires February 28, 2020. That means we had a big decision to make regarding our motorhome. Here were our choices and why:
1.     If we wanted to keep our Arizona registered motorhome and drive it in México, I would need to obtain another Temporary Residency Visa. By law, once I become a Permanent Resident, I can no longer drive a foreign-plated vehicle in México. So, I could let my RT Visa expire, fly to Tucson, AZ and apply at the Mexican Consulate for a new Temporary Residency Visa, good for one year. Before the new RT expired in one year, I would need to apply in México for the next Visa—a 3-year Temporary Residency Visa. All of this requires quite a lot of money, time, and hassle.
2.     We could “nationalize” our motorhome, registering it in México. Then Jon and I, as Permanent Residents could legally drive it in México. This is a very expensive process, including fees of over 10% of the value of the motorhome plus attorney’s fees.
3.     Before my Temporary Residency Visa expired, we could drive the motorhome back to Arizona, sell it, and fly home. This would need to be done quickly if I wanted to apply for my Permanent Residency Visa (Mexican Visa de Residente Permanente), as my application had to be submitted to the Mexican government before February 28, 2020, when my RT expires. (Jon has had his Permanent Residency Visa for four years.)
     We decided on option number 3. A quick trip to the Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park to clean out the motorhome, so we could take the personal items we wanted to keep back home to Sayulita. Then, we each packed a suitcase, Bella, our dachshund, and an extra-large duffle bag to haul our remaining gear home on the airplane. After all, I couldn't leave my sweatshirts and gloves I would use in the cool winter Tucson weather and Jon couldn’t leave his precious air-compressor and toolbox!
RV Kitchen Emptied of Coffee Maker, Towels, Pots and Pans
     On Friday, January 24, we left Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park and drove the 320 miles to Trailer Park Las Jaibas in Mazatlán. We drove by way of Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit, a little longer route that avoids the town of Xalisco, Nayarit. We have always loved Mazatlán but, WOW, has it changed rapidly in the past five years with condominium and residential construction! San Fernando RV Park and Las Jaibas Trailer Park have sold large sections of their properties to building contractors. New home construction is shrinking these two RV parks until they will eventually close. It appears that we are finishing RVing in Mexico at the right time as there are fewer RV Parks each year.
Sunset at Las Jaibas RV Park in Mazatlán

     This may be the last time we visit Mazatlán, one of our favorite cities! We decided to spend the weekend there and enjoy a visit to a few special hangouts. Saturday night, we bussed to Old Town, then walked through the plaza, admiring historical buildings and gardens. 
Beautiful Wall of Bougainvillea in Old Town Mazatlán
     We were amazed at the gorgeous "bougainvillea wall" we saw and tried to figure out how they had planted it on the back-side of the wall, allowed it to grow over the top and down the front of the wall, then pruned it flush without eliminating its blossoms. We wanted to duplicate it at our home!

     Saturday evening, we planned to listen to music by Rob Lamonica during dinner at Macaw’s Bar and Bistro but, though we arrived early, every table was already reserved. 
      So, we headed to Water’s Edge Bistro and enjoyed romantic tunes by Tanya Carrum Semoloni and a wonderful meal in a cozy atmosphere. Tanya's music at Water's Edge was a pleasant contrast to her lively performances at La Catrina Restaurant and Cantina.
     The next day, lunch at Tony’s on the Beach fulfilled our desire for a view of the ocean, people watching, and a taste of pescado empanizado.
Tanya Carrum at Water's Edge Bistro

     The second leg of our trip north was from Mazatlán, Sinaloa to Playa Huatabampito, Sonora, a 360-mile route with some slow country roads. Luckily, we got an early start because we had a dreaded delay on Mexico Hwy 15D north of Culiacán, Sinaloa—a flat tire on an inside back dual. I was driving when the EEZ-Tire pressure indicator started sounding its alarm that we had trouble. I quickly pulled over at the next SOS box, though we never had to test it to call for help.
Jon and His Helpers Changing and Airing Up the RV Tire
         We were a little nervous when three guys on motorcycles stopped--but they just wanted to help Jon change the tire. Jon got a lot of moral support, some good-humored laughter about changing a tire at his age (70 years old!), and some muscle to lift the tires. It only cost us three Diet Cokes and 300 pesos (about $16 US). We were grateful for the company and the help. We've learned the value of keeping the fridge stocked with Coca-Cola while on the road in México. 
El Mirador Hotel Restaurante & RV Park
     We made it to El Mirador Hotel Restaurante & RV Park in Playa Huatabampito just before sunset. The RV Park was the fullest we have ever seen it—we were surprised until we realized we had never been there during the winter. In the past, we were often the only RVers there because we arrived in June or July as we headed to the U.S. for the summer, or in October or November as we headed south to Puerto Vallarta. Apparently, it’s a snowbird destination.

     We decided to bypass our usual stop at Totonaka RV Park in San Carlos in order to overnight closer to the Mexican border. The third leg of our trip was 335 miles to Punta Vista RV Park in Santa Ana. The next day we had an easy 135-mile drive, crossing the México border at Nogales, and arriving in Tucson, AZ in time to buy groceries and settle in at Far Horizons RV Resort.
Tucson Temperature was Below Freezing in February!
     It was time to seriously market our motorhome—we needed to sell it and get home in time for my February 19 appointment to apply for my Permanent Residency Visa. We tried Craig’s List, RV Trader, and window signs. After two weeks of enduring the cool weather in Tucson (it was so cold at night they were covering the plants), we decided to consign our 28’ Diesel Class C Triple E motorhome with RV Arizona Consignment Specialists. Diesel Class C Motorhomes, like ours, are hard to find in the U.S. Made in Canada, it's tough, has a powerful engine, and gets great mileage!
Diesel Triple E Regency 28' Motorhome is Now For Sale 

     After we delivered our beloved motorhome to RV Arizona Consignment Specialists and signed the paperwork, we called Uber to take us to a motel. We felt sad to leave our RV behind—it had been our “on-the-road-home” for many adventures. But we also felt excitement about beginning a new style of travel. First step, flying home to México. February 17, just two days before my appointment to apply for my Mexican Visa de Residente Permanente, we flew from Tucson to Puerto Vallarta.
Bella in Her Pet Carrier Patiently Awaiting Inspection

     Our airport experience with Bella in PV was much easier than the one we had in 2017. Though the new information being disseminated states that a pet Health Certificate is not required to bring a pet into México, I wasn’t taking any chances on a repeat of being held up at the airport the way we were in 2017. The week prior to our departure, I had Bella’s vet in Tucson prepare a Health Certificate exactly as SAGARPA specified to me that year. It worked perfectly—the inspector studied the health certificate, I told him we lived here, and he signed off Bella’s SENASICA Zoosanitario Para Importación Certificate without even examining her!
     So, how will we explore México now? How will we travel now that we don’t have an RV or a car? We can’t get beyond the jungles surrounding Sayulita in our golf cart! That is for travel stories to come. We’ll fly, bus, Uber, boat, taxi, join a tour group... we’re open for suggestions. We have many new travel adventures ahead!
A Novel that Contrasts Life in the U.S. to that in México
     Jake and Lindsay fell in love with each other in Oregon. After years of battling the stress of life in the United States, consequences in the form of health issues and a strain on their relationship resulted in their search for a simpler, healthier life. Moving to México was the beginning of their healing life change.

United Kingdom:
Terry L Turrell, Amazon Author

     I invite you to SIGN UP for my Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Monthly Newsletter, published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.

     Thank you for reading my blog articles and books. Follow me on Facebook at Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico. As an independent author, I appreciate it if you can take a moment to leave a brief review of my books on Amazon. Each review helps others find my books and learn about life in Mexico.