The travel blogging community is huge, and yet we often don’t really know the faces behind the blogs. In an attempt to get to know each other better, we are collaborating with the Kinetic Kennons in an interesting travel Q&A session.
We wanted to find out more about them, and see if they had any insights for the community, so we gave them a grilling of ten questions!
Hillary, a cat loving CPA and Greg, a book nerd turned explorer extraordinaire, have been married for three years. They absolutely love traveling and inspiring and helping others to find adventure in life. Since marrying in 2014, they have invested their time and money into traveling as often as possible. They live their life by following one simple phrase: have less, do more, be more. You can read more about their story over on their blog at KineticKennons and on Twitter and Instagram.
1) What inspired you to move abroad?
It was not long after graduating college that we both felt there was something more to life than taking part in the rat race. Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four Hour Work Week, was our first exposure to the possibilities of working remotely from all across the world. That is all it took-we were hooked. Once we knew other people like us had traded in their old lives for a new, more adventurous one, we knew we could do it too.
2) What was the hardest aspect of moving abroad?
The decision to move was easy. We had been dreaming of Ditching Dallas for years. Apart from telling our family we were planning an international move, physically packing and moving our stuff was the most difficult aspect, along with coordinating all of the other details. There were so many little things to think through, from changing our car insurance coverage to updating our cell phone plan, the logistics involved were quite extensive. Bonus: we had four weeks from the time we decided to move until our flight to Mexico, so we had to work quickly!
3) What was the thing that most surprised you about moving abroad?
Probably most surprising was the fact that we never questioned whether our move was the right choice for us as a family. We can unequivocally say that we made the right decision in uprooting our lives to move south of the wall, I mean border. This feeling of certainty was fed by how quickly we adjusted to life in Mexico. We could stand on a soapbox for hours telling sagas about how our experiences in Mexico were, and are, a perfect fit for us!
4) How did the people around you react to you moving abroad?
Our family and friends were so very supportive, which made the transition so much more comfortable! Of course, some friends looked at us like we were crazy while others booked their flights to come visit immediately. Although the reactions covered a broad spectrum, we would never be able to travel and see the world without the unwavering support from our family and dear friends.
5) Did you speak the language before you arrived or did get by or learn whilst you were there?
Before moving to Mexico we knew very little Spanish. We could greet others and ask for directions….and that was on a good day! We made countless funny mistakes whenever we first moved because of our inability to speak the language. Luckily, the people of Puerto Vallarta were extremely nice and so willing to help. So much so that after a month of being there, we were taking unofficial lessons from people on the street to get in some good practice! Our initial incompetence did not deter us. We consistently sought out people to chat with in Spanish and never shied away from conversations, awkward or not!
6) You went to live in Mexico, what made you pick Puerto Vallarta?
We went to Puerto Vallarta for a multitude of reasons, mainly the accessibility to the water, jungle, and everything in between. We stayed because of the people! We knew we wanted to live somewhere that had an airport and a beach. Check and check. After a short vacation there previously, we were blown away by just how nice the people were-it is absolutely insane how welcoming this Latin culture was! The generosity of the locals made it easy for us to envision our future there. It is this hospitality that ultimately led us to decide to move to Puerto Vallarta.
7) What is your insider tip for a place to visit in Mexico?
This is such an easy one!- Sierra Lago Resort near Mascota, Mexico. Mascota is a small mountain town about 90 miles outside of Puerto Vallarta. It is a bit difficult to get to, but if you are up for an adventure, there is no doubt you will have the time of your life. The small resort is nestled around a lake in a small valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. The ambience and peacefulness of this place are just so magic and incredible, it would be my top pick for anyone looking for a perfect weekend adventure. Note: Spanish proficiency here is a must-no English-speaking to be found!
If you do not have as much time or are possibly not looking for quite an adventure, we would actually suggest slowing down a bit and not visiting every beach and tourist destination. Settle into a neighborhood (our top pick is Emiliano Zapata) and get to know the area intimately by walking the streets. Aim for depth over breadth 🙂
8) Tell us 3 things that everyone should know about Mexico.
It is hard to speak about Mexico as a whole, as we only lived in and traveled within two states in the entire country. However, based on our experience in Puerto Vallarta, people should know:
- Mexico is all about good food, good music, and dancing.
Sit back and relax, but know you better be ready for a good time! Drinking margaritas and listening to mariachi bands is not only for the Gringos. The culture that we experienced in Puerto Vallarta was all about having a good time with good people!
- Mi casa es su casa (My house is your house) is a very real thing!
Before moving to Mexico we had heard this saying before. Experiencing it first hand was so much more powerful than hearing it. It was typical for neighbors and strangers alike to invite you over for dinner and treat you like you were family. We have never felt so embraced as when we were sitting at a stranger’s dinner table, hearing about all their extended family traditions and looking through old family pictures. It was an amazing thing to experience!
- Mexico, at least not all of Mexico, is not as dangerous as the news portrays it to be!
The way the media demonizes Mexico is appalling. Sure, we know there are parts of Mexico that can be dangerous. Just as neighborhoods in New York City, Chicago, and Dallas can be dangerous. We never once felt threatened in Puerto Vallarta or the surrounding areas. If we can offer one thing for someone to take away from our tips about Mexico, it is this: please do not form your perception of Mexico from any news outlet. Experience Mexico for yourself and who knows, you just may fall in love like we did!
9) If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice before you moved abroad, what would it be?
As silly as it may seem, we would tell ourselves to pack smarter! Putting your entire life in a few suitcases is harder than it seems. We had trouble letting go of a few things and insisted on bringing entirely too many clothes! Why the heck did we bring a heavy poncho to a tropical destination?! Did we need every pair of shoes I own? Not a chance! But they “fit” in the suitcase so we stuffed them in there!
10) And finally, where are you going next?!
Currently we are living with Mom and Dad in Texas. We limited our first move abroad to four months in case we hated it. That leaves us in what we like to call Nomad Purgatory. Though, we have a few ideas floating around for our near future. We love the culture of Mexico so we are thinking of moving to San Miguel de Allende, a town in Central Mexico. After that, we would love to make our way down through South America and eventually over to Europe. We are only just beginning to explore a tiny slice of our awesome world; we cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives discovering what we have yet to see!
A huge thank you to Greg and Hillary for answering all of our nosy questions, we hope you enjoyed the answers as much as we did. There is always something to learn from our amazing travel community!