The face beyond this blog
Heey there! This is Isabella, the founder, and author of this website. I have lived in Mexico for the past 10 years and after founding a Travel and Nomadic Lifestyle Blog, Boundless Roads, I realized how much I love to share my knowledge of the places where I have lived and work, their culture, their food, and what they have to offer.
Therefore have decided to start this new blog dedicated to Mexico, my second home. I hope I will be able to transmit all the love and affection I have for this country but also the things that are not so nice the way we would love them to be. But every country has its faults. Otherwise, we would be in Paradise. And Mexico has a lot of a Paradise, trust me.
I thought I should share more about myself but since I never know where to start when I have to talk about myself, I have decided to translate an interview I have done for an Italian blogger a few years ago. I have recently bumped into it and I got goosebumps because it reminded me of the reason why I am on this journey and I thought it best shows who I am in a nutshell.
From Photographer of dreams Interview by Martina Vitali (the interview has been translated with the permission of the author, readapted and updated with the recent developments in my life)
The only responsibility we have is to be happy
My name is Isabella, I was born in 1972 ( you can do the math 😉 and have lived abroad since 2002 I have always worked in tourism and with tourists, first in the Milan office of a popular Italian Tour Operator and then in different parts of the world as a tour rep for the same company. I have lived in beautiful places like Seychelles, Egypt, Jamaica, Antigua, and the exciting Mexico where I have ultimately returned to live more permanently.
In March 2017, I left a great job to pursue another bigger dream, a trip to Central and South America that was mainly oriented on hiking, exploring, and volunteering. Instead, I didn’t volunteer but I did a few exchanges as a house sitter while I was working on my blog and other freelance occasional jobs. I spent the rest of the time exploring and getting to know Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru.
It was meant to me 1 sabbatical year where I would travel slowly throughout Latin America, but it turned a journey of 2 years first, and then it turned into a lifestyle. I was supposed to explore remote work opportunities and understand what I wanted to do for a living, while traveling.
What happened was the unexpected. While in Peru I decided to interrupt my journey after 2 years on the road and go back to Mexico. There, I have found a remote job which I liked for some time, while I was working on my blog and make it my primary occupation and my business. I had an amazing itinerary planned while working, places to see and things to do. But COVID happened and I got laid off! But that gave me more time to dedicate to my blog. I was in Mexico and I did my lockdown in Baja California, then Merida, and then Tulum. I was very lucky.
As I am writing this I am in Guatemala, housesitting and still working on my projects.
In November 2020 I decided to start this blog, dedicated entirely to Mexico because I thought such an amazing and diverse country needed more attention and dedication if I wanted people to find what I had to share. So here I am.
If I am honest, I don’t think I’ve ever actually “worked” in my life, I’ve always done what I loved to do, and I’ve always loved what they paid me for, and when love ended, I changed, always looking for my place in the world.
What brought you to leave Italy?
I graduated late in languages and tourism. I don’t know why late. Maybe I was a bit too much of a dreamer and I wasted lots of time. I was very distracted while I was studying. I have often interrupted my studies for short trips abroad always for work/study, two in particular, one in Scotland to improve my English (and also to escape from the Italian reality) and the other in Egypt to work as a tour rep for an Italian tour company. It was only for two months, but that was eye-opening.
Despite the desire to leave, in the very same week in which I graduated, I started working for a tour operator. I remember browsing through the catalogs and dreamed of distant worlds while answering our customers’ complaints. I was working in the costumer care office.
I always had traveling in mind but the idea of saying goodbye to everyone and leaving did not even occur to me. I wouldn’t even know what to do. My salary only supported me to make it to the end of the month and the idea of looking for work abroad frightened me, I was very insecure and at the age of 30, and I thought I was too old to venture out and leave everything behind just to travel.
Then, one year I decided to take a 3-week trip to the United States, with 2 friends. We planned a 3 weeks itinerary on the road in California and Utah. I found a second job and had managed to save the money for the trip.
The problem was upon my return. I got depressed for the next 6 months! So I had to find a solution …
So I asked my boss to be sent abroad and work as a tour rep. I would take care of our guests during their vacation abroad and solve their problems there instead of them complaining when they would return.
And so my adventure abroad began. New job, new responsibilities. Mexico, Egypt and Jamaica as a tour rep, and after 3 years I became responsible and my own boss in our abroad office first in Seychelles, then in Antigua, and finally in Greece.
I arrived at the new destination, I had to know the place, people, excursions, hotels, hospitals, airports, etc., I had to know how to move around as if it were my home .. a challenging work, even if it was in paradise. But I managed well not without mistakes and downfalls but I learned a lot. It also made me more confident and bold.
I was really happy. And from there I never turned back.
You have traveled to several countries and are currently in Mexico. Why did you choose this country?
Mexico was my first destination when I left Italy to work as a tour rep, but although I liked it very much, my work has led me to experience other realities, all fascinating to me.
When I left I thought “one day I’ll be back” and in fact, thanks to a fantastic job offer, I went back. I didn’t choose to go back to Mexico. A fantastic job offer came out of the blue and I couldn’t refuse it. I was based in Cancun where I stayed there for 7 years. I was working as a contracting manager for a tour operator (I had to contract hotels for our portfolio and negotiate rates). Also thanks to my previous experience in Jamaica and Antigua, I was assigned to work in the Caribbean area, so I was traveling to the Caribbean islands all the time for work. A dream. It was a wonderful 7 years in which not only I saw beautiful places, but I gained new skills and learned a lot besides meeting amazing people and making new friends.
Where are you living now
Now I don’t have a base. It sounds crazy at my age, but I like it like that. I am not ready to settle, yet. I still want to finish exploring South America and then move on to Africa and the rest of the world at a slow pace. So I am now in Guatemala housesitting while working on my blogs and saving. As soon as the COVID situation will allow it I will be back on the road, this time including Central America which I had skipped in my previous journey. I will do work exchange and will continue to work on my blogs providing useful information to other travelers, and hopefully encouraging more and more women to travel alone and find the courage to do what the want without waiting for permission from anyone.
A tip for those who want to move to Mexico
If you want to live in Mexico permanently you will need a work permit, and I recommend that you rely on a good lawyer. It is not difficult but the bureaucracy is too overwhelming and always changing. So with a lawyer, you save big headaches and mistakes.
For those who work online and already have a residence somewhere, it is very easy to stay with a tourist visa that lasts 6 months. Then you have to go out and back, but they don’t cause problems. Mexico is a wonderful country rich in natural beauty and history.
To live here, I would move away from the usual Mayan coast, which is beautiful, but now too exploited. Instead, I would live in a colonial town, both in the Yucatan and in the central area of the republic. Queretaro is one of my favorite cities to live in, for example, but also Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Oaxaca, or on the Pacific coast Puerto Vallarta.
Follow your dreams. What is your biggest dream?
I believe I am already living it. Keep traveling while writing for my readers. Building the financial freedom that allows me to continue doing that, without being tied to an office and fixed hours. Working independently and for myself, on my own time, and without bosses to be accountable to. I am working much longer hours and I don’t have weekends but I love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work at all. I am hustling but I love it and as I say in my other blog, the journey is the destination, even workwise. Small steps forward, small progress, and results are all leading to my ultimate goal, which is precisely what I am doing already. At this point in my life, it has become a necessity for me to be independent and live on my own schedule and I believe it is worth all the necessary sacrifices. That will also allow me to go back to Italy and stay with my family as much as I want, which is priceless.
For those who dream of leaving but have not yet had the courage to do so, what advice would you give?
I recommend understanding what you really want first and then understanding what your real blocks are and working on them. Talk and compare with people who have made the “leap”. Collect ideas or pieces of advice, but always make your own decision following your heart. Today with the internet and Facebook groups, information is at a very easy reach, but it’s also very easy to be negatively influenced by other people’s successes or failures. We are all different so we cannot compare our journey. I have been doing it as well when I see other bloggers with immediate success while I am still here struggling. But we need to look at our own goals and go for them without fear. Then we must also be open and accept constructive criticism but not let ourselves be discouraged. And we need a lot of patience. That’s key.
Sometimes the fact of not having courage hides the awareness of not being ready for it. So you have to understand why you are not ready and work on it. We have to be more assertive and mindful. I believe that we already have the answers within us but they are hidden by prejudice and fear of external judgments, feelings of guilt, and lack of self-confidence. This I believe is the biggest obstacle. So what to do? Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the most negative situation that can happen if you leave. Ask yourself if it’s worth it and then decide. If it’s not worth it, work on the solution.
I had to overcome the obstacle of the old mindset of permanent work and social security, but when I decided to quit the job, I didn’t care anymore. I felt the need to leave and I felt it was the right opportunity in that moment. And so I left without regrets.
Age doesn’t matter. You need to know when you are ready. Maybe when I was 30 I wasn’t ready to make the choices I made at 45, I didn’t have the same confidence, skills, and know-how.
Each of us is unique and perfect, and the choices we make are always the right ones for us at that moment. Everything we do is the necessary step to take for the sake of our growth and get where we want to go, each of us at our own pace.
The Dream List: three cities you want to visit or where you would go to live (at least for a period)
Cities not so much, they fascinate me for cultural opportunities, but I am more for nature, I would love to live for a while in Iceland, but I would do a week in Reykjavik and the rest “on the road” hiking.
Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile are on the program for this journey that I am taking now, starting from Guatemala. I’ll get to the land of fire. I will certainly pass through the capitals but my goal is the mountains and lakes. My biggest dream is a cruise in Antartica passing through the Falklands. It’s a very expensive journey but I am going to manifest it at the right time.
Three words to describe why we have to travel
I don’t think traveling is a MUST. Many people are also comfortable where they are and if they do not feel the need to travel they don’t have to.
The only responsibility we have is to be happy and do everything in our power to achieve our happiness even if sometimes it implies giving up spending time with our loved ones or going against family expectations. It also requires making sacrifices.
It sounds selfish but it isn’t, because if we’re happy, we radiate joy and positive energy to those around us too. And we also inspire others to find their own happiness. So we ultimately do good to those around us. Everyone has a different way to achieve happiness. I live to travel, and that’s what I am doing.
I can’t settle in one place. This is what I felt about Cancun, which was the city where I lived for the longest, 7 years. I was ok there, because I traveled a lot for work and therefore I was distracted! 🙂
But then I felt the need to pack again. For me, traveling is research, change, acceptance, knowledge and learning. But above all it means openness to the new and a thousand possibilities.