Want To Live In Mexico? Find Out how An Adventurous Family Of 7 Did It.(Series #7)

susan-michael whitehead family sabbatical mexico

Have you ever dreamed of leaving it all behind to live in Mexico or Costa Rica?  Think you have to be rich or save a bunch of money to support that new life?  Think you need to spend years planning it?

Think Again.

The WhiteHeads are an ex military family of 7 who decided to take action on their dream of travel. Kids and all. Find out how they did it.

Susan and Michael WhiteHead family sabbatical in Mexico

Lured by the warm weather and beautiful beaches, every year thousands of people from around the world travel to Costa Rico and Mexico for a vacation.

Many of those same people dream about what it would be like to trade in their lives for a new life in Mexico.

Very few actually take action because of all those pesky hurdles you have to jump over to make it happen. Things like how would you support yourself? How would you keep up with the kids education? Where would you live? Not to mention the fact that you would have to learn a whole new language (Spanish).m

I found a couple who jumped  over all the hurdles and through a few hoops. And they did it with 5 kids between the ages of 3 and 14.  They aren’t rich. They didn’t sell off a bunch of Google stocks to make it happen and they didn’t plan the move over several years either.  They hustled and were persistent.

[alert style=”1″]

Snap Shot

The WhiteHeads of www.familytravelbucketlist.com

  • Number Of Kids: 5 kids  (14, 11, 9, 6, 3)
  • Educating Kids: Homeschool and Spanish language tutor
  • Type Of Travel: Long Term, Slow Travel, International
  • Length Of Travel: Since 2011, 1 Year +
  • Where Travelled: Costa Rica, Mexico:—> Atenas, San Jose,  Chapala, Mexico.
  • Challenges: Initially adjusting  to a new location and learning to cook without all the convenience foods found in the US
  • Finances: internet marketing clients, sale of previous business, digital products, kindle books, new travel magazine, teaching English online.
  • Where To Find Them Online: Facebook: www.facebook.com/familytravelbucketlist, Online Travel Mag: www.realfamilytravel.com

FamilyTravel Bucketlist

Since 2011, Susan and Michael Whitehead and their 5 kids have been slow travelling in and around Mexico and Central America. So far they have lived in Costa Rica, Atenas, San Jose and now Chapala, Mexico.  

Their goal is to travel indefinitely and knock as many things off of their family bucket list as possible before the kids leave to conquer the world on their own.

Living in 4 places might seem like a lot in such a short amount of time, ~12 Month Period. But thanks to the U.S. military, the WhiteHeads are no strangers to moving around. This adventurous family of 7 has had the pleasure of living all over the U.S. starting in Wichita Kansas, then to Milton Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia and then back to Texas again.

A Chance To Settle Down

It wasn’t until they broke ties with the military that they decided to plant some roots in one place.

That place was Eastern North Carolina. There they set up their version of “THE DREAM LIFE” which included a 9.56 acre rural farm, chicken coops, plenty of land for the kids to play on, fresh blueberries, apples, pears  and more. You get the picture right? Susan and Michael also home-schooled their kids. Life was pretty good.

You would think that they would welcome the routine and comfort of one permanent place after bouncing around to so many different locations.  So what happened? How did they end up living in Mexico?

The Travel Bug

Wanderlust happened.

It’s true, once the infectious travel bug bites, the uncontrollable urge to see and explore more of the world takes over. No matter how much you try to fight it, no matter how much you try to push it aside, it is always there. If you deny this urge, horrible things can happen like regret and wondering “what if… ”

At least that has been my experience and that is apparently how the Whiteheads feel too because  after 3 years of living their idea rural life, they felt that inevitable pull of their wanderlust spirit too.  They longed for somewhere new to explore AGAIN!

Time To Make A Dream Come True

At the time, the economy and the country seemed to be taking a turn and they no longer viewed the U.S. as the BEST place to raise their children. That is when they started to take action on a new dream which was actually an old dream that they had put off for a long time. Susan and Michael always dreamed of travelling and showing their children the world.

First Steps

So Susan and Michael began to actively take steps to reduce their possessions and the anchoring effect of having a lot of stuff has on a family. 

They also started to grow their online businesses that they hoped would eventually help support their lifestyle and life of travel.

Lightening Their Load

They sold most of their things, gave away the rest and stored some of their keepsake items like photos at Susan’s parents home.

They now own 99% less than what they used to own which makes it easier to travel the world as a family unhindered by “THINGS”.   They each have 1 backpack plus they carry an additional 3 suitcases for other miscellaneous items totaling a whopping 10 bags for 7 people. That’s pretty lean.

What About The Kids?

costa rica with kidsThe kids were already being homeschooled so education was not really an issue. Susan and Michael decided to get the kids a language tutor which has worked out pretty well.

Money Money Money

The biggest surprise Susan revealed to me is that when they embarked on their travels, they didn’t have a ton of savings and have had to really hustle to finance their lives.

Now they have more income streams than ever and plan to add more and more as time goes on which include internet marketing clients, sale of a previous business, digital products, kindle books, Travel Magazine and teaching English online.

The cost of living in Mexico is a lot less then the U.S. and they are able to live quite well for under $2,000 per month. That’s for everything; food, rent, medical, clothes, tutors, sight seeing… EVERYTHING.

Not too bad if you ask me.

Want To Live In Mexico Too?

I asked Susan to give me her top tips to families out there who wanted to travel like they are and here is what she said.

  1. Find some way of making money remotely before you go.
  2. sell your stuff and take a leap without letting dream stealers convince you that it can’t be done

The Whiteheads are the 7th family showcased so far in an ongoing series of families that decided to leave life as they know it behind in exchange for a chance to see the world together as a family. If you missed the first families featured, you can read about them here Amazing Families & Couples Who Are Making Their Dream of Long Term Travel A Reality


So what do you think about the Whiteheads?  Do you think you could do what they are doing with 7 kids in tow to live in Mexico?  Leave your comments below. Ask Susan and Michael questions by leaving comments below as well.

The Whitheads are my 7th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time.

Some people travel for just a year while others have been travelling for more than 5. These are not lottery winners or rich people. They are just ordinary people like you and me who made travel their goal and decided to work at that goal to make it happen. I hope it inspires you to do the same no matter what your goals are.

Want to get featured on this site like the WhiteHeads? Do you know of someone whom I should feature?  Please fill out this form and I’ll post the story here..


Leave a Reply 21 comments