Thursday, May 30, 2024

From Canada to Cabo part 4: Far from home

I’m writing this in my room at the chalet we’ve rented with family for the week on Mount Washington, Vancouver Island. I can hear all the cousins running around playing, singing songs and sneaking the occasional cookie from the counter. My heart is full every time we get to spend time with family like this.

The hardest thing about living in Mexico is being away from our family. We had been  blessed to have our family living close to us in British Columbia over the past few years, which made it even harder when we left.

Christina Whiteley family photo
Visiting family in Canada. (Courtesy)

We flew back to Canada this week for our daughter Izzy’s 7th birthday because she was missing her cousins, and even though our new Christmas traditions on the beach –  drinking mimosas, watching the whales breach – seem like a dream, whenever Izzy sees snow, she misses it. When we chose Cabo, it was partly because it’s  easily accessible – only a 4 and a half hour direct flight away, or if need be, a long road trip home for a couple of months in the summer. 

At first, our family was really upset and worried for us, but over the last year they have seen us thriving in our new life and have truly come to support us. When we go back now to visit, we just pick up where we left off and when they come to visit us, we get to enjoy vacation time with them, which is so special.

Canada has changed a lot over the last few years. People often wonder about their safety in Mexico, but I have to say that I don’t feel entirely safe in Canada anymore either. Homelessness and drug addiction have had an impact on safety in many Canadian cities.  When we flew back to Vancouver Island last summer, there was a bank robbery in Victoria the day after we landed there and six police officers were shot.

We took our daughter to Vancouver to see family, and I had to remove her from the restaurant twice because I was uncomfortable with the unpredictable behavior of a couple of people in the area who clearly suffered from mental health issues. I have so much compassion for them, and I know they aren’t getting the support they need, but I am not willing to put my family at risk.

Christina Whiteley family
Family from Canada visiting in Cabo. (Courtesy)

When my in-laws (who are in their 70s) came to visit us in Cabo they said, “Wow! We feel safer here than we do in downtown Victoria. We won’t even go down there anymore because random people are being stabbed.” It’s devastating to see what’s happened to the city I fell in love with, the one I lived in as a young adult.

Whenever I’m back in Canada and see how the cost of living keeps going up, I wonder  how most people are able to keep going. I remember at one point, while I was running a business, supporting a team of over 2000 people online, and failing at vegetable gardening, I asked my mom how my grandmother had ever managed.

She reminded me that it didn’t used to be this way. We were meant to raise our kids together in a family space with a village around to support us. My dream has always been  for our daughter to grow up in an outdoor environment, to be able to test her confidence and expand her imagination, riding bikes with friends and playing games running through the forest like we did. But we can’t raise our kids the way we were raised, because we are raising them in a different world. 

We have seen a huge change in Izzy since we moved to Cabo. She is happy, outgoing, engaging, and carefree – like most kids her age should be. She spends more time with us, she is excited to meet new people and chat with them and we love our weekend adventures exploring the Baja and beach days.  

Is it hard for our family to live far away while our daughter is so young? Absolutely, but we make up for it. We go the extra mile. We take the extra trip to connect with family. We make extra time and effort to be present and create a special experience for everyone.

These are the times we will look back and remember as we age. I don’t ever want to rush through them and miss out on the little things, because sooner rather than later, they become the big things.

Christina Whiteley, founder of Life Transformed, is a bestselling author, speaker and business strategist who leads the 6 Figure Profit Plan Mastermind and hosts corporate retreats where she resides in Cabo San Lucas. She and her husband Ryan, who is a realtor, live for road trips and weekend adventures with their daughter and their dog, Larry.

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