Monday, June 24, 2024

Why leave Los Angeles to start a life in San Miguel de Allende?

Leaving the Grind of Los Angeles For a Fresh Start 

For several years, Sheryl and Ezra Clark had been searching for the perfect new spot. They were ‘on that hamster wheel’ in Los Angeles, with Sheryl working in economic litigation consulting and Ezra in real estate, and were ready to take the plunge.

In 2017, they visited San Miguel de Allende with close friends for July 4th weekend, and on the flight home to California, they were convinced they had found their place to call home – in the vibrant colonial town nestled in the heart of Mexico, which has become a magnet for young entrepreneurs and families.

Ezra had been working at the Beverly Hills branch of Sotheby’s International Realty and on their last day in Mexico, they had visited the San Miguel office.

“We both had immediate synergy with the brokers, Larry Stebbins and Adrian Toscano there,” Sheryl says. Having lived in Querétaro and Mexico City as a younger man, Ezra spoke decent Spanish. 

“It was not my field, but they offered us both a place to start our real estate business!” Sheryl continues. “It felt like divine intervention when we found San Miguel. Everything lined up.” 

From the moment they arrived in San Miguel, they felt as though their senses had been revived. They walked the beautiful cobblestone streets and soaked up the slower rhythms of life, having felt depleted by the big city living. “I remember the bread store on Hernandez Macias,” Sheryl says. “When was the last time we smelled freshly baked bread wafting on the breeze?”

Becoming Entrepreneurs: Creating The Clark Group

Living in a new country is an educational experience like none other, where every day brings new discoveries: food, culture, people, and places. Setting up a business means finding the right legal help and financial advice and getting acquainted with Mexican customs, ideologies, and etiquette.   

The Clarks were serious professionals in their fields, so it was somewhat of a risk to change the blueprint of their daily lives.  “We had a wedding in Cabo on October 15th, so we pinned our move date to San Miguel, rented a place for a few months and rented our house in Los Angeles for a year.”  They immediately found their rhythm of life was different. 

In 2020 they found they had the luxury of time to restructure their business, discovering what they wanted as a partnership and joint CEOs. (San Miguel de Allende / Unsplash)

“Starting this new venture, we needed to build our business from the ground up,” says Sheryl. “But,” she continues, “it was exhilarating, challenging, fun – burning the midnight oil, diving into the eclectic and vibrant small town social scene and working round the clock. It was a great ride for us!”  In the tight-knit community of young professionals and retirees, they garnered their business clients and forged firm new friendships.   

In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, they found they had the luxury of time to restructure their business, discovering what they wanted as a partnership and joint CEOs.  They had arrived right before San Miguel really took off on a global scale. After that first pandemic year, they noticed a whole different level of service, a raising of the bar, which The Clark Group very much represents. Their incessant dedication to fine-tuning every aspect of their chosen business would pay off.  

The Clark Group, consisting of 4 principal agents and 3 supporting staff, is a highly reputable real estate team known for their dedication to hard work, addressing challenging questions, and delivering top-notch service.

Navigating Parenthood and Mexican Healthcare

By their second year, they had expanded their business team, acquired two puppies, and enjoyed the freedom to explore different neighborhoods. They had been living in Centro, but with the arrival of their son, they needed green grass and more space.  

Sheryl had been with her company for 15 years in Los Angeles. “I left a firm that felt like family with ALL the medical benefits,” she says. But she found the prenatal healthcare in San Miguel impeccable, working out a robust birth plan and opting for Star Medica Hospital, Querétaro for the birth. However, due to COVID-19, she wanted to stay close to home and switched to MAC Hospital, San Miguel. “We also have doctors who do house calls!” she says.  “In Los Angeles, the doctors had you on the clock!”

The support systems post-birth also proved to be exceptional. “We have always had the best nannies. Mexican women are maternal and love being around children. It is part of their culture.”

Sheryl reflected on the staff they had hired over the years. “They become part of your family, and that is part of the culture too. It does not feel transactional, but more like an extension of family.” 

Sheryl agrees that life was more stressful in the U.S. and that San Miguel has enriched their lives. (@javierblanco.photo)

They reiterate that the level of care and cost-effectiveness of raising a young child alone would prevent them from moving back to the U.S.  Through their network, they have also found their ideal family dentist, where it’s easy to get an appointment and even easier on the wallet.   

San Miguel’s Community: “We Figure it Out Together” 

Sheryl and Ezra, as part of The Clark Group, are seeing a whole different caliber of people moving to San Miguel with the means to invest. “Some clients are even buying US $3 million homes for their young family!”  With the weakening of the dollar, many are moving their money out of the U.S. to diversify their investments and might even choose to spend only 3-6 months of the year in Mexico.

Moreover, a large number of new residents are taking the plunge to move permanently, either working remotely or setting up their own enterprises like the Clarks. 

Their son, now 3 years old, has been attending one of San Miguel’s finest schools and Sheryl is truly excited to be raising him to be bilingual. He is set to go to Querétaro, Mexico City or abroad for high school. Even though there are many unknowns about his further education, they both feel confident they will figure it out.  

“Sometimes I worry I am making the wrong decisions. But the community here is strong.  We figure things out together.”  

“Sure,” she says, “realistically there are some disadvantages. When it comes to activities for children, Mexico is lacking in comparison to what they were used to in Los Angeles. We have to forego American football and other sports. We have other options for children, such as soccer, tennis and swimming, as well as some outdoor family activities” – her son’s favorite being the pool and multiple slides at Xote, a water park. 

Despite the unknowns, they love the feeling of being creative, more spontaneous, and adventurous; part of a group of young trailblazing families.  

Together with The Clark Group brokered by Agave Sotheby’s International Realty.

For the last year, the family has been living in a beautiful countryside residential community just outside of town, which boasts golf, paddle tennis, a pool and a gym. “Now we have our son, safety is even more important,” says Sheryl. They are happy living among Mexican and expat families, walking their dogs, and taking life at a more relaxed pace than their frenetic beginning years. On balance, she agrees that life was just more stressful in the U.S. and that San Miguel has enriched their lives.   

It has never felt easier to pack up and try living somewhere new. With the world at our fingertips, the question is not so much if one should try living in another country but where to live abroad. The Clarks epitomize the spirit of adventure and what is possible if you choose Mexico as your new home. Sheryl remarks, “Our life has become our adventure. Nothing compares to what’s next!”

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