Hi, I’m Janet Blaser and I’m glad to see you here! It’s still kind of thrilling to say “I moved to Mexico.” It’s been 15 years now, since I left my comfy, familiar life and community in Northern California and drove by myself to start my new life in a foreign country. Some sort of bravado or naivete (or, as my friends would say later, courage), allowed me to pooh-pooh concerns about all the unknowns— culture, language, customs—and head off nonetheless.
I’d been working in the newspaper and publishing industries for almost 30 years, in and around Santa Cruz, California. I loved being part of my community in that way, discovering interesting and unique people, places and things and then sharing that info with my friends and neighbors. I worked as a writer, editor, proofreader and columnist at daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and assorted other publications and projects. Somehow I always ended up writing about some of the most fun things in life: food, music, arts and entertainment.
And then the internet “happened” and all of that changed. Suddenly my career path seemed to be heading toward a cliff. I wasn’t sure what to do…I was 50 – who would hire me?!
A random vacation took me to Mazatlan, a bustling city on Mexico’s west coast that I instantly fell in love with and could imagine as home. Perhaps more importantly, I had a classic “Aha!” moment when I saw the opportunity to start my own business: an English monthly magazine for the thousands of expats, snowbirds and tourists that lived in or visited Mazatlan. There was so much going on, and almost no information in English.
So that’s what I did, on a wing and a prayer, moving within six months to Mazatlán to start a new life. I published a successful and beloved monthly magazine for 10 years and also started the city’s first organic farmers market, which still happens weekly from November to April. I feel blessed and full of gratitude that I had the chutzpah to step out of the proverbial box and follow my dream. I’m living a life I couldn’t have even dreamed of , with a level of constant happiness I’d never experienced before.
In 2017 I started working on “Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats,”my first book. The 27 essays in this unique anthology are written by “regular” women about their “regular” lives and how they decided to change everything and move to Mexico. In simple, engaging words straight from the heart, the contributors to Why We Left share their plans and preparations, hardships and challenges, joys and satisfactions as their new lives in Mexico unfold. If I do say so myself, the book is a great read! It’s interesting, humorous and informative all at the same time.
Since the book was published, I’ve heard from literally thousands of people who’ve shared their Mexico experiences and been inspired and enlivened by the stories in Why We Left. It’s intensely satisfying for me to read their comments and learn about their lives. Somehow, it seems being a foreigner, an expat, and an immigrant makes us all humble and very human. I hope you enjoy the book and that it encourages you too, to follow your dreams. And if that leads you to Mexico – bienvenido and welcome!