This is the answer I receive more and more frequently to the question I ask my customers: “Do you live here?”. Once we begin chatting, I learn that there is a strong similarity between them: they are in Mérida for several months; and many are playing with the idea of staying on some sort of a permanent basis.
They are expats from near and far. They are young or middle-aged working people who are able to work remotely; they are definitely not retired. Some continue to work while they’re here, from their laptop; Zoom meetings with far-flung colleagues are a basic part of their routine. Others are on a break between jobs or between projects. In some cases it’s the pandemic that gave them wings to fly away from their home base; in other cases they are consciously choosing to spend time in México.
When I was at Yucatán Today, we always loved knowing who our readers were. They fell into several categories (and still do): visitors from México and abroad, expats who live here, snowbirds, Mexpats, and Yucatecans. Now we can add this sixth group – I call them “restful travelers” – to the mix. They are travelers, yes; but they are resting, too. Here are some traits that make them a fascinating group:
They want to know all about their temporary new home. They want to explore nature, learn about the Maya, see different neighborhoods in Mérida, try as much local cuisine as possible, and receive as much cultural input as they can. And they want to meet people who live here, both Yucatecans and non-Yucatecans. They want to know what day-to-day life is like here, and be a part of it for awhile.
They have time! They don’t have a plane to catch tomorrow, so they have time to explore, time to try different restaurants, time to shop, time to learn a bit of Spanish, and time to learn about the history of the region. They have time to become frequent customers of local businesses. They go to more than one archaeological site, colonial town, cenote, and beach town.
From political campaign managers to writers; from chefs to yoga instructors: restful travelers have a myriad of stories to tell. But they are all in need of some down time while working long distance or waiting for the next gig…and Yucatán is where they’ve chosen to sit still for a moment or two.
As travel trends evolve, so do the destinations and the visitors. Mérida will always be a magnet for people who are passionate about seeing new places and experiencing new things. Restful travelers bring a new energy and diversity to our city, and have much to share with us while they are on their journey.
Juanita was Editorial Director of Yucatán Today from 2008 – 2019. Now she owns Between the Lines, an English language bookstore in Mérida Centro.
Photography by Virro & Lola and Jasson Rodríguez for use in Yucatán Today.
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