Our First 24 hours in Mexico

Mexican Flag

Hard to believe that just yesterday we were saying goodbye to new friends in San Diego.

Yesterday afternoon we crossed the border from California into Mexico.

And believe it or not we were a little too laid back for the Mexicans.

But after quite a bit of back and forth to Gracie for paperwork we finally got it all figured out.

Gracie and the new car-hauler trailer (Carl!) have a 10 year permit in Mexico. The Minivan only gets a 6 month :(  (She gets slighted again)

Becky, the kids and I all have 6 month visas.

All of us were excited to see another stamp being put into our passports!

There’s just something about international travel that is so different than domestic travel. And somehow our Kortman clan has the DNA trigger to release happy hormones when experiencing the little things about International Travel.

For example, Gracie had to be X-rayed. Yeah, but their x-ray machine is a huge scanner on train tracks. They needed to make sure there were no pets or humans inside during the scan… and I had to stand behind a 10” thick cement wall.

Mexico Border x-ray

I choose to believe that the scanner works and actually does something, but I have no idea… (the scanners in the Philippines at the airport don’t work (had my cell phone in my pocket and the metal detector missed it)

Bienvenidos a Mexico

I had a tough time staying in my lane in traffic because there was so much to look at and enjoy. The kids hadn’t ever been this excited while driving in the US. They just couldn’t get enough and had a ton of questions.

We drove a smooth toll road and arrived at our destination for two night just before the sun set.

I struggled to get the minivan off of Carl (and we had struggled getting the minivan on Carl that morning. But hey it was our first time, and over the course of 6 months we had the tow dolly we got really good at getting it loaded and unloaded.

Becky and the kids were able to enjoy the beach just past the sunset

playa de almeja sunset

playa de almeja sunset kids

playa de almeja sunset kids faces

Oh and I bartered our price down but I realized that I didn’t start low enough. I started at 50% of what they were asking for two nights, and they said "yes you can pay that”. When bartering, when someone accepts your first offer you knew you started too high. :(

But alas, $20 a night for beach front property… I cannot get upset at that!

The Morning After

Looking up to this view while working was one of the perfect ways to start my day,

beach morning

Becky spent time running with the kids and the dogs and on the beach and in between my work session/phone calls I was out there doing the same.

seaweed toys

But it was really awesome to take a break from work, step out the door and have the ocean in front of you, two dogs running all over the place and the kids making seaweed walls, moats and other sand castle features.




Celebrating Christmas Beach RV style :)


Even a guy flying this contrapcion stopped and offered a tour ride for $25. Had he been able to carry an adult and a child we may have done it. But he could only take one human at a time. :(

Even a guy flying this contrapcion stopped and offered a tour ride for $25. Had he been able to carry an adult and a child we may have done it. But he could only take one human at a time. :(

The Evening Adventure

We needed some food for meals tomorrow and as we’re moving from this awesome campground to the orphanage tomorrow we wanted to make sure we had enough food for a couple of days versus showing up and leaving right away to get food.

So we stopped at the office to ask if they knew of a better way to go… GPS was telling us it was 30 minutes on the toll road to a grocery store.

Fortunately the guy saw right through what I was asking and between his great english and my broken spanish he was able to guide us to the Marcado Oscar.

Bonus points it’s in the same town the orphanage is, La Mision!

So off we went looking for a random Marcado in a very small town.

But thanks to great spanish directions we found it.

We probably shouldn’t have been out after dark seeing as how everyone seems to think that Mexico is the most dangerous place on earth. However we had two things going for us, 1: we’re in a touristy area (people here are used to gringos that don’t speak good spanish. 2. we have adorable kids and 3. we have data on our cell phones (the most important tool for an international traveler)

We found Mercado Oscar and met Oscar himself. He was a very loving and kind man who spoke decent english and let us practice our spanish.


We were able to buy some of the food we were looking for (mostly fruits, veggies, meat and tortillas). We had fun with Oscar as he was trying to help us find the 'mild' salsa… he put two aside and said these were 'mucho picante', even for mexicanos. When we explained this, Josiah said, "Those are for dragons so they can breath fire."  Oscar laughed!

Love that kid.

Since we haven’t yet been to an ATM and since La Mision is such a small town we were really blessed to be able to use our debit card at the store and even make a cash withdrawal.

We found another market with some different options and we really excited to find good fruits and veggies (those in season of course!) very cheaply as well.

Funny part about the food: Some of it, especially the Kiwis, were rejects from the produce headed to the USA. While the Kiwis are perfectly edible we know that since we’ve never seen kiwis grown like that we knew they were siphoned off from the US market and shipped (or left) elsewhere. But for Mexicans (and most people not in the US) this is just how Kiwis appear… and it’s normal. (sorry we didn’t take a picture… next time hopefully).

Evening Reflections

Becky and I have the blessing of together taking the dogs out on an evening walk quite often and tonightwas one of those nights…

While on that walk, I kept gushing about how cool it is here, yes we are camped on the beach, yes food is so cheap here (when you eat like a local) and yes we get to go help out at an orphanage tomorrow. But this.

This is what we were aiming for with this lifestyle.

The ability to experience some sweet surroundings.

To be out of our comfort zones.

To eat and shop like a local.

To breath in deeply of more of what God has created.

Sorry Lake Michigan, but you’ve got nothing on the 6 ft. pacific ocean surf here.

So yeah, it’s been a great 24 hours.   Josiah even said to Becky today, "This is the life we were looking for!"  We’re so excited and blessed to be here.

Pictures made for your Pinterest! Tap the pinterest Icon that shows up to pin this to a board.

Paul Kortman

Dad of 4, husband, blogger, digital marketer, follower of Jesus. I podcast at nomadtogether.com and own connexdigitalmarketing.com We're on this crazy journey to travel the world as a lifestyle. Looking for help in how to live as a digital nomad family? Join this Facebook Group!

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  1. kelly

    2 dogs? Where’d you get the other?

    • Becky Kortman

      Ha! Our secret is out :) we’ve neglected to post about the latest addition to our crew. We picked him up in Colorado. His announcement post is half written. It’ll come soon! (Nice catch!)


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