Hey pals, this is a diary of a rubbish digital nomad in Mexico City.
Three weeks ago I arrived in Mexico City to begin a four-month stint here as a digital nomad. This isn’t my first rodeo: I popped my digital nomad cherry in Medellin, Colombia, and I’ve just spent seven weeks working remotely in Playa del Carmen on the Mexican coast.
But, this time things are a bit different. This is the first time that I’ve arrived in a new city and have known nobody. Not one single human person. And, this brand new situation threw up a few new challenges that made for an interesting first week. Turns out, it’s not as easy as I thought to get to know a new city while working full time, being shit at Spanish, and having nobody to show you around. And, when it’s a city as big as Mexico City, it’s even trickier.
I decided to do a little diary to document my first week as a digital nomad in Mexico City. Here it is, ok?
My first challenge is to find somewhere to live because in seven days I have to leave my current Airbnb and I absolutely don’t fancy being homeless. So, I began the day by panic-emailing 1,000 people on Craigslist to try and find somewhere to live. Being English, I’ve never used the site before and all I know about Craigslist is that sometimes people get murdered when they meet people there. I consider writing a will just in case it went tits up, but I settle on working/watching Netflix in bed instead. What’s the point of a will when you don’t got no stuff?
In the evening I went out and ate tacos alone. That might sound a bit pathetic, but honestly, this is my preferred method of taco-eating. I’m messy and greedy and I like to force them into my salivating mouth in private, thanks.
Post-tacos I went to bed at 9 pm because I’m always so tired after a big feed.
Today I tried and failed to make some mates. I posted a Facebook status to a digital nomad group asking if anybody in the city wanted to hang out, and nobody responded. Not one of the 400+ people in the group. Oh dear.
Plan B was, as always, to get on Tinder. Rather than tackling my mountain of work, I spent way too much of my morning messaging cute strangers. But, I’m pretending it’s for Spanish practice so it’s fine.
Later in the day I got my first lead on an apartment so I walked 45 minutes to go see it, but the owner didn’t show up. I waited for him in the cold for 30 minutes before giving up. I consoled myself with a massive torta (giant Mexican sandwich) on the way home. Turns out, it’s impossible to be sad if you have loads of bread in your mouth.
Got in bed at 8 pm. Absolute loser.
In an attempt to feel more like a digital nomad I went to a hipster café to write. It felt really nice, but I didn’t get much done because I was low-key freaking out about my impending homelessness.
I don’t know how public transport works yet so I’m walking everywhere, and in a city this big I’m covering some serious miles. It’s because I’m stupid but I tell myself it’s for fitness.
At one point in the afternoon, I considered going to one of the many meetups in Mexico City to track down some people that might want to be my new BFF. But I quickly decided that I can’t be bothered to leave the house. Luckily, my Airbnb host and roomies are the bomb so I’m getting my much-needed friendship fix from them.
Ok, I’m starting to get a bit bored. I know I’m spending too much time trying to make Tinder boys and girls hang out with me, but it helps me ignore my impending homelessness and all of the work that I’m failing to do. I’m still not lonely enough to go to meetups, though. They tend to feel a bit like speed dating and it’s quite draining finding cool pals in a sea of strangers. ESPECIALLY when you know you’re not going to get any post-speed-dating-smooching for your efforts.
I finally start getting back to my proper work schedule after three days of what can only be described as ‘dicking around’. It feels good to have a routine again, and I genuinely enjoy the afternoon sat at my desk writing stuff.
For dinner, I ate a corn on the cob smothered in mayo, cheese, and hot sauce. If I don’t stop with this terrible new diet of mine I’m going to become a little gordita (fat gal). But, it’s worth it for all the brilliant Mexican food that I have the pleasure of shovelling into my body.
I saw another apartment and it’s so unsuitable in so many ways, but it’s within my budget and has a good amount of space. I’ll take it if nothing comes up *.
*In the end, I took it because nothing else came up. I refer to my room as El Refrigerador because it’s so cold in there that I have to sleep in two hoodies.
I finally talked a boy into hanging out with me. Yesssssss. We went on a breakfast date, which was terrifying as I like to date in the dark (I look fitter in low light). We ate street food, bought coffees then sat in the park chatting in the sunshine. He was an actor and was super tall and handsome. I felt excited in my tummy when he touched my leg or put his arm around me, which he did loads. I would proper like to see him again**.
At this point, I’m so desperate to find an apartment that I gave the no-show from the other day a second chance. This time he showed up, but I kind of wish that he hadn’t. Dude collects spiders and when I arrived his dog shat on the floor. And, that wasn’t even the worst of it. The apartment block was one of four in the development and two of them were so badly damaged by last year’s earthquake that they had to be torn down. That knowledge didn’t fill me with confidence that the remaining two are safe enough for me to feel chill in the 8th floor apartment he was showing me. Especially because it was full of spiders – imagine an earthquake knocking their tanks over and the spiders getting loose ARGHHHHHH ACTUAL WORST NIGHTMARE.
**I never saw Tall Actor Man again. Apparently, he didn’t feel so excited in his tummy about me.
I spent the morning writing in Starbucks. I wanted to look up a cooler café to work from but I can’t figure out how to top up my phone so I don’t have any data. I’m actually shocked at how shit at life I’m being this week: I’ve fully regressed into something lesser. This is a theme for me when I’m travelling, but I’ll go into that another day.
After a successful day of getting shit done, I headed home and got my Airbnb roomie to help me order sushi online. I’m too lazy to cook and if I eat guacamole on toast for the fourth night in a row the people I live with will think I’ve got problems. We spend the evening drinking mezcal, which turned into acoustic guitar karaoke and an impromptu dance lesson. SO MUCH FUN.
I also found a Spanish teacher, which I’m very excited about. He’s a very interesting older man and I genuinely think he might finally get me speaking Spanish. I can’t believe I’ve spent a year in Latin America and I can still barely string a sentence together. Oh, the shame of it. I routinely lie about how long I’ve been here to save myself the look of disgust that crosses people’s faces when they find out the truth about my hatred of language learning.
The day has come to move out of my lovely Airbnb, say goodbye to my bloody brilliant roomies, and move into my new home/ice cave. There was a couple still living in my room when I arrived because the landlady had ballsed up my booking, so she had to throw them out while I waited awkwardly. Luckily, the couple was made up of two of the greatest humans on earth and they invited me to spend the afternoon with them watching the Dia de Muertos (day of the dead) parade. We went to the street where the parade was starting but it was raining and very busy, so instead, we found a bar that was showing it on TV and drank three bottles of wine. The night progressed into cocktail drinking and ended with 1 am taco eating. It was excellent.
All in all, my first week wasn’t the best display of digital nomading, but I survived. I’m still working on mastering public transport and I still don’t got no mates, but fuck it: at least I’m not homeless, I guess.