Isaac Galvan remembers the exact moment he fell in love with Mexico.
The 23-year-old visited Querétaro, a bustling city in central Mexico, two years ago with his family and was instantly captivated by the city’s pink, stucco buildings and friendly locals. “That’s when I knew I wanted to move there,” he tells CNBC Make It.
Galvan was born and raised in Lufkin, Texas by his Mexican mother and stepdad. Growing up in the small town “wasn’t that exciting,” he recalls, and Galvan spent most of his childhood building campfires, swimming in the lakes with friends and taking the occasional family trip to Mexico.
As Galvan got older, he yearned to connect more with his Mexican heritage and learn about his family’s culture: his mother had grown up in Coahuila, Mexico and some of his relatives lived in Querétaro. Galvan had always dreamed of moving abroad and having a remote job, but he “wanted to explore other career paths” before taking the leap.
Chasing the ‘American Dream’ abroad
After graduating high school, Galvan spent two years working 60 hours a week with his stepdad as a pipe-fitter in Texas’s oil refineries, but he quickly realized the “unstable” work schedule wasn’t the right fit for him.
He moved to San Antonio on a whim when he turned 20 to work as a real estate assistant and line cook, a hectic lifestyle that saw him living “paycheck to paycheck,” he says, and left him with little free time.
But when the coronavirus pandemic hit in spring 2020, Galvan lost both of his jobs, and had to move back home with his parents. He decided to use that time off to finally pursue his dream of living and working in Mexico.
Isaac Galvan and his family
Photo: Isaac Galvan
First, he researched what skills he could learn to land a full-time remote job and taught himself how to code through Code Academy, YouTube tutorials and other online resources. Then Galvan applied to open remote roles through Indeed Mexico’s job board, and received an offer in February 2021 to work as a website developer.
With $3,500 in savings and his parents’ blessing, Galvan packed his bags and moved to Querétaro in April 2021. Galvan considers himself part of a “reverse migration” of young Americans moving to Mexico and other less expensive countries in search of the “American Dream,” an ideal of financial independence and comfort he says is difficult to achieve with a low-wage job, as living costs continue to spike in the United States.
Relocating to Mexico during the pandemic
Moving to Querétaro was “much easier” than Galvan expected: he found a fully furnished studio apartment on Facebook Marketplace and got approved for dual citizenship …….