San Miguel 2 - Why?
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
By Walter Hodges
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Since I said we were moving to San Miguel, the response has been pretty much 100% in favor of it. A lot of folks have told me they were interested in following the story. If you want bullet points and web addresses, fine, go Google up “Moving to Mexico” and you’ll find discussion threads and books to order. I’m not gonna do that. I’ll simply write about our experiences and where we are at any moment on the path to we don’t know exactly. If you’re looking for advice, ask Siri, and leave me out of that loop please. I’m not in search of some universal process. I’m looking for our way. If you’re looking for a story, I think I got one. I’ll l tell these stories on my web site blog, but I’ll introduce them on Facebook and on Instagram, so a person might pick and choose any point along the way. The blog will allow it to stand together as a single evolved story from San Miguel 1 to San Miguel 1001 or whatever.


First up, a little background. Folks have asked me “why?” Why do this? What brought you guys to this point? A fair question. Four things brought us to this point. 1. Cost of living. 2. Weather 3. Politics 4. God.


Cost of living. Most of you know I’m a photographer. I’m also not young (72+). I shot almost solid stock photography for a long damn time. About the time of the crash in 2008, and probably before that actually, the marketplace started to deteriorate (I didn’t see it coming soon enough). To spare you a long story, what we thought was going to be a great retirement plan, became not a great retirement plan. There’s more to that story, but it’s not worth it anymore. We started to look for options. I think you know that growing old in this country is not pretty, when you don’t have the cash to pay someone to wipe the drool off your face when your memory and your strength are gone. Deb and I don’t have a substantial system of relatives/children and such, which might really help take the edge off the situation, so for us, that edge is very sharp and potentially dangerous. So, we looked for options to spread value and time, and none appeared to offer a fair shot at it. The future was sketchy based on future income. Cost of living is an issue.


Weather. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m tired of it boss. I’m just sayin we’re tired of it damn it! Wet and cold and pissing and moaning and grousing about. Do I really need to say something else here? We live in the Pacific Northwest. Rain and cold used to be my friend. If it was good enough for Tom Robbins, I figured it was good enough for me. I don’t live in that house no more. I’m just tired of it. For my east coast friends, I know, I know - we don’t know nothin about winter. You know what? I don’t care how many feet of snow you walk miles through in order to feed your family. I just don’t care even a little bit. I’m tired of this stuff. Weather is an issue.


Politics. You knew this was coming. Surely you knew. The politics….. Well on the surface the politics is pretty self-explanatory. If it isn’t self-explanatory, then you’re most likely a blissfully ignorant part of the problem. But the actual crux of it isn’t simple and it sure isn’t obvious. Actual truth is never a straight line, and it’s never what someone with an agenda will tell you. The Donald is actually not the problem, and sure as hell not the solution. Thinking is the problem. Communicating is the final solution. I see both the right and left sides of the aisle in America, and I’m pretty sure both sides actually have valid positions on many critical issues, but it’s been beat to death and made gruesome by the fact that too many people in a position to manifest change (democrats and republicans) are either just about dumb as a fence post, or pumped full of righteous indignation and good old self-absorbed uniquely arrogant and childish American self piety mixed with a willingness to kill people in order to make America great again. Deb and I see ourselves firmly in the middle of what we fondly think of as being “sort of reasonably human”, only to find the middle has no real ground to stand on in the US any more, and few paths to get anywhere, because too many republicans and democrats in power apparently had dysfunctional parents, or never actually went to a real school, or never learned how to converse, or never got laid enough, or never read Thumper’s advice to Bambi. Things might actually get better (or worse) soon, but one thing for sure - at this age for us, long-range plans are presumptive at best. We got no time left for bullshit folks. We do got a bit of time to live, so we look to the horizon instead of our leaders. It’s not a spot I’m particularly proud of, but I don’t see an option. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. As I said before – I respectfully and honestly don’t care, and I don’t got the time.. I got stuff to do.


God. Sooner or later it always comes down to god doesn’t it? Not the god of the bible, or the god of love, or the god of sin, or the god of damnation, or the god of salvation, but the god of individual human spirit and the god of individual process. I can’t speak about inspiration and progress and moving forward without talking momentarily about the organic nature of god and how, if we actually get the hell out of our own way, things happen when they have to and that there is god’s work. Based on what religion as a whole has done to humanity, you won’t find a more anti-god person than me. Well, maybe Christopher Hitchens, but still…….. I have little use for that which as a whole has actually done so little for the human race. But spirituality is something else entirely. Spirituality, in the sense that there’s something bigger than ourselves but part of ourselves at work in the universe of each individual. If you want to call that god, then god bless ya. And I can’t see any option other than to believe that spirit is female. A woman is the only spirit that could clearly think through all this nonsense and keep a sense of humor and humanity about it all. For my money God is a woman.


So it was November 23rd 2018. Out of options. Feeling stressed. Pushed beyond measure to consider pretty much anything. You know how you can get. In a tight spot, looking for answers, never stopping, always moving, trying this trying that. In a way, like a pilot on plane going down in the ocean, and all the while calmly trying every single option on every single combination of buttons, and suddenly out of nowhere there appears a button right in front of you that simply did not exist even seconds before. And such is the nature of faith and the reality of god. Looking at Facebook that evening, I noticed Deb’s brother Eric posted a simple post to his friends and family. The post said “Heidi and I are moving to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.” Deb and I had visited San Miguel a few years before on vacation. In that instant, Deb and I looked at one another, and god looked at both of us and she said “What? You expect something more from me folks?” And in that instant the possibilities in our lives realigned and redefined. Deb turned to me and said the words “I could live in San Miguel”. And that’s why this happened. We don’t know if it will work, but we don’t know it won’t. When stuff like this happens organically, while you’re in the middle of simply trying to somehow move forward in your life, then I think the facts are clear. In good conscience, you gotta give it a shot don’t you? You gotta give it a shot.


In the days to come, more on the process, the actual research and the evolution.

Leave a comment:
Walter Hodges - Well well well. And well again.

You know what?.......... In order for us to make this move we have to tear out about 75% of our lives. Countless dump runs. So yesterday (when that voice might have been speaking to you) I was throwing out (but keeping some) of maybe fifty years of 4x6 prints from this and that. You just can't haul all that shit with you. You want to, but you can't and honestly, it's better left behind. Amongst the images I saved and threw into the one rubbermaid I allowed myself to keep were two images. One was of you as a human bobber floating down a river in Idaho and the other was you, me, and two truck drivers sitting in lawn chairs by the side of the road with two trucks parked in the background in northern Arizona. Maybe a hundred years ago. I kept them. No idea where they are now, but they will reappear once I get back into those rubbermaids. When I saw those two images, I looked right at you and said. "Mike, I don't know where you are, but I wish you well." And that's the truth.

Jesus, it's good to hear from you. Connect with me at I need to know what you're doing and where you're located. You know I'm headed to Mexico. I think god heard me when I wrote that and she brought the snow just in time to bury my ass. What a long strange trip its been boss.

Michael Marshall - Make it happen Walter! I always admired your ability to tell it like it is! Good to see you and Deborah are still highly motivated! Best of luck to you.

Some strange voice in my head told me to check in to see what crazy images you have been coming up with lately and I stumbled on your blog.. I'm glad I did.

Newel Hunter - What a terrific journey, Walter. We wish you and Deb all the best. At the very least, San Miguel is a great place to Winter (speaking metaphorically, of course).
Walter Hodges - Could not be more stoked Newel. Just right out of nowhere and nothing will ever be the same. I would not have bet a dime on this. Just along for the ride boss. I'm not in charge. I'm just doing what I been told what to do.
Damn. Anyway, thanks for the kid thoughts. I'm headed to the dump as we speak. All we gotta do is throw away 75% of this shit and we'll be fine. Right. Nothin to it. I guess.

Hope you two are well. Gary is sort of keeping me appraised on the business stuff. Pretty impressive for one last gig.

Walter Hodges - Great news. I'm just pumped full of energy at this point and pointed in only one direction for a change. Love it. Haven't been this focused in a long damn time I'll keep you appraised Larry. Thinking about you sir.
Walter Hodges - Yea, I'm watching your journey as well boss. This will be fun to share. I understand Brian O'Keefe is talking at the meeting next Thursday. That will be a fabulous talk. Brian knows his stuff and then some. Best to your better half.
Walter Hodges - Paul,

Kind words indeed sir. Thanks so much. As you know, when you do this, you're whole flipping life changes. I'm about as wide awake as I can be at this point. Ready to go. I'll keep you appraised sir.
Larry Vaughn - Loved it. Had to read the god part to my wife as it aligns perfectly with her view of the universe :-). Looking forward to living vicariously thru your journey to enlightenment....
Errol - Walter, I’m beginning to understand. As I retired just 6 months ago i keep asking myself where am I going to land? Take care my friend and if I can help in some meaningful way please let me know!
Paul Elsberry - Best of luck to you, my friend. Can't say we're in Mexico, but my wife (Debby!)
and I moved south, and while I miss the NW, we are settling in down here. I'll be looking forward to your commentary and hopefully, photos as you wend your way to the star of your universe.