Travels with Grace by Erma Note is an excellent introduction to Mexico City for children. Its vivid illustrations are captivating. The story revolves around Grace, a bilingual girl living in Mexico City who shows her American cousin, Connor, around town.
Everyone can learn about central Mexico’s food, culture, attractions, and language with Conner. Teachers will appreciate the discussion questions at the end of the book for further reader engagement.
I had mixed feelings about the book. The first 60 percent or so of the book consists of the author’s quest for the next gig, next location, next sexual encounter, next joint, next rave. While all well and good, it didn’t appear to be the “guide” I was looking for. Finally, SEA faced some hard truths about his lifestyle. Being strapped for cash constantly, sleeping in baseball dugouts, sneaking into overpriced tourist attractions, and fleeting relationships were not what he had been aiming for after all. He changed his focus to include more of his passions, found a committed relationship, and even a home base from which to base his travels. Then worldwide travel restrictions in early 2020 put an end to all that.
It was fascinating to read how SEA and his companion struggled being stranded far from “home” and interesting to see how entitled some ex-pats were, believing locals would continue to provide them with every creature comfort even in a lockdown situation. The book concluded with quite a bit of navel-gazing by the author, though, rather than details on how he transitioned to van living, a goal he had for several years.
Living in a “developing nation” myself, I can attest to spotty internet frustrations, power outages, police brutality, banking impossibilities, visa restrictions, and even animal cruelty that SEA experienced in his adventures as a digital nomad. It’s not often that ex-pats are willing to take off their rose-colored lenses and admit that paradise isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. For that reason, I think Plan SEA: A Guide to a Work-Travel Life, Amazing Adventures Around the World, and Preparing for Your Own Sea Change by S.E. Ansley is a must-read for all those that romantically dream of living on less in constantly changing locations. However, as an actual guide on making a successful location-free lifestyle, perhaps you’ll need to keep searching for something else.