YL: When did you move to the Yucatan and from where did you move?
Malcolm: We drove to Merida from Virginia in February, 2011.
YL: Why did you move?
Malcolm: We were looking for a change of pace and warmer weather. As an author, I was looking for more time and a better setting to write.
YL: Why did you choose the city you now live in over other places in the world?
Malcolm: We chose living here for the safety, the cost of living, and the medical care.
YL: Did you buy a house right away or rent first? Do you think you made the right decision?
Malcolm: We are still renting after 15 months, and we feel good about that.
YL: Are you doing now what you intended to do when you moved here? If not, why not?
Malcolm: For the most part yes. My wife is as involved as she wants to be with the activities here, and I have completed and published two novels.
YL: What are the most interesting things about living here for you?
Malcolm: The Mayan ruins, the overall history, and the natural beauty found here.
YL: What do you absolutely love about living here?
Malcolm: The afternoon breeze at the beach, abundant sunshine, and setting my own schedule.
YL: What do you miss from your “former life”?
Malcolm: Wait is this a trick question? Seriously, we only miss people, family and friends. Everything else we need can be found here.
YL: What don’t you miss from your “former life”?
Malcolm: I don’t miss traffic, work, news 24/7 or “reality” shows.
YL: What is your favorite local food?
Malcolm: I like Pollo Pibil, fresh local shrimp, and coconut desserts.
YL: What is your favorite time of year here and why?
Malcolm: We are in our second springtime, which is nice to see trees greener and in bloom.
YL: Where do you take guests who visit you here to show them something really special?
Malcolm: We take our guests to Uxmal and then to St. Elena if they have time, or to see flamingos at Telchac if they only have a few hours.
YL: The last time you went out to dinner, where did you go and why?
Malcolm: Last week we had dinner at Hacienda Chichen, to celebrate its place as a setting in my third novel. The week before we had dinner at Pancho’s in Merida, which also was mentioned in my third novel.
YL: How is the city where you live different for residents than it is for tourists?
Malcolm: We live in a residential town with many seafood restaurants. Residents find it to be very quiet, except on the weekend when tourists visit.
YL: Do you have friends from the local community or do you pretty much hang with the expat crowd?
Malcolm: We have friends in both groups, with more from the expat crowd.
YL: If you are working or own a business, what is it like owning and running a business here or working here? How is it different from doing the same thing in your country of origin?
Malcolm: Writing novels, if you can call that a business, is easier here. There is less competition for my time, so I am more productive and profitable.
YL: Do you find it more or less difficult to make a living here than in your country of origin?
Malcolm: Overall it is easier to write here, although book promotion requires more creativity. My books sell in Mexico, Canada, Britain and the USA so there are challenges to maintain contact with all audiences.
YL: Are your work habits different here?
Malcolm: Yes. Fortunately I have a better writing area, but I am less organized here than I would like to be, or perhaps more easily distracted.
YL: Did you speak Spanish when you moved here? Where did you learn Spanish (if you did)? Is the language barrier a problem for you in your daily life?
Malcolm: Yes, I am fluent in Spanish, speaking, reading and writing. I spent a year of intense language study in San Jose, Costa Rica and five years of practice dealing with the Bolivian government in matters of customs importing and disaster relief. However, Mexican Spanish is different and I am adjusting to that.
YL: What interesting Spanish word or saying have you learned lately? What does it mean and how did you learn it?
Malcolm: I learned that que buena onda here means a good thing that has happened, similar to “awesome!” in English. I learned it on Mexican radio and confirmed it with some young Mexicans.
YL: Are you a Mexican citizen? Do you plan to become one?
Malcolm: No, I am not a Mexican citizen. No plans to become one at this time.
YL: Have you traveled much within Mexico? If so, where and what has been your favorite location to visit? What did you see there that you liked so much?
Malcolm: I have traveled to many places in the Yucatan, from Cancun along the Riviera Maya as far as Tulum, and then across to Merida, out to St. Elena around Uxmal and Ticul. I’ve also gone out to Celestun and along the Gulf Coast. I really liked the town of Piste, outside of the Chichen Itza Archaeological Zone. It seemed like a very lush, cool town, with TALL trees and very fresh air.
YL: How are you treated by Mexicans? Do you feel resented or welcome?
Malcolm: I feel that we are welcomed here. I have experienced no resentment or difficulties.
YL: How do you feel about the economic prospects of Mexico? Of the Yucatan?
Malcolm: I believe that Mexico has the resources, if managed properly, to be stronger economically than a country that might rely more on debt and credit. The Yucatan is unique, with a higher standard of living and overall economic activity than the rest of Mexico. Hopefully this can be responsibly shared and managed as well, for the benefit of those who need it.
YL: What are some changes you are hoping for in the city in which you live? Do you see any progress towards these changes?
Malcolm: I am glad to see roadwork and improvements that make it easier to drive around the area safely. I would love to see an organized waste management program, and would participate in such a program, but I see no progress towards this.
YL: What are your plans for the future here?
Malcolm: We plan to stay in the Yucatan, continue to write books, and have more family visit us here in the future.
YL: What is the one most important piece of advice you would give someone buying property and/or planning a move to the Yucatan?
Malcolm: From what I have seen, it seems to be good advice to rent first, visit at different times of the year, be sure of who you are dealing with on any property transaction, and to not get in a hurry.
YL: If you could say something to all the people of Mexico, what would you say?
Malcolm: Mexico, we believe in you and your future. Believe in yourselves and work to keep your country safe and prosperous.
YL: If there is anything else you would like to add for our readers (people interested in or considering moving to the Yucatan, former Yucatecans, people planning to visit for an extended tour…), please add them here:
Malcolm: I would encourage anyone who is currently writing or considering taking up writing to check out the Yucatan as your potential writing spot. It has been very beneficial to my work, with two of my three published novels being completed since we moved here 15 months ago. I am working on the fourth novel in the series now.
You can find out more about Malcolm Massey on his author page on Amazon.com at: www.amazon.com/author/malcommassey. Malcolm is in the midst of writing a new adventure series. His latest novel, “The Lost Calendar of the Maya: The Return of Kukulkan” is set in the Yucatan, with many locations that residents and vacationers will recognize. This is not a typical 2012 story, leaving behind hype to focus on Mayan prophecies that become confirmed with unmistakable accuracy. The characters involved, arriving in Mexico in 2012 to promote repatriation of stolen antiquities, quickly realize that the future that must be dealt with by relying on the past and on each other, if there is to be a future for anyone.