Curious about what it’s like to raise “third culture kids” by living abroad somewhere like Mexico? Let’s welcome expert family travel blogger and author, Cassie Pearse, who raised her children in Mérida, Mexico, and has now moved to Spain with her family. I connected with her while doing Spanish immersion in Mexico with my kids, and am excited to introduce her to you, because her books and advice are a huge help!
Teaching Traveling: Hi, Cassie! Tell us about your background.
Cassie: Hello. I’m Cassie and I’m from the UK but I haven’t lived there in a long time. My family and I spent six years living in Mexico and in the summer of 2022, we moved to southern Spain.
Prior to living in Mexico I worked in the third sector, working with women and children in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Moldova and, eventually, the UK. I currently work as a freelance editor and writer and I have a popular travel blog, mexicocassie.com.
My kids will be eleven and nine this year. They’re bilingual (English and Spanish) and are definitely third-culture kids. They know they’re officially British but they also hold EU passports (thank goodness, boooo to Brexit), feel Mexican, have Mexican permanent residency and currently live in Spain, where they tell me they feel as if they’re starting to belong, too.
TT: Wow! Tell us more about your time living in Mexico with your kids.
C: The six years spent in Mexico were absolutely magical. We moved to Mérida, Yucatán when my kids were two and four years old. They pretty much think of themselves as Mexican kids. While living in Mérida we immersed ourselves in Mexico as much as possible. The kids went to local schools, and we got to know both our state and many other regions of Mexico as fully as possible. We travelled whenever we had spare time.
I wrote a book about our experience of moving to Mexico. It’s part memoir part guide to moving to Mérida. It’s available in shops in Mérida and on Amazon via this affiliate link: Moving to Mérida: How to Successfully Move to Mexico as a Family.
For my family, although we chose to keep our children in the traditional education system, we also believe that it is our responsibility to educate our children and to be active and intentional role models for them. Teaching them through travel and adventure is one extremely important part of this. We ask a lot of our kids, knowing that they are capable of anything.
TT: So wonderful. How do you find your travel opportunities?
C: I make my own travel opportunities. I’ve realised I’m really not super happy unless I have trips booked, even if they’re to places close by. A weekend exploring a town near home can be just as exciting as travelling to another continent if your attitude is right. Adventure is all around us, we just need to seize it. This is something I love teaching my kids.
For local trips I generally read other blogs and scour Google Maps for interesting-looking places. I do own a couple of traditional guide books too. You can use this affiliate link to scope out the fact that I actually wrote a family-friendly guidebook to Yucatán that is available in English and Spanish (both on Amazon via that link, and in Mérida).
TT: I found your book so useful while traveling in Mérida! So, how do you find the money to fund your travels?
I fund my family travel through work, including income from my blog, from the two books I wrote, and from offering consultations to families who want to travel (around Mexico or generally). My partner and I are both able to work remotely, which is very lucky.
TT: Excellent. Now, tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.
In 2019, my family and I took a train trip through Mexico’s Copper Canyon. The canyon range is actually bigger than the Grand Canyon, by the way. We began in the city of Chihuahua, which is absolutely not a typical foreign tourist destination. People were very concerned about us going to this city, telling us it was dangerous and not a good place for foreign families.
I was pretty certain this was incorrect. I did my due diligence (far more of this happens when travelling with kids than without!) and decided we would be just fine. Honestly, not only did we fall in love with the city and its incredible cultural history and culinary scene but we were also met with so much kindness that it will always remain one of my favourite places.
My son got sick one night and I had to take him to the hospital so at 3 am I was in an uber with a six-year-old driving through a strange city. The driver turned off the meter, causing me some panic until he told me that he was taking us for free because he couldn’t charge a mother taking her child to hospital.
When my daughter fell down some stairs in a museum, a street seller gave me an ice-cold drink to put on her bumped head and wouldn’t let me pay. When we showed up at a water park and found it closed for a private function, they let us in anyway because they didn’t want us to have taken an Uber and then have our kids miss out on fun.
I will never forget the incredible levels of kindness we were shown in Chihuahua, a place so many fear. People are people no matter where you are in the world and as long as you have an open heart and an open mind, you’ll see this.
TT: How have your travels impacted you in your career, and as a person?
C: My travels are my career, more or less. I write about travel, both on my blog and for other blogs and magazines. I love travelling, I love being outside and more than anything, I love watching my kids as they travel, adventure and seize the opportunities they are fortunate enough to be offered.
TT: Well said. What advice do you have for families dreaming of travel?
Travelling opens minds and hearts. In a world where society seems to thrive on “othering”, it’s imperative that we work to encourage everyone to think for themselves and to see beauty in our sameness and our differences rather than fear. We combat intolerance and fear with experience, interaction and open minds.
TT: Thanks so much, Cassie! Readers, what questions or comments do you have about moving to and living in Mexico with kids? Do share in the comments section, below.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English from Boston who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched TeachingTraveling.com in 2010 to share expert global education resources, and over 1.6 million readers have visited over the past decade. Lillie also runs AroundTheWorld L.com Travel and Life Blog, and DrawingsOf.com for educational art. Do stay in touch via subscribing to her monthly newsletter, and following @WorldLillie on social media!