Mexico or Europe, where would you go?

We have been in Hawaii now quite some time.  We love it most days and have clearly found it hard to leave but we have the travel itch and feel the need to start putting together an exit strategy.  We do a lot of adventuring, swimming with sea turtles and exploring each island but at the end of the day we feel living here limits our ability to travel more extensively, so the search has begun.

I know that to some it seems crazy to want to leave Hawaii but no place is perfect.  Although I love that nearly every direction I drive in leads me quite quickly to the ocean that same thing leads me to feeling trapped a lot of the time, noticeably worsening the longer we stay.  Island fever is very real and only one piece to why we are looking to move on.

So the big question really is where do we want to go?  The entire world has been opened up to us and we would love to experience it all, however, at least to start 1 destination needs to be chosen.  At this point we have it narrowed down to Mexico or Eastern Europe.  Both have pros and cons so it is no easy decision.  I was kind of hoping you could help!

There are a lot of reasons we are looking into Mexico as the next place to explore.  It all began with the knowledge that a good friend of ours would be there.  We met him and his son in Malaysia after 2 years of chatting online and we immediately bonded.  He also happens to be the one who scuba certified my oldest son and I.  Since Dylan recently decided that he wants to make scuba diving a career we feel heading there to further his certification with our friend and scuba mentor would be a great start.  Diving in Mexico is less expensive, and offers many unique and beautiful locations to dive in from caves and cenotes to amazing reefs and shore dives.

Aside from that the beaches of the Yucatan look amazing and although I am in Hawaii the beaches really don't hold a candle to the beaches there.  We have really been wanting a beach bum lifestyle and here on the Big Island we are not really getting that.  Mexico holidays are full of amazing things to do from the beaches to the cenotes to the amazing cultural ruins and I want to see and do it all!

 If a spot is great for a vacation then why not live there? 

Aside from the beauty of the country we are all anxious to get back to a Spanish speaking country.  We feel like we've gotten rusty in the language department and it would be nice to pick it up again in a location that makes it easy to get practice in.  We also love the lower cost of living, although I do see that a lot of areas we are interested in are not nearly as cheap a they were a decade ago.  Travel around the country and to neighboring countries would be easy.  After being on an island that is a very appealing component as well.

All that coupled with the fact that we actually feel more comfortable living in a developing country make Mexico quite appealing!

Eastern Europe

The other area we've had a lot of interest in lately is Europe, specifically Eastern Europe as the cost of living and ability to get long term visas is much better than in the rest of Europe.  I have been to Europe but my husband and children have not and I distinctly remember 17 years ago sitting on the deck of a chalet deep in the Swiss Alps thinking to myself, THIS is a place I want to bring my family to one day.  Is this finally the "day"?

I think one of the most appealing things about Europe for those of us with the travel bug is the ease of travel throughout multiple countries.  When I was there pre kids my friend and I traveled around 13 different countries in about 3 months time with Rail Europe.  It was easy, comfortable, and far more affordable than air travel would have been.  Since spending so much time in Asia and traveling overland by both bus and train I can say without a doubt that train travel is by far the best form of travel, particularly when you have children.  The ability to move around freely makes it the kids choice no matter how long of a ride it is!

We want to travel and see all of the countries in Europe but have been looking at places like Romania, Slovakia, and Croatia as possible long term bases.  We can even do some scuba diving in some of the countries though admittedly the opportunities will not be as great as they would be in Mexico.  Still Europe has a huge amount of appeal, now to find a way around the visas.....

So there you have it; our latest conundrum.  Have you visited any of these countries?  Which would you pick and why?  We really want to know, help us out in the comments below!

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  1. I lived in Hawaii for three years so I can relate to the island fever issue. We are in Dubai and spent total of 5 months in S.E. Asia the last year so contemplating similar moves. Mexico still worries me on violence so looking at Belize. Anyway both places you mention are great. Cheap to move around as well. I suggest thinking about a rather low level topic -- clothing. Do you want to buy lots of winter clothing and boots etc for all? Can you see yourselves easily losing slippers (HI flip flops:) for hiking boots? We moved to Colorado from HI with 3 kids and it was expensive to outfit us all. I have realized that while I love Europe and want to be back sometime, I just like warmth more. Good luck:)

    1. Hi Kate, I wouldn't worry much about violence in Mexico but I can see that some people do. I love that we get a 6 month visa there as opposed to 90 days in Belize I believe. I hear you on the cold weather clothes. We are pretty easy going about getting things on the cheap so not too worried about that but I do not love cold weather. Although after this balmy summer I feel like I would like it. Seasonal perspective is funny like that. I think ideally if we land someplace cold we could travel someplace warm for teh worst months of it. Ahh well only time will tell:) Thanks for your input!

  2. With no second thoughts, MEXICO PLEASE!

    1. Why do you lean so heavily that way?

  3. Go to East Europe! There's so much history and so many beautiful places the see there, from various seas (Adriatic, Black, Baltic) to gorgeous mountains, plus lots and lots of charming towns and vibrant cities.

    1. I am working on it. I hope to get over there sometime in 2015. Thanks for the tip!