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How Mexico City became a remote work destination

Mexico City and the pitfalls of becoming a remote work destination

Excerpt from vox.com

Mexico City and the pitfalls of becoming a remote work destination

In February, a photo of an empty plant-lined corridor taken in Mexico City’s Roma Norte district was posted on Twitter, captioned with a cheerful wink of advice: “Do yourself a favor and remote work in Mexico City — it is truly magical ✨” The since-deleted image, tweeted by a visitor from Austin, Texas, captured a scene of generic, blissful serenity. The well-lit cobblestone corridor, with its wooden doors and trimmed shrubbery, could have been located in any major city. There were no people in sight.

The tweet was intended to be an innocuous recommendation, a contribution to an emerging breed of social media posts that glamorizes certain remote work locales. Some English-speaking expats have a habit of deploying adjectives like “bohemian,” “trendy,” “quirky,” and “charming” to describe Mexico City’s well-tended, tourist-dominant neighborhoods. In this instance, the word “magical” struck a simmering nerve.

The faux pas lay in the post’s earnestly oblivious tone, which triggered an onslaught of backlash from Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike. It brought renewed attention to the city’s ongoing predicament: Affluent foreigners are stationing themselves to work remotely in Mexico City, where the cost of living is significantly lower than most American cities. (Based on an analysis of 586 global cities, Mexico City ranks 450th on the cost of living index.) Since Americans can stay up to 180 days in the country without a visa, many are biding their time until the six-month deadline to leave.

Mexico City has long been a destination for international tourists and English-speaking expats. Notable American writers like Jack Kerouac, Joan Didion, and Malcolm Lowery have published works inspired by their time in the region. Nearly 800,000 US-born immigrants live in the country, and likely thousands more are taking advantage of the 180-day tourist exemption.

 

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