Photo Credit: Courtesy of @thejonrobert
The Black Expat Mexico: 'Tulum Just Sat Right With My Soul'
Pittsburgh native Jonathan Curry aka ‘The Jon Robert,’ found himself dealing with an intersection of emotions from not only the health pandemic and being furloughed from his hospitality career, but also the race pandemic–affecting Black men and women across the United States.
After being furloughed in March, he decided to move to Atlanta for a few months to be near friends and to figure out his next steps. But, that also came with its own battles.
“Being in Atlanta and literally only a few hours away from where Ahmaud Arbery was killed, plus seeing the countless Black men [and women] be murdered by police and even civilians, was traumatizing,” Jon Robert told Travel Noire. “Processing it all was a lot.”
As an avid traveler since childhood, he decided that he would head to Mexico for a little while, to clear his head. As soon as the border opened, he was out.
“I bought a one-way flight, but I never planned to move here. Once I arrived I found that Tulum just sat right with my soul.”
On the day of his arrival, and on the way to his accommodation, Jon Robert recalls somethings his taxi driver said.
“The taxi driver literally said, “Hey amigo, you should move here because we don’t have racism here.” I was in awe and it made me realize that even people from other countries see the realities that we face as Black people in America.”
This simple statement from the driver really made him reevaluate things, and reconsider his plans.
While Jon Robert is in no way saying that racism or hate doesn’t exist outside of the United States, he can say that he has never experienced it in his own travels.
“Being here these last 6-months has been refreshing,” he said. “I can finally begin to lick my wounds from being Black in America, discover myself, and plan my next steps. I can finally begin to do the inner work that has been neglected, from having to constantly work on the outer.”
Jon Robert initially sustained himself from his savings. However since being in Tulum he joined with two other Black men to create Tulum’s only Black yacht experience, Yacht Club Company. He has been able to use money generated from that to keep him afloat while there.
As for the cost of living, he says it is a lot lower than the United States. It also helps that it is very easy to live within your means, since you aren’t necessarily trying to impress anyone.
“I’ve adapted to the lifestyle here. There’s a big difference in living a filled life, and living a full life. I feel that in the U.S. we fill our lives with things. Whereas here, I’ve been more fulfilled than I have ever been in my life. I am happy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days, but I can finally breathe.”
Jon Robert has even begin scouting out homes to invest in, with the intention of making Tulum a more permanent home base.
“This is just where I’m supposed to be planted, right now.”
To catch more from Jon Robert or to learn more about life in Tulum, you can find him on Instagram at: @thejonrobert.