Life in Paradise on a Shoestring

Episode 52: We made the leap and it all worked out with Mike Brush

August 24, 2021 Dawn Fleming Season 3 Episode 52
Life in Paradise on a Shoestring
Episode 52: We made the leap and it all worked out with Mike Brush
Show Notes Transcript

Mike Brush and his husband Chris Crum had a Plan B that included purchasing property where they could live, but it also generated rental income. The found the perfect piece of real estate in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, signed the purchase agreement hoping they could spend a few weeks to a couple of months a year there. Two days later a global pandemic was declared. They had two choices: back out and lose a substantial deposit payment or make a leap of faith and move forward with their purchase.  A couple of months later Mike lost his long term, well paying job. With no entrepreneurial background, they liquidated everything and moved to Mexico to live in their "retirement" home full time-  over a decade early.  In short, they boldly took control of their future in less than ideal circumstances.  Visit their website at https://casabellanoche.com

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Welcome. You are listening to the Overseas Life Redesign podcast where you'll hear fine, relaxed and inspirational interviews with people who are really living the dream. I'm Dawn Fleming and attorney turned alchemist and your host for the show coming to you from the tropical island paradise of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Listen to conversations with courageous souls who step out of their comfort zone and designed a new way of life. They'll share their experiences, wisdom, and offer practical steps you can take to redesign your life overseas. Listen, and you'll believe if you can dream it. You can achieve it.

Dawn Fleming

  00:43 - 01:10

All right. Today, I'm here with Mike brush and we met a while back. I think you've been here. What about a year I think, yeah, I've been kind of bugging them to sit down with me and finally was able to thank you so much for taking your time. I appreciate it. No problem. I was talking with Chris. Good. And he was giving me a little bit about your backgrounds, but I'll just have you kind of start off with what prompted this big move for you

Mike Brush

  01:10 - 02:08

Well, I've worked for, for the last 20 some years I've been working for the, I won't say which one, but the largest Christmas ornament company in the world. So I made Christmas ornaments and, my husband lost his job. You worked as an accountant and lost his job for eight. He was working for a school for autistic kids and they were taken over by another company. And so he was out of a job for about six months and he got another job. And so to celebrate that before he started working and didn't have any vacation time, I thought, well, let's plan a trip. I surprised him with a budget, Costco trip to Cancun. And while we were there, we made a trip over here to Islam, new Harris, and realized it was a beautiful place to be. And so that sort of planted the seed that this might be where we wanted to retire and fast forward a few years.

Mike Brush

  02:08 - 03:04

And we had, we had seen a TV program, like a bargain beachfront or some kind of property show like that. One of the properties they showed him on that program was sort of a multi-family rental property. And we thought, oh, that would be great because then we could have a place to stay and we could rent to other people. And so we started looking for a potential future retirement home that we could rent in the interim and to at least support it itself. We hoped for someone and we found a couple of properties. We were interested in and came back to the island and scouted it out and, made an offer and, signed the papers on the place that we're actually sitting in right now. And, two days after we signed the papers, they announced a global pandemic, which was kind of fun.

Mike Brush

  03:05 - 04:11

So we, we, at the time, our plan was to probably own this place for many years and work in the United States and spend several months a year here, or at least several weeks a year here. but that kind of changed our plans at that point. We, we said, oh no, what have we done We've just signed papers to just spend a lot of money on the property. And, with the pandemic, we weren't quite sure what that meant. A couple of months after that, my, my job, asked me to leave, which was a surprise, along with a lot of other people, you know, due to the pandemic things, a couple of crazy. And so a lot of us were asked to leave. And at that point, we had like I said, we'd already signed the papers on this place. And so we, we had a heartfelt discussion and decided that we could maybe sell everything in the United States, sell our house and the cars and all of our property, and maybe find a way to make it work down here. And so that's what we did.

Dawn Fleming

  04:12 - 04:19

Wow. Okay. I didn't realize that that how the, not the moving down here was not originally part of the plan

Mike Brush

  04:20 - 04:22

That was eventually right. But none of

Dawn Fleming

  04:23 - 04:23

This,

Mike Brush

  04:24 - 04:27

No, this was going to be a vacation property for a little while.

Dawn Fleming

  04:29 - 04:41

Wow. That's a big shift. Isn't it Would it have been possible for you to get out of the deal or was it you, where you pretty much locked in at that point Did did you consider that

Mike Brush

  04:42 - 04:52

We considered it, but we had already put down a large chunk of money that we would have lost if we'd have backed out of the deal at that point, I think it was, we didn't want to lose that kind of money.

Dawn Fleming

  04:52 - 05:01

Sure. Well, you bet you balance that against how much am I going to lose if there's nobody there to rent to two, of course, nobody knew at that stage.

Mike Brush 

  05:01 - 05:57

Yeah. We didn't know what it was going to look like. We knew at that point that we might be in trouble. We knew that having an income down here might be, a bit of a problem for a while. But at that point, you know, we were I'm in my early fifties and Chris is in his mid-forties and we didn't, he had the prospect of looking for a new job in the United States, making the kind of money I was making prior to being, let go and paying for the large house and brand new cars and everything that we were paying for in the United States didn't look possible either. You know, we knew if we stayed in the states, we were going to probably have to sell the house. I had bought a new truck a month before I got, let go. I had a brand new $45,000 Chevy truck to pay for it. yeah, so there was a lot going on that I knew we wouldn't be able to

Dawn Fleming

  05:59 - 06:01

Just have to take the lesser of two evils.

Mike Brush

  06:02 - 06:06

Then we took the leap. It worked out so far. I mean,

Dawn Fleming

  06:08 - 06:08

It sounds

Mike Brush

  06:08 - 06:27

Like we had six months to sell our house and all of our things, everything that we had in the middle of a Bootcamp pandemic, which was interesting doing garage sales, where one person at a time could come in wearing a mask. And we had to create lines through the garage where they'd have to follow and stay six feet apart. It was quite a, quite an ordeal,

Dawn Fleming

  06:28 - 06:29

But you did it.

Mike Brush

  06:29 - 06:55

We did it. We were able to, within six months we were able to sell everything we owned and we did okay. In it, despite the pandemic, we achieved the amount of money we needed to pay for the house here. So it was paid for, which is nice. There's no, there's no, which it's hard to get a, a loan on the property in Mexico anyway. So, but we were able to sell everything we owned and buy this place. and we are now debt-free

Dawn Fleming

  06:56 - 07:02

Was that the plan always, to, to pay cash for it Or were you, did you have a short-term or

Mike Brush

  07:03 - 07:54

Originally we had worked out a deal with the previous owners where we were going to pay a large portion of it in cash. And then, I think it was a once-a-year make a couple of payments for three years. I think it was, it was an installment of about three years to, for total payment, but we were counting on income from the property and all sorts of things to make that happen. And it being, as I lost my job and we just thought we need to get into it debt-free and start that way rather than, you know, be up in the air, you know, what, what if we came down here and we couldn't make the money, we needed to make those payments, what would happen to us So we just decided if we could sell everything and get to the amount of money that we needed to pay for this house, we'd come down. Now. We didn't have a lot of extra income when we came down here. So we, we have pretty well tapped out everything, but, but yeah.

Dawn Fleming

  07:55 - 08:10

Wow. Well, and then I know, when I talked to Chris originally, we were over at tiny deco and he was telling me that his previous job had ended up coming back to him for help with consulting. And

Mike Brush

  08:11 - 08:49

They did after he left. And the sad part, I think his job, he was actually, he'd only been on the job for a couple of years, a year and a half at that maybe two years at that job. but he was doing really well. And three weeks before we told them we were leaving, they gave him a huge promotion. And I think a $15,000 a year bump in salary, which is pretty hefty. And then he had to turn around and tell him, I'm sorry, but we're leaving. So, he did have to leave his job. I didn't have as much choice on the deal, but, I think he regrets that some, but they did at one point asking for some additional help. So he was able to work from here a little bit.

Dawn Fleming

  08:49 - 08:51

Okay. So that's not an ongoing, it's not,

Mike Brush

  08:52 - 09:16

I'm actually, my job reached out to me and I'm a little bit from here. Part-time for them. in spite I have some friends who think I'm crazy for working for them after they saw it go. However, I liked the work I did, I was good at it. And I liked the people I worked with. And it is a way to make a little bit of extra income while I'm here.

Dawn Fleming

  09:16 - 09:19

Right. Well, and it's on your terms, right.

Mike Brush

  09:19 - 09:24

So I told him how much I wanted an hour, that way I set my own schedule. And

Dawn Fleming

  09:25 - 09:53

Yeah. So having that in that, in that format that, those terms are, is working for you. So, I'm wondering when you, you know, we're kind of faced with that. Oh my gosh, we, neither one of us have jobs and okay. We're gonna, you know, clear the balance sheet and get rid of this debt. had neither one of you had been entrepreneurs before I take it where you both?

Mike Brush

  09:54 - 10:58

Well, that was part of why we decided to do this too, is I didn't like after 20, some years, 23 years or so at my former job, to not have any control over my future and to have somebody come and say, well, you know, we need to leave. We put your salary anymore. So I like the idea of taking some control of our future. Chris had been, let go two years before from his previous job when that company had been taken over and they basically let all those employees go, that he worked with and then replaced them with their own, the company ironically, that he was working for that gave him the raise just before we left to come here, has now been taken over by another company. And so that same thing may happen. It may have happened to him again. So we're, we're kind of grateful, at least now we are our own bosses. So we, you know, have some control over our destiny and what happens. And I, after so many years, you know, with the prospect of being in my mid-fifties and trying to find a new job, it, it, I think this is, this is far preferable. Yeah.

Dawn Fleming

  10:58 - 11:24

Yeah. So, yeah, that's always, kind of the balance when you're not if you have a come from entrepreneurship or been in an entrepreneurial family, I don't know if either of you were, but if you're not culturally in tune with that and you know, you have, you get to that point and you're like, okay, you know, the job security, you kind of realize that that's an illusion, right I mean, you don't, you don't.

Mike Brush

  11:25 - 12:14

Yeah. There was a lot of worry about it. And a lot of fear about doing this. I mean, really at the time we did it, it was right at the start of the pandemic. And, and in the, in the beginning, months, as, as it evolved, you know, we had six months in there where it was getting worse and worse and worse, and everything was closed down. And we had sold our house and we were staying at my mother's house, you know, temporarily. And it was kinda crazy. but you know, we were moving to a country that we didn't know anyone. We didn't, we were moving somewhere. We knew no one starting a new business. We knew nothing about it, we didn't know the language we did. There were a lot of scary things involved. Plus we were, had to sell everything we knew or everything we owned and move, to a place with no friends. It was, it was.

Dawn Fleming

  12:15 - 12:49

Yeah. And you know, at least you're a couple, so you do have each other, but, how was it in terms of your, both dealing with the uncertainty and the risk Where was there were one of you Like I know it'll be okay. And the other one, a worrier, or were you both pretty much on the same page in terms of your temperament and how, how does that's pretty stressful I mean, you know, if you look at my list of stressful things in life, I mean, like you had like a whole bunch of them going on at the same time. Right

Mike Brush

  12:49 - 13:43

Well, I, we was both worried. I would say we're both, a little bit struggling, with taking that leap in the beginning, but I'm probably a little more positive about it than Chris was. I think Chris, Chris, in the beginning, I said, well, you know, we've already made an offer on this property. We've already put money down. What if we would sell everything here and move down there He is, his immediate response was no, there's no way we can possibly do that. And it took me probably a week and a half to convince him by sitting down and doing some figures and saying, okay, here's what I think, everything we own is worth. Here's what, you know, all of our assets are and what we have available. And if we did this and if we did that, I think we might be able to pull this off. And then he looked at the figures and it took him a little while too. But he finally came back and said, yeah, I think that might be possible. But I think he was skeptical for a while even then.

Dawn Fleming

  13:43 - 13:48

Yeah. Yeah. So you, so you probably have a little bit more aggressive risk-taker in you than

Mike Brush

  13:49 - 13:59

Yeah, I am. Well, and I was, I was fed up with the corporate world. I was really, really unhappy that after all the time and effort I put into that job, that they wouldn't ask me.

Dawn Fleming

  14:00 - 14:05

So kind of like, I'm not sure where we're going, but I don't know. I don't like what I have in the rearview.

Mike Brush

  14:05 - 14:09

Absolutely. I knew that I wanted something to take control of my own.

Dawn Fleming

  14:10 - 14:22

Oh, that's great. I love it. So tell me about getting here and like, like at what, when did you actually arrive where we under locked down at that time or had things

Mike Brush

  14:23 - 14:27

It was August 27th or eighth. I think. Of 20, 20.

Dawn Fleming

  14:27 - 14:42

Oh, okay. Well that was after things hit, when things had started to open up again, people weren't really coming back yet, but, but at least we could leave our houses and you know, all of that, the beaches were open to, a little bit,

Mike Brush

  14:42 - 15:09

Well, when we got here, the beaches weren't out. When we first came to the island, the beaches weren't open. Nothings were pretty close here. In fact, they were closed. They were more closed here than they weren't in the states. So when we arrived, that was another, I mean, that was a worry initially is, you know, the beaches aren't open and we have a hotel in the middle of a pandemic and we didn't have any rentals. You know, when we came in, we, yeah, it was, it was really scary in the beginning because of some of that,

Dawn Fleming

  15:09 - 15:20

That, yeah. Cause we, our last guest checked out in March like March 20th and we didn't have anybody until the first week of October. And then we had a hurricane. Yeah.

Mike Brush

  15:22 - 15:36

In our first six weeks, we went through two hurricanes and a tropical storm where we thought, you know, 135 miles an hour winds. We thought, what the heck have we done You know, what are we that was, that was really scary. Actually. The first hurricane was really scary. You stayed,

Dawn Fleming

  15:36 - 15:37

Obviously

Mike Brush

  15:37 - 15:38

We were here. We didn't have anywhere else together.

Commercial

  15:39 - 15:40

We'll be back in a moment.

Commercial

  15:42 - 16:33

Islam will, Harris is a Caribbean Juul off the coast of Ken Kuhn has to Leto Del Curry bay warmly invites you to enjoy our spectacular oceanfront Villa located in the heart of El Centro and a short walk to play in Nortek, which has ranked one of the top 10 beaches in the world with an ocean view of crystal clear turquoise waters, overlooking both the Caribbean and Ken Koons city skyline. We offer a fabulous location for you to enjoy all the peace and tranquility you're looking for on vacation while also taking in all the excitement the island has to offer with activities, either within walking distance or a golf cart day, an excursion away, please visit has to Leto Curry bay.com, www.castillitocaribe.com. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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  16:36 - 17:10

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Commercial

  17:16 - 17:25

Welcome back to the overseas life redesign podcast. Thank you so much for being here. And we invite you to subscribe. If you like, what you hear

Mike Brush

  17:25 - 17:30

It was, that was really scary. Actually, the first hurricane was really scary. You

Dawn Fleming

  17:30 - 17:31

Stayed, obviously

Mike Brush

  17:31 - 18:02

We were here. We didn't have anywhere else to go. What's funny is we have, we've made other expatriate friends here on the island and a bunch of them had gone to Cancun, of course, and rented hotel rooms to stay in. We didn't have the money to go do that. So we basically just taped up all the windows and you know, did the things that all the local, we watch them do everything that we're doing locally. So we, you know, w w bought some extra water and, take the windows and got ready, you know, eliminated everything that wasn't tied down from our outside areas. And

Dawn Fleming

  18:03 - 18:05

They got a crash course on

Mike Brush

  18:05 - 18:09

Hurricane. It was, it was a mess. It was scary. Yeah. It was really scary

Dawn Fleming

  18:09 - 18:10

And no damage.

Mike Brush

  18:10 - 18:34

No, no real damage. Now we lost a tree. We had a tree fall and what's funny is the tree. It was, it was, am I love this tree was, it was ginormous. It provided a lot of shade. We love that tree, but the wind took it down and it went right across the road. And the next morning all the locals were out there with machetes, chopping it up and chopping it down for us, which was kind of nice. They all had a good spirit about it. Yeah.

Dawn Fleming

  18:34 - 18:36

It's, it's pretty cool. The way people really

Mike Brush

  18:37 - 18:38

Did. They were, they were helpful.

Dawn Fleming

  18:40 - 18:47

Awesome. Well, so after the hurricanes then things, I think things started to open up them.

Mike Brush

  18:48 - 19:32

We didn't have our first guest until Christmas week, Christmas week. So we got here in August and it was several months where we just kind of worked on the house and tried to get it in better shape or the, it was in good shape before, but it had a lot of things that needed to be done and we wanted to put our own mark on it. Well, sure. we changed the name, a previous name was Casa beer, which house of beer we thought it's not real, although it's fun. And it, it represented the places, maybe a little more of a party place. And we thought it might attract a little more of the rowdy crowd than we really wanted. So we changed it to Casa bay and no cha houses, beautiful nights. And, mainly because it had this great rooftop area and, an outdoor swimming pool area where the stars at night are just so beautiful.

Mike Brush

  19:32 - 20:06

Plus we're in a residential neighborhood. So it's quieter at night. If we're not in like the heart of downtown, we're in the middle of the island, which is great because it's easy to get anywhere. But being at play and forte at the north beach, it can get pretty rowdy and loud and there's, you know, live music going on till 1, 2, 3 in the morning sometimes. And, we just liked the idea that this would be a place where people could come and have a good night sleep to give them the rest of, they need to go out there and party all day and do the swimming with dolphins or water slides or, you know, whatever it is they do. Right.

Dawn Fleming

  20:06 - 20:09

Right. And, and that, so you kind of rebranded

Mike Brush

  20:10 - 20:24

And we really were serious about that. We tried to make sure we've got all our rooms, have these pillowtop king-size beds, which are better than the beds I headed it states. I mean, so the place is really, it's just comfortable and nice and, and, and relaxing in the evenings.

Dawn Fleming

  20:25 - 20:31

And it sounds like you've got some nice gas. I know when I talked to Chris, he said, he's been pretty pleased with the customer.

Mike Brush

  20:31 - 20:44

We've had some really nice guests. We did have a few, we've had some rowdy crowds too, and they're fun in their own way, but you got to keep a closer eye on my thing. but overall we've really enjoyed our guests. Yes.

Dawn Fleming

  20:45 - 20:52

And what about, making friends, tell me about that experience of, of, meeting both locals. And

Mike Brush`

  20:54 - 21:36

That's been interesting. we've made some, a few fairly close friends. We've made a lot of acquaintances, a lot of like, sort of, I wouldn't say just, would you say casual friends, but you know, people that we meet and we'll go to the beach with, or have dinner now, and then, you know, we're not hanging out every day, but, there are a lot of nice people on the island. There are, there are some crazy people on the island too. It's a real mix of, of, of people and styles of finding people who are similar to us in, in the way we live has been. We've been able to find a few that would, that we hang out with more often, I guess.

Dawn Fleming

  21:37 - 21:47

What about, relationships back home Have you had, any challenges or, or what, what has that experience been like in terms of keeping in touch with friends Okay.

Mike Brush

  21:48 - 22:37

We have had some what's interesting is I have a, I had a brother who came and stayed with us for a week here. oh, about a month ago. And I had a niece who came, we've had a lot of families come and visit here. They love it down here. Nice. So I've, I've not had anyone come down and not have a good time, but I think with the family, although we miss, you know, being around them on a day-to-day basis, especially our, our moms who we were pretty close with. And I think our moms are probably having a hard time than we are, but, the moms have been down here in the last year. My mom came three times. His mom came three times and his mom stayed for, I think a month at one point, maybe five weeks at one point. So, we've probably spent more quality time with them since we moved here than we did while we were actually living close to each other in the states.

Mike Brush

  22:37 - 23:16

So that's been nice. That's funny. But yeah, I've, I've had the pleasure of hosting a lot of my family and friends and we hope more will come. You know, I think a lot of it has been held up the, by the COVID epidemic. There are just a lot of people, there are a lot of friends that we have who say, once, this is overwhelming. Once this is over, we'll come. And I get that, you know, we get that. It has been a, I feel like I have to say though, it has been a hard year. We are not. When we even, you know, the previous owners gave us a rental history on this place and we knew what it was renting for. And we knew what the rentals were like prior to the last 10 years we had, we had a history of, which was really nice.

Mike Brush

  23:16 - 24:24

Nice. the problem is after COVID hit everyone around here reduced their rates. So we've cut our rates in half. So we're only making half what the previous owners made. So the income we thought we were going to make, and this is our sole income. So I have to be honest here, it's our sole income. And we had anticipated making twice what we're making and we're not making the rentals that the previous owners did because COVID didn't exist. And, I would say it's maybe a 50, 50 split on the island, approximately between Canadians and Americans who come, and for the whole year, Canada had shut their goals. So half the pool of people who potentially could come rent for us was not able to, and then the American pool, it's just been, it's been a very rough year. And we, we've been here over a year and we, as of yet, are not making more every month. And we spent, so there will be a limit to how long we can go. If we don't start, if things don't start picking up. So we're really hoping that the COVID epidemic goes away and that people will get their shots and, you know, they will all do their part and get this over with. But

Dawn Fleming

  24:24 - 24:57

Amen. I, I agree. Oh, I think part of it is there has been a lot more inventory that has come on the market since certainly in the five years that we've had our place. we've seen a huge number that said I've also because I follow the market pretty closely, for a couple of different reasons, but it also seems like some of the vacation rentals have also converted to more long-term rentals because the pool isn't there. And so they're, then they're like, okay, I think we'll forget the vacation rental or

Mike Brush

  24:57 - 25:26

Our hope is once, once things stabilize, which I hope they will, you know, we, we were hoping they would, by this fall, it looks like, you know, that fourth wave is in full swing, unfortunately. So we will see how things go. But, you know, our hope is that the rental prices will come back up to where we thought they would be, or at least close to that. And that the guests will come. I know they've just opened up Canada. And I think we have a rental coming up in the spring at some point from some Canadian girl, our first group of Canadian rentals. So

Dawn Fleming

  25:27 - 25:33

Yeah, it started to get better up there. although then I heard one of the provinces had closed again. So it's,

Mike Brush

  25:33 - 26:18

You just don't know right now, that's the scary thing you don't know. And, and I understand people's fear of travel during this. Absolutely. Although I tell people the island is, you know, we just, I just went back to the states, for a month. I went and helped my mom do some things that she needed to do. and then came back. So I just got back two weeks ago. and, and, I'd say things are a lot better and a lot safer here than they are in the states. I feel a lot better here. the protocols there, they're just, people are not, they don't seem to be worried in the states. And I think they probably should be right here. You know, you come here and the locals were mass, the locals, the vaccination rates

Dawn Fleming

  26:18 - 26:22

And the store without a mask, and having your temperature taken,

Mike Brush

  26:23 - 26:31

Take your temperature, enter any business. It would be at a store or restaurant. You, your, you have a sanitizer in your hands when you walk into

Dawn Fleming

  26:31 - 26:36

And mask on your face and, and you, yeah, if it's a restaurant, you can take it off.

Mike Brush

  26:36 - 27:08

It's their livelihood. They know, they know that how important it is that they keep it contained down here. And so I heard, I don't know if it's true, but I heard that out of the 22,000 people on the island that the latest statistic a couple of weeks ago, was it up approximately 20,000 of the 22,000 adults had been vaccinated I can believe that. So I think, you know, I don't think there was anybody saying, I don't want the vaccine. I think they were just pleased. Please give us the vaccine. And It was amazing to see people line up and get their shots.

Dawn Fleming

  27:09 - 27:20

Yeah. My husband went on the first day. There were like 10,000 people that showed up because they, you know, they said, oh, there's going to be a vaccine. And then, you know, people who were not 65 and older just came out in droves. Right.

Mike Brush

  27:20 - 27:29

Well, and here we are a few weeks later and the threat level has gone down, went down a week or two ago. So hotels can have more people and the beaches can be more open. Yeah.

Dawn Fleming

  27:29 - 27:48

We're really close to the green. Actually, the numbers are really close to the green, so I'm thrilled with that. And hopefully, we'll continue to see that. So when you went back to the states now, so, you know, you've been here for a year and then you went back for a month. Did you, did you have any, reverse culture shock when you went back to the United way

Mike Brush

  27:48 - 28:32

It was really strange. Like, the first time I drove, I borrowed my mom's car and I went to the store and I had to get on the highway to get to the store because this island is four miles long. So you don't, there's no highway here, you know, and even in Cancun, there's not, it's not the same. So I had to get on the highway and I looked at pick cars were whizzing by me. I looked at it, I was doing 50 miles an hour and it felt like I was flying. It was like, this is ridiculous. You know So it took me a while to get to where I could, you know, go, go 65 miles an hour. It's just sinking ridiculously fast. The pace of life there is really fast. It's, it's, it's just a lot of differences. It was crazy and driving around, I live in Kansas city or we live in Kansas City.

Mike Brush

  28:33 - 29:02

It, the city felt so big. It just, it never felt that large for me. And, you know, the time it takes to get it was I had a 20-minute commute to work, which you think a 20-minute commute to work is not a big deal. That was great. You know, that was great. But a 20-minute drive on the highway there, as opposed to, you know, you can get anywhere on this island in, in, you know, five to 10 minutes here in, you know, going thirty-five miles on a, you know, it's just a whole different experience. Yeah. It was, it was odd. It took a little getting used to

Dawn Fleming

  29:03 - 29:07

Anything else besides the driving that you, that struck you.

Mike Brush

  29:10 - 30:06

Well, a lot of it was the, just the nobody was wearing a mask. I know we're getting into that again, and that's not really what you want to talk about probably, but I S I saw, I saw protesters having signs that said, you know, making kids wear masks is child abuse and things like that. I just, I was sort of amazed by all of that. I it's here. The people are very community-centric, right It's all the things that I noticed about people here is they're super friendly. They say, way, wait, let's start this whiteness note, just, you know, everyone, if you walked by people on the street, you don't know them and they say hello, and they say, good morning, good afternoon, good evening. And I think it probably used to be that way in the, maybe in the, in the forties and fifties in the United States where people sat on their porches and they waved to their neighbors, and they knew everybody, you know when I got here and really people are very respectful and they're very polite and they're very friendly.

Mike Brush

  30:06 - 30:38

And it's, it's just very, they're all about taking care of each other. You know, when the tree fell, all the neighbors came and they helped remove the tree, you know, the things. And we were very new to, we'd only been here a month at that time, maybe less than a month at that time. So, you know, people help each other. It's just very different in the states. People are protesting against each other and they're not wearing, they're not, it seems like they just don't, you know, we've gotten to a point there where people are more concerned about themselves and they care about other people and it's a very selfish kind of culture. And so it feels different than it does here.

Dawn Fleming

  30:38 - 31:04

Yeah. Yeah. So, and you, I guess you, you saw some of that, I guess before you left before you moved down here, but I'm just wondering if that contrast is more apparent because of the tear and then going back, as opposed to, if you had, you know, if you were just used to that, it probably wouldn't have struck you as in the same way.

Mike Brush

  31:04 - 32:10

I think the three things that got me that were really different work in Kansas City, I knew I can't speak for everywhere. I noticed since I've been gone in the year, I'd been gone in my neighborhood, which is not a bad neighborhood. There were, quite a few more homeless people living at there's a bridge, not too far under the highway. I have never seen so many homeless people, which made me sad. Yeah. And I think that's once again, due to COVID and everything that's going on, I saw three new gun stores in the local neighborhood. So there were more gun stores, which tells me, people are afraid or in fear, or, you know, worrying about protection from which made me a little nervous. So more homeless, more guns. And then just places where, you know, nobody was wearing any kind of protection against COVID mass and, you know, all the protests against, I, it just, it kind of blew my mind. It was just very different than what I'm used to here, where everybody you go around, all the locals anywhere they're wearing masks, they've been wearing them, riding their motos in their cars. They're wearing, you know, if they're in public, they're wearing a mask, they're worried about protecting not only themselves but everybody else. And I think that's pretty cool.

Dawn Fleming

  32:11 - 32:18

Yeah. I agree. would you say that's probably your favorite thing about living here Or what if you had to

Mike Brush

  32:18 - 33:20

I think the people, yeah, the people are definitely my favorite thing. I mean, the beaches are beautiful. I've never seen a more beautiful beach in my life, which is which the beach is probably the reason we came. Sure. I, ironically, when I came here, I said, I'm going to spend time on the beach every day. What I found is I don't spend time on the beach every day. Now we'll walk by the beach or we'll, you know, but, and I do spend a goodly amount of time. Chris is on the beach right now. So he's out there with a friend and they're at blind north day right now, but it's the people that I really love. You know, the people are very friendly and very caring and, yeah, we've had a lot of really good experiences with a meeting. Not just, I mean, the expatriates are cool and a little bit crazy and a little bit, and you have to be to move here. We're a little bit crazy, you know, and, and start a new life somewhere else. You're a, you're little nuts and that's, it's okay. But, the locals are just very, they're really neat people, really kind caring and, and overall really happy people, a lot happier than the people in the United States. I think you go to the United States,

Mike Brush

  33:22 - 33:48

There are a lot of angry people in the United States. I noticed when I was back here despite everything, and these people they'd been dealt really hard blows by COVID. I mean, this is their livelihood and they live a lot different than we do. You know, they're, they're lucky to have plumbing and electricity and, and some of them don't have air conditioning and they don't have running water and they don't have these things. And yet they're very happy and they're very friendly and they're just very kind to people, which I really like.

Dawn Fleming

  33:48 - 33:59

Yeah. agreed. That's, it's a pretty special place. That's why I kept coming back. I mean, as I said, I started coming here in 1992 and, that,

Mike Brush

  33:60 - 34:06

No, I didn't feel safe here. I felt safer. I feel safer here than I do in the states. Not just because of COVID, but

Dawn Fleming

  34:06 - 34:07

Just in general,

Mike Brush

  34:08 - 34:10

In general, I feel safer here. Yeah.

Dawn Fleming

  34:11 - 34:22

Yeah. I agree. well, this has been great. I it's been fun to kind of hear your story and, yeah, I didn't know. You kind of had trial by fire when you

Mike Brush

  34:23 - 34:58

Well, and the fire goes on the trial by fire goes on. I'm confident we're going to be fun. We, we do have, what's great is we have a lot of bookings coming up in the spring. And so it's, it's the spring looks in the, in the late fall, early spring, it looks very different from last year. So if that continues, I think, you know, a year from now, we will have our heads above water and they say it normally takes two or three years for a new business to get going anyway, despite being in the middle of a pandemic. But, I think we'll be okay. I really do. Yeah.

Dawn Fleming

  34:58 - 35:00

I, there's no doubt about it in my mind

Mike Brush

  35:02 - 35:05

Is little Harris. Look us up. We're on Airbnb.

Mike Brush

  35:08 - 35:09

Dotcom.

Dawn Fleming

  35:09 - 35:37

Well, definitely put the link in the show notes so people can get in touch with you because, yeah, it's amazing, property. I haven't gotten a full tour, but after this interview, I'll get, I'll get a tour. That'd be awesome. Well, before we close, is there anything I didn't ask you that, you want to share I don't know if you had anything, that you would've done differently, or any last, last words before we close it.

Mike Brush

  35:39 - 35:54

I don't know if we had done anything differently. It's hard to, it's hard to say because we just kinda jumped in feet first. So, it would've been great to have a bigger, safety cushion as far as finances go. But,

Mike Brush

  35:57 - 36:59

But you know, it worked out it's, it is so far so good. It really is. It really is working and we loved the place. We liked the people, we love the house and we love the, the guests that come. So, so far, it's been really fun. It has been an adventure, like a big adventure at times, frustrating at times, exciting. And at times very scary, but you know, we're looking forward to this fall, especially, DIA de Los Muertos, which kind of canceled the festivities last year. We were really sad about that. So we're hoping to, to be a part of that and to enjoy that we're looking forward to, Christmas here and, and experience last year, there were beautiful lights and there were a lot of cool things, but I think a lot of the festivals and parades got canceled there too. So we're, we're excited about maybe being a part of that. I think the way things are going, it's going to be great. Oh, the fireworks on the island, we here are fantastic, which they canceled again last year, just

Dawn Fleming

  36:59 - 37:02

The whole party is downtown. It starts at midnight right

Mike Brush

  37:02 - 37:17

Now. So we're really looking forward to being a part of that. You know, seeing the first sunrise at, the Southern tip of the island for new Year. we've heard a lot about that. It's the first or it's the, you probably told people, but it's the place where the sun,

Dawn Fleming

  37:18 - 37:18

All of Mexico,

Mike Brush

  37:19 - 37:28

The sun touches the Mexican soul for the first time, right here on our island and on a new year's day. It's a big thing for people to go and watch the sunrise. And so we were excited

Dawn Fleming

  37:29 - 37:31

All night. They don't get up in the morning and

Mike Brush

  37:31 - 37:50

Go, they write thanks. Oh, of course, they party all night. And then they it's true. We may not park. We may sleep a little while and then get up in the morning, but we're excited about being a part of those things that we kind of missed out on next year. So, or last year. So there's a lot of, we have a lot of, optimism, a lot of excitement about the future still.

Dawn Fleming

  37:51 - 37:58

Absolutely. Well, awesome. And, we'll look forward to spending some time with you guys. Thank you so much.

Commercial

  38:04 - 38:38

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