Malcolm Gladwell in his best selling book ‘The Tipping Point’ suggested and demonstrated with numerous examples that the solutions to big problems often lay in a bottoms up approach; by tackling the smaller bits first.

My mother has often said, ‘If you watch the pennies the dollars will take care of themselves’. I always thought that was so home-spun, way over-simplistic, and too countrified to ever be of any real practical use until I realized about 10 years ago that she’s been right all along.

Since I moved here, I started to wash my clothes by hand in the tub out back and air-dry them on the clothesline up on the terrace. Why? I reckon just because it is easy and simple (and it’s not like I got a lot to wash any way).

My Spanish teacher, Salvador Segura, has developed a very low cost, easy to implement passive solar water heater. He created and implemented the first system to cut back on his own gas bill. He has a very modest income, a son with MS and so every peso is precious. Salvador is now writing a business plan to present to local, state, and national governments to see if his idea could be genned up into a program to help other people of modest means living here in Mexico.

Salvador, like a lot of other people in this area manage to live quite well on 200-300 pesos per day. They eat healthy, many commute on bicycles, and their entertainment is for the most part free (and outside) courtesy of the seemingly endless fiestas that center mostly in and around the plaza.

I like living in an area where people just naturally gravitate towards doing more with less. And its culture of practicality implies that the natural beginning point is to first look at what one already has available at hand (and where a new purchase is the absolute last option).

It is easy here to buy locally made and locally produced. I don’t think that there is anything in my house, short of a couple of plastic pots or the few things that I brought with me, that aren’t locally made.

I buy all my food fresh daily from the Mercado. And the sandals I wear every day were made right here too.

Life is good.