“Mexico” Mike Nelson

“Mexico” Mike Nelson will help you discover “real” Mexico. Mike is the author of 16 books on Mexico and psychological issues, and one of the few authors about Mexico who writes mainly about driving Mexico. He likes to find little-known places, not just beach resorts. He grew up on the Texas/Mexico border in Edinburg, Texas and Austin, Texas. He has lived all over the United States, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca and for several years spent half his life in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and half in Mexico.

He and his rescued cocker spaniel/papillon mix, now live in McAllen, Texas with Nicki, her six birds (cockatoos, finches) and their five cats. Because of the birds, the rest of us cannot move back to Mexico. Tip — if you have birds, forget about moving to Mexico.

His latest book is Modern Mexico — Through The Eyes of Modern Mexicans, a Studs Terkel-like collage of interviews with 30 Mexican people who form the bulwark of Mexican society. Read it only if you want to learn more about Mexico’s people than the stereotypes of illegal immigrants, drug traffickers and corruption. The majority of Mexicans, like the majority of Americans or Canadians, are quietly living their lives, taking care of their families and enjoying being in the country they love.

What the media say about Mexico Mike

The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Denver Post, American Way, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Contenido (a Mexican news magazine), Mexico City News, Atención (San Miguel de Allende) and others have profiled Mexico Mike. They called him an expert on Mexico. Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, San Antonio Express-News, Mexico Business Magazine, and many others have quoted him as an expert.

He’s written for several major guidebooks (Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Insight) to Mexico as well as authoring the Sanborn’s Travelogs (until 1998).

He was the media spokesman for the Mexican Tourism Department (Surface Tourism) from 1996-7 and was professionally media-trained by Edelman Public Relations. During his stint as a talking head, he was interviewed by dozens of TV, radio and newspaper interviews, nationwide.

He worked for MTV as a Mexico consultant and location scout during the filming of a segment of Road Rules. But he recovered. He moved to Hollywood, but soon came to his senses and moved back to Texas.

Joe “King” Carrasco, the king of Tex-Mex rock and roll, in his song “Mexico Mike,” said “he’s kind of poco loco/ but he’s bueno all right.”

He’s written for, or been mentioned by the Dallas Morning News, Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Associated Press, Mexico Business, New Orleans Times-Picayune, London (England) Observer, The Guardian (Manchester), Irish Times, and others.

He is currently a pretty much a recluse, but occasionally still presents seminars on living in Mexico and traveling by vehicle. Occasionally, he contributes to various magazines or newspapers about Mexico. He still drives around Mexico, avoiding toll roads whenever possible. Some say it is because he is pinche. He says because they miss the interesting spots. He makes a living making maps for drivers and by personal trip-planning.

Just the facts

“Mexico” Mike Nelson was the author of the Sanborn’s Travelog series of guidebooks for drivers to Mexico from 1986-1998. “Mexico” Mike is no longer associated in any way with Sanborn’s and hasn’t been since 1998.

He started writing about the culture of Mexico during his journalist days in the mid-1990s and briefly in the 2010s. His journalism (if you use the term loosely — he was only a real reporter once, filing an Associated Press story about a flood), was published in the McAllen Monitor, Atención in San Miguel de Allende, The News in Mexico City and the Coastal Current (currently The Current) on South Padre Island, Texas. More recently he wrote a column for Texas Border Business.

He handles book writing better. His first book, Mexico From the Driver’s Seat and second, Mexico’s Hidden Jewels are long out-of-print. So are most of them. But, Live Better South of the Border, the first book about living in Mexico that wasn’t just for retirees has continuously been in print since 1996. His passion (and arthritis) led him to write Spas & Hot Springs of Mexico. He’s written a total of 16 books on Mexico and other subjects. He’s also written 3 books on the psychology of cluttering — see www.clutterless.org for that.

“Mexico” Mike Nelson moved to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas in 1956 for his health. He was a sickly kid. (As an adult, he is only sickly in his mind). He was kicked out of Edinburg High School for being a rebel and finished high school at Travis High School in Austin, Texas. He’s attended a lot of colleges, but none that would claim him.

He made a living as a stock options trader (making and losing two fortunes), an executive with a three-piece suit, a computer programmer and a hospital executive. He moved to Mexico in 1982. He returned to the United States when his skill as a novelist didn’t put the literary world on fire. In fact, they merely rejected his opus. He’s called McAllen, Austin, Galveston, San Antonio, and Kerrvile home in Texas, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sausalito in California. Between this, he’s lived New Orleans and Memphis. There are no plaques that he slept anywhere in any of them. His new “permanent” home is McAllen, Texas. He moved here after his rented house in Austin was destroyed in a fire in 2005. He escaped with his dog and a bathrobe. The dog was not wearing the bathrobe.

To schedule an interview on your radio or TV show, or to have him speak at your next gathering, contact him through www.mexicomike.com. Mike can help you plan a trip, organize a group or start a business in Mexico. He’ll take a small group (3 people) in his own vehicle for a tour of anywhere in Mexico you wish.

His greatest accolade was given him by Mexican friends — “For a gringo, you make a pretty good Mexican.”

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