Michigan or Mexico?

posted in: Alyssa Alexander | 13

I am not a snow girl. I am not a winter girl.

I am not a cold weather, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating kind of girl.

Give me a white sand beach, a mai tai and an ocean so blue it dazzles the eyes any day of the week.

Ice StormBut, alas, I live in Michigan. Now, this year hasn’t been too bad (knock on wood). Not like it has been in Boston or other parts of the country, with record snow fall. Last year though…*shudder*. I was one of those (un)lucky individuals who lost power during The Ice Storm. I went to bed one Saturday night and woke up to find myself in a frozen world with no electricity, along with a few other million people. I confess, the thin coating of ice was lovely in the sunlight, but not when it covered downed power lines and ragged branches.

20131224_120532We drove 25 miles that day to find a gas station that had power, so we could get a spare propane tank. I heated my house to keep the pipes from freezing by lighting every candle I could find and melting snow on the grill, then bringing steaming pots indoors. We took selfies in our snow clothes while sitting on the couch. The whole family huddled together in a king size bed at night, covered by a mountain of blankets. I even put our clothes under the covers so they would be warm when we dressed in the morning…42 degrees in the house is CHILLY, and you really don’t want to put on clothes that sat out in that all night! Five (dirty) days later (we have an electric well pump, so no showers!) the power came back on, and I have never been so grateful for modern amenities.

Still, it was a kind of a fun five days (minus no showers, no laundry, and cooking only on the grill). We wrapped presents by candlelight on Christmas Eve. We played cribbage and Uno and Sorry, because we had no TV. I think I talked more to Mr. Alexander than I have since simply because there were few distractions like computers and Facebook. (I’m sure he was pleased when the power went back on just so he could have some silence!)

But the result of those five days were twofold:

1. We bought a generator. We live in the country, so we’re always the last to have power restored. I will never again take electricity for granted!

Room with a view! (If you squint, you might see me in the bottom right with a beverage.)
Room with a view! (If you squint, you might see me in the bottom right with a beverage.)

2. I calculated just how much it would cost for me to live at my favorite all-inclusive Mexican resort.


That’s right, I got on Orbitz and calculated the price for a 28 day stay at the Moon Palace in the Riveria Maya. I’ve been there twice, and absolutely love it. Total cost? $6,000. So for one year, I could live there for the measly little price of $72,000.


Me. 10,000 years ago, pre-child and pre-publication.
Me in Mexico. 10,000 years ago, pre-child and pre-publication.

I could be the crazy American writer who orders room service every day, sits by the pool with a mai tai to write my books. I could take a walk on the beach whenever I wanted, eat at 5 star restaurants, and have full use of a fitness room. (Right, because that’s going to happen). I’d have a balcony with a hammock and a Jacuzzi tub in my room, where I could read a book before bed every night and simply relax. No laundry, house cleaning or grocery shopping to ruin my day.


Hey, every girl has to have a fantasy, right?

So, two questions for you:

First, where would you live if you could go anywhere for one year, cost being no object. And, second…would you come back? 🙂 Not sure I would!

Follow Alyssa Alexander:

Despite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn’t mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes. Alyssa’s debut release, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, was awarded 4.5 Stars and Top Pick, nominated for 2014 Best First Historical by the Romantic Times and Best First Book in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest. Her second book, IN BED WITH A SPY, released in December 2014 from Berkley, and received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic times. She has been called a “talented newcomer” and “a rising star you won’t want to miss.” You can find Alyssa at all the usual places! Please stop by and say hello! And you can always reach her by email at alyssa@alyssa-alexander.com.

13 Responses

  1. Ally Broadfield

    I grew up in Suttons Bay, Michigan. I remember being snowed in for more than a week at a time, and sleeping in sleeping bags in the living room in front of the fireplace when the electricity went out. I loved it as a child and those are some of my favorite memories. But I’m sure my parents didn’t enjoy it so much. I live in Texas now, and I’m not a fan. I miss snow, and the generally mild weather in the winter leads to months of 100 degree weather with no break because it doesn’t cool down much at night.

    This is a bit of a cop out, but if I could live anywhere for a year, I would like to travel around Europe. And I’d probably want to stay there.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I remember snow days as a kid, too, and loved them! Now when there’s a snow day we have a mad scramble to figure out who is going to stay home with the child, who has to take vacation time, who has a meeting that can’t be canceled. Such is life!

      But Europe is on my bucket list. I hope to have a research trip there soon!

  2. dholcomb1

    Where I live, I can be at the beach or the mountains within 2+ hours–depends on which beach/mountain I want to visit. I like snow, I like warm summers, so I think I’ll stay where I am in the Mid-Atlantic. I wouldn’t mind having a nice vacation somewhere, though.

  3. ginaconkle2013

    I love this, Alyssa! What an interesting blog post. You got me thinking. First, let me say, I’m with Ally. I grew up in San Diego (except for 3 years in my early teens) and I can vouch you want a change. During my SD years, I’ve lived 2 blocks from the beach and more inland, and when those heat waves come that bring dangerous dry weather and fires (I’ve been evacuated twice from fires), you want shelter. Have you ever seen when sunlight gets so intense, it changes from a nice golden shade, to hot white? Yeah…that’s what I’m talking about. You run for the shelter of A/C.

    Before my recent ‘big move’ I lived in an area of San Diego that was wide open with horses, goats, and chickens. Our family loved it. Now we’re in a Michigan suburb, and we want want some country, some space. LOL!! I sure went on a rant! You touched a nerve. So, where would I go?

    I would summer in Iceland and then I’d go to southern France (the rural parts) or near Colmar, a tiny rustic village stuck in the late Middle Ages. Brian (hubs) would go to Fiji or northern Italy. So, there’d have to be a compromise. And would I come back? Yes, because my boys would be here and hopefully I could return to a country home with acreage and chickens.

    Thanks for this, Alyssa. 😀 A compelling and personal post. How nice.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Oh, I fully understand acreage and chickens. Our first house was in a downtown neighborhood and I swear, I saw more of my neighbors through the windows than a girl should ever see! Now we live on about an acre and a half. No chickens, but it’s rural and quiet, and we occasionally hear the bellows of cows. It’s lovely, especially in the spring when the hayfield behind my house is dotted with flowering clover and other wildflowers. But it’s awful in the winter! There’s no buildings to cut the wind, snow drifts abound and the roads are horrific! Still, I’m thinking my slippery roads and inches of snow are a bit better than being evacuated for fires! Glad you’re all safe!

      And you know, Southern France and Northern Italy aren’t that far apart. You could commute! 😉 Though Colmar sounds lovely and quiet!

  4. Sandra Owens

    I love the ocean and the snow, but snow that comes and goes like we have here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Three to six inches, then two or three days later, it’s gone. But if I had to choose between the mountains and the ocean, it’s the ocean hands down. There’s just something about that vast body of water that gives me a sense of peace.

    Great post, Alyssa!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Another ocean girl! As pretty as mountains are, yes, I’m all about that wide open space.

  5. Barbara Monajem

    It’s no fun going without electricity even in Georgia. We had an ice storm once where we lost power. Fortunately we have a fireplace in our bedroom, so the whole family slept there.

    I’d like to live in London for a year — I never seem to have enough time during visits to explore properly. And of course I’d take side trips to Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy… etc.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I’ve never been to London–actually, I’ve never been overseas at all. But I hope to go someday soon!

  6. Stephanie B.

    Despite being born in (IN), and having always lived in (IL and OK), a landlocked state, I am an ocean girl at heart. I want nothing more than to have a home on or near a warm, white beach. That’s my goal. I’ve been through two pretty bad ice-storms, one in IN where we were without power for 5 days. We had an oil stove in the house though, so a bit of warmth, just no blower to circulate it. And then one here in OK where we went 3.5-4 days without power and finally bought wood for the fireplace we’d never used until then. I’d rather not repeat those.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I had to chuckle about the fireplace. I cannot tell you how much I longed for a fireplace or wood-burning stove when the power was out!

      I hope you meet your goal, and get that warm, white beach! Then, can I come visit? 🙂

  7. Jessica Jefferson

    I was so excited when we moved from Michigan and went south…Indiana. Now, I’m about a minute from the Michigan border so I’m afraid I haven’t escaped the weather. I keep trying to convince my husband to move to North Carolina or South Carolina. As for generators – I finally bought one after a few incidents of no power for days. Since then, I haven’t lost my power for more than a few hours.