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Todd Nevins is pulling the ripcord on his life this week.
Todd and his wife, Allison, have sold most of their belongings, everything from their couch to their George Foreman grill, they have stashed some stuff with relatives, and they have packed up the rest into an SUV. They are driving on Friday with their English bulldog, Deuce, to San Miguel de Allende, located in the Central Highlands of Mexico.
The self-proclaimed digital nomads have spent the past two years in Austin but they decided to move back to Mexico to build their online businesses and to explore Mexico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and for independence, adventure, and excitement. Nevins runs CLICKPlacement, an AdWords marketing agency he founded a decade ago and Allison founded TexMex Fun Stuff in 2016, an e-commerce store that sells Mexican imported goods on Amazon.
Todd has produced more than 90 episodes of Go Hunt Life, a podcast he started two years ago focusing on people who uproot their lives and pursue their passions. He hasn’t missed a week posting a new episode. He is also one of the founders of the Austin Podcast Community and helped created the Startup Studio, a podcasting studio, at Galvanize.
“Our guests have inspired us to pull the ripcord again and blow up our comfort bubble that we have built here in Austin and go live in Mexico,” Nevins said. “My wife’s heart has always been in Mexico.”
The Nevins moved to Austin two years ago from Merida, Mexico where they lived for 5 years. They also lived in Dallas for 18 years prior to Merida. Allison’s business has grown tremendously, and they are going to Mexico to source handmade products directly from artists and suppliers. They will live in several cities throughout the country for five to seven weeks at each place, staying in Airbnb rentals and working out of coworking spaces.
“The Go Hunt Life Podcast will certainly continue, and we are going to roll in more video,” Todd said.
He’s been working with Lyn Graft, founder of Storytelling for Entrepreneurs in Austin, on the videos.
“Todd is kind of a natural host,” Graft said. “He asks interesting questions because he’s a very curious person and he wants to know who you are, what you do and how you got to where you’re at.”
“That interest in who you are as a human leads to great content,” Graft said. That translates directly into his podcast as he explains how people decide to “make that crazy professional or personal decision to do a 180 in life.”
“Todd’s curiosity and desire to constantly be the student means he’s definitely going to be successful to be an on-camera storytelling host,” Graft said.
“He’s effectively living what his podcast is all about,” Graft said. “He’s again pulling his own ripcord. He’s woven himself into the fabric of Austin really well and has become part of what makes us special because of his energy, enthusiasm, and support for other entrepreneurs and his desire to get stories out.”
The series is called Los Nevins Go Hunt Life in Mexico and will be posted to YouTube. The first video episode is going to be the drive to Mexico, they are crossing the border at Laredo, followed by a feature on San Miguel de Allende. After that, they travel to Guanajuato and then Mexico City, followed by Puebla and Merida. Next year, they’ll travel back to Central Mexico.
“Everywhere we go has co-working spaces,” Nevins said. “Mexico City has 10 WeWorks.”
Nevins will be working out of Impact Hub in Mexico City, which is a part of the ImpactHub coworking sites in Austin.
“I learned a lot in Austin during the last two years and I’m going to share it however I can,” Nevins said. “I’m taking the pride that I felt building the Austin Podcast Community, I’m going to go down there and take my podcast experience and AdWords experience into the tech hubs in Mexico City and see if I can help or be a conduit. That’s my goal going in.”
His goal is to help as many people as he can because that’s what happened to him when he came to Austin.
“This is still a small town,” Nevins said. “There’s still accountability. There’s a community aspect to it and an accountability aspect that makes it a beautiful spot for somebody to come in and make some impact and feel like they are a part of something.”
The technology industry and startup innovation are vibrant in Mexico, Nevins said.
“I’m taking all of what I’ve been given here and sharing it,” he said. “The last two years, my wife and I joke that we feel like we’ve gotten a master’s degree on the next phase of our life.”
Out of all the episodes on Go Hunt Life, one sticks out for Nevins. It’s episode 40 about Roz Savage, an environmental activist and ocean rower who holds four world records for being the first woman to solo row across three oceans. She upended her life as a management consultant in London to row across the Atlantic Ocean in a 23-foot rowboat and she faced harrowing life-threatening challenges as a result but overcame them with hard work and courage.
“I’ve interviewed multiple people whose lives have turned into world records,” Nevins said. “I never lose sight of the fact that it’s a privilege that these people have given me their time.”
Nevins’ passion is living an unconventional life of adventure and meaning and location independence.
“It’s no secret that I yearn to do that,” he said. “I respect people who are living against the grain.”
One of the world’s biggest groups of digital nomads resides in Chang Mai, Thailand where the Internet is super fast, living is easy and relatively inexpensive, Nevins said. In the digital age, being a nomad is no longer the exception, but the norm in some communities, he said.
Nevins grew up in Illinois and four days after graduating from Southern Illinois University, he bought a one-way plane ticket from St. Louis to Dallas. Initially, he worked at Telecheck as a sales executive and sales manager for six years. He then left to launch his own business as an executive recruiter focused on the financial services and healthcare industry.
In December of 2010, Nevins left Dallas with Allison, who quit her corporate job, to move to Merida, Mexico. He continued to work from there remotely. They moved to Austin to focus on the AdWords business.
“This time it feels like we’re going back to Mexico and it’s going to be a comfortable landing,” he said.
Mexico’s central time zone makes it easy for Nevins to connect with his customers in the U.S. and Canada, he said.
Todd is going to be missed in Austin where he has been a member of Galvanize since its founding two years ago, said Bill Blackstone, general manager of Galvanize Austin.
During South by Southwest, Galvanize invited Todd and Allison as guests of Galvanize for a VIP reception with Casa Mexico where the Consulate General heard Todd’s story and gave him his personal cell phone “just in case” Blackstone said, The reception included Mexican dignitaries, leadership of Fondo de Fondos, local investors and tech leaders, and talented Mexican entrepreneurs.
“Todd represents the best of our community – he’s always willing to help other entrepreneurs, he’s serious about growing his business, and he works to make sure everyone around him feels included,” Blackstone said. “As an original member of Galvanize Austin, it’s been amazing to see his business and network grow. While we’re sad to see him leave Austin, we’re excited to see what he and his wife will accomplish in Mexico.”