By Aimee Braniff Cree


THIS WOMAN who booked an impulse trip to Mexico ended up living on a remote island for just £11K a year and she has vowed never to return to “despairing” Britain.

Cooking School Owner Lucie Ondreasz (33) originally from Herefordshire, England turned her back on the UK to live full time in Isla Holbox, in her one bedroom apartment with a bathroom, a kitchen / living room combo and a small terrace area perfect for soaking up the sun.

Isla Holbox is an 42km long island north of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, in Quintana Roo State.

It is a car-free island, between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, is rich in marine life such as sea turtles and whale sharks. Highlights include laid-back Holbox Village and Punta Coco Beach.

The population currently sits at 1,200 and it is separated from the mainland by seven-miles of shallow lagoon that is home to flamingos, pelicans and other rich birdlife.

Looking back from her island paradise, Lucie admits she always had difficulty aligning herself with the way of life in the UK.

In 2016 she was living and working in Edinburgh, when her grandfather suddenly passed away. She felt like she lost a part of herself and booked an impulse ticket to Mexico as an escape.

Lucie enjoying a drink on the island

Disaster struck when she landed and she lost her bank card in the city of Tulum, leaving her to struggle for two months with no money.

Luckily for Lucie, the hostel she was staying in treated her like family and allowed her to stay there without payment until her card arrived.

When her new bank card finally arrived she only had three weeks left of her trip, she had recently seen a travel video on YouTube about Mexico’s paradise island, Isla Holbox.

She went for three days initially then added an extra night and then another before finally spending the remainder of her trip there.

Initially Lucie returned to the island for love. Despite that relationship not lasting her love for the island has stayed with her forever.

She has lived on the island ever since.

“I left Mexico and returned back to the UK when my three months was over. but booked my flight back just two weeks after being back in England,” she said.

“I had initially fallen in love with a guy and I travelled back to try island life with him.”

Lucie shares her life on the island online and has received a lot of positive feedback and the lifestyle suits her perfectly apart from the five nights she spent in jail when Covid hit and she was unable to leave the country.

“It has been pretty smooth sailing living on the island but back in 2020, I had a problem with my visa which couldn’t be renewed due to Covid,” she said.

“I was unable to fly to the UK and because I had an expired visa, I ended up spending five nights in an immigration jail.”

Lucie soaks up the sun

Immigration authorities wouldn’t accept her reasoning that she was unable to fly back to her home country and put her in an immigration jail until she was able to contact the British embassy and be released.

After that incident she paid to get her full permanent Mexican Residency.

“I share my life through vlogs on my YouTube channel and I have some pretty awesome and kind people who follow my journey.

“I always knew I would leave the UK, since I was young. I think it’s just in my genes to explore and live in different places.

“I didn’t fit into the work a 9-5, get married, get a mortgage and have children kind of life that is usually expected of you in the UK,” said Lucie.

“Not that there is any problem with that at all, I just wanted something different.

“The way I chose to live would always raise eyebrows.

“Even when I visit family in the UK now and I mention to any stranger I first meet that I actually live in Mexico now, they usually say ‘oh why would you live there? It’s so dangerous’.

“There are so many closed minded people, I sometimes feel like I’m back in the 1950’s when I go back to visit with the way people think and the things they deem to be true.

“Especially since we left the EU, we were destined to be plummeted even further into the depths of despair.

Lucie beams but it has not all been easy she spent 5 nights in jail

“I have no plans to return to the UK. Not for a very long time, if ever. At this very moment, island life suits me well.

“Here on the island I work online as well as opening my own business. I own a Mexican Cooking School which teaches tourists how to prepare authentic Mexican dishes.

The island is costly to live on but it is worth it for the lifestyle it affords Lucie.

“I’ve been lucky enough to live in the same apartment for four years though and pay a fair rent,” she said.

“I live in a typical island apartment. One bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen / living room combo. I also have a small terrace outside where I can hang laundry.

“My personal expenses are around £900 a month. Bills, foods (including feeding my four rescue cats) and any activities.”

Lucie would recommend the island lifestyle, but she recommends anyone looking for the same type of lifestyle to test it out first before making such a huge commitment.

“Most people are interested to learn more and are always envious. That’s why I like to share my life through my videos to show that it’s not all sunshine and blue skies,” said Lucie.

“It can be really tough living here.

“If you want a life abroad I would say visit first. Test it out for a month or so. You can’t get a true feel for a place past vacation mode until you’ve really dug your heels in.

“I’ve seen so many people try to move here after a vacation and I’ve seen them all leave running when they realise that it’s nothing like what they thought.

“Then of course check all legalities and visas to see what you will need to move there.

“I love the slower pace, that everything is so close. I can walk from one end of the island to the other in less than an hour.

“A beach is no more than a few streets away wherever you are too.

“The fruit and vegetables are always just that more juicer and tastier.”

You too can follow Lucies journey on her YouTube.