Morien Wark and Zoelle Appell had long been fond of Mexico, particularly Playa del Carmen, a coastal resort town where they had spent many vacations over the years. During the pandemic, the couple, who met at a restaurant in Austin, Texas — Mr. Wark was the manager, Ms. Appell a server — began toying with the idea of putting down roots there.
In 2021, they were living in Portland, Ore., in a house they bought in 2018 for $350,000 and had spent years renovating. Mr. Wark was working remotely as an accountant for a hospitality group, a job he could take anywhere, and Ms. Appell was working at Trader Joe’s and not feeling especially connected to her job.
The couple, now both 43, applied for temporary residency status in Mexico so they could stay there for longer than six months at a time. But they still had no plan for