When I turned fifty, I took a long look at my life and didn’t like what I saw. I was stressed out, working too many hours, spending too much time in my car, and felt a faint sense of disappointment with many of my relationships. Sound familiar?
My solution to this mini-middle crisis was to resurrect an old dream of living in a foreign county. My children were grown, I was self-employed as a ghostwriter and book publisher, and I was healthy. It was time for an adventure!
I started to do extensive research and found that Ecuador was a top destination for expats because of the stable economy, low cost of living, great food, and use of the US dollar, which eliminated the need for confusing currency calculations. I’d traveled to Ecuador in the past and enjoyed it greatly, so it seemed like a great place to consider. There were many useful books, blogs, and articles to review. The more I read, the higher my excitement became.
Moving my business would be fairly simple. I decided to keep my US based bank accounts and S-Corporation so all I needed to work was a US based telephone line and high speed internet. Since I would not be working with clients in Ecuador, I would not have any tax burden there and be in full compliance with their laws.
I found that Cuenca, Ecuador, had solid infrastructure, many universities, excellent healthcare, decent internet access, a low crime rate, and was considered the prettiest city in Ecuador. I arranged a visit to Cuenca and took part in a real estate tour so that I could get a feel for the entire city and housing options.
Honestly, the first few days were disappointing. Cuenca was lovely, nestled up high in the Andes Mountains, and full of pretty colonial architecture. However, I didn’t feel an attraction to any of the houses, apartments or condos we toured. Then, on the final day of the tour we went to the countryside about an hour from the city. I fell deeply in love with a lot on the side of a mountain on a dirt road with an incredible view of mountains, a river valley, and condors flying overhead. By the time I returned to the US five days later, I had purchased the property, had an architect, attorney, and a house plan. My kids thought I’d lost my mind. My siblings and parents thought the same thing but were too polite to say it aloud.
Three months later, I moved to Ecuador with one of my adult sons. It had been a hard three months. We sold everything and started our new lives with 2 suitcases each. Again, information found online was very helpful in knowing what to bring and what we could purchase in Ecuador.
That was in November of 2012. Today, I am writing from the office of my home on that mountain I fell in love with. It’s been an amazing journey, full of challenges, delight, and lots of unexpected moments.
The biggest challenges have been in adjusting to the slower pace of life and the uneven internet access. It was hard to run my business when the internet would be out for several days at a time. Thankfully, I have wonderful clients who were understanding about missed phone calls or training classes. After trying several internet providers I found one that provided reliable service, but at a much slower speed than I was accustomed to in the USA. I’ve also had to work around days without electricity or water during the first year while we were living in a rental apartment. Funny how I’d taken those things for granted in the past.
Yet, those annoyances have been minor. I am thrilled with how this move has changed me personally. I’m braver, more resourceful, and much healthier than in the past. I laugh more, enjoy my neighbors, and have adopted their more tranquil approach to life.
Oddly, this move has grown my business and my brand. I’m in a crowded market. There are lots of editors, book consultants, and publishers. However, I am the only one who moved to Ecuador. When I talk about my experiences during presentations or on social media, people are curious and want to know more about me and my work. I’m also more courageous about taking risks, trying new approaches, and bringing more creativity to my work.
Becoming an expat is not a good choice for everyone. It requires lots of research, the willingness to fail, to learn new things, and lots of flexibility. It’s also a great adventure and extremely rewarding. I have never regretted my decision to move to Ecuador and plan to live here permanently. However, if something changes and I need to change that plan, the skills I’ve learned moving here will make any future transitions easier.
Lynne Klippel is a ghostwriter, publisher, and book strategist. She’s been helping smart people create great books since 2003. If you believe you have a book inside you begging to be born, you’ll enjoy the free author assessment at www.BusinessBuildingBooks.com