Amelia And JP’s Blog

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UPDATED: Our Thoughts About Ecuador Right Now

It has been a little over a month since President Noboa declared a state of emergency and signed the decree he called the Phoenix Plan.

In that time, the military and police have carried out 99,000 security operations nationwide. More than 8,000 people have already been arrested, many of them are from other countries.

Rome Italy at Night

The Pros and Cons of Living in Rome, Italy

Rome, the eternal city, a place where history merges seamlessly with modernity, offers a plethora of experiences for travelers and residents alike.

From its stunning architecture to its rich history, delicious cuisine, and vibrant culture, Rome captivates visitors with its charm at every turn.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the various aspects of Rome to help you get a better understanding of what this iconic city has to offer and help you decide if it’s a good place to live.

Sunset Near Lisbon Portugal

Portugal Livability for Expats

Portugal is one of the most popular places for expats, but how livable is it?

We took an exploratory trip to see for ourselves because it was at the top of our list for another residency. While it does have a lot going for it in terms of livability for expats, we’ve crossed it off our list for one main reason.

This article evaluates Portugal’s livability based on the crucial factors that matter most when considering a potential new home, such as safety, cost of living, residency options, and taxes.

The Pros and Cons of Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal is a city with a history that predates even the Roman Empire and it continues to captivate people from all around the world.

Despite our arrival coinciding with one of the worst rainy seasons in recent memory, we were lucky enough to have a few hours of sun and blue skies to explore the city. We didn’t let the weather stop us!

Porto is extremely popular with tourists and foreign residents but it isn’t perfect. In this article, we share what we love about Porto, as well as some of the downsides, to help you decide if it is a good fit for you.

Matosinhos Portugal Sunset Over the Ocean

The Pros and Cons of Matosinhos, Portugal

We finally made it to Portugal! This is the first country on our multi-country tour while we search for a 3rd place to call home after the U.S. and Ecuador.

Portugal is also at the top of the list for a large number of our viewers so it seemed like a great place to start this adventure.

We took a red-eye from Newark New Jersey and arrived at the Porto airport around 9:30 AM.

We knew we would be tired from the overnight flight and the jet lag, so we wanted to spend the first couple of days of our trip recovering by the beach in Matosinhos. It’s located on the western side of the Porto Metro Area and it has a lot going for it.

This isn’t the best time of year for a beach vacation in Portugal, but it was perfect for our first trip to Portugal because this area is a really popular place to live year-round.

In this article, we share the pros and cons to help you decide if Matosinhos should be on your list of places to consider.

What Still Shocks Us in Ecuador After 6 Years

Living in Ecuador for over six years has been an incredible journey, but at times we still experience culture shock.

In this article, we share some of the cultural nuances that continue to baffle and surprise us, including several things that are shocking in a good way, to help you better prepare for your visit or move to this amazing country.

View of El Virgin statue located in Quito Ecuador

Living in Quito Ecuador, The Pros and Cons

Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is a popular place to live for expats from all over the world. We’ve spent a lot of time exploring the city and surrounding areas, and we lived in one of the suburbs for almost 2 years.

It’s a big city with almost 2 million people and it has all the amenities you would expect from a big city, including a new Metro rail system.

However, even though Quito is a great place to live, there are some downsides that you need to consider before calling it home.

In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of Quito, Ecuador to help you decide if it’s the place you want to live abroad.

Moving Abroad in 2017 Changed Us (a lot)

Moving to Ecuador in 2017 transformed our lives. In more ways than one.

These pictures are from our exploratory trip in March 2017. We don’t have many photos from that trip because we were both so self conscious about our appearance that we didn’t like having our pictures taken.

We’ve changed a lot since then.

Cumbaya Ecuador Pros & Cons

Cumbaya Ecuador Pros & Cons

Cumbayá is one of Ecuador’s most popular expat cities and for good reason! It has a lot of modern amenities, including excellent healthcare, shopping, and restaurants!

It’s a suburb of Quito and functions as a bedroom community for many people who work in the city center. A good comparison in the U.S. would be the Denver suburb of Cherry Creek.

We lived in Cumbaya for almost 2 years and loved it, but there are some downsides. In this article, we’ll share the pros and the cons to help you decide if it is a good fit for you.

Photo of a retired couple walking on a beach.

Can I afford to live in Ecuador on Social Security?

Ecuador is a popular destination for retirees, particularly for Americans and Canadians. The low cost of living and warm weather year-round are among the main reasons why people choose to live in this beautiful country.

One of our most frequently asked questions is, “Can I live in Ecuador on my social security income?” So in this article, we break down the cost of living in Ecuador and give you an idea of what your life might look like on the average social security check, which is just over $1,700 per month (as of August 2023).

Photo of of an arched stone bridge and old buildings in Toledo Spain.

Countries That Welcome U.S. Expats (and the Realities of Moving there)

In light of the current political and economic situation in the United States, many people are contemplating the idea of moving abroad.

With so many options available, the decision of where to relocate can be overwhelming and confusing.

An article from The Travel, 10 Countries Welcoming US Expats, popped up in our news feed and we were intrigued. There were some countries on their list that we hadn’t researched yet.

We dug into the specifics of these 10 countries to learn what types of visas they have, the pros & cons of living there, and how realistic it is to move there.

Loja Ecuador Pros & Cons

Loja Ecuador Pros & Cons for Expats & Tourists

Nestled within the picturesque landscape of Ecuador lies Loja, a city that has increasingly captured the attention of both tourists and long-term residents.

Having lived in Ecuador for several years, we finally made it to the city for a deeper exploration to discover why so many people recommended we spend time there.

In this article, we provide an overview of this beautiful Andes mountain city and cover both its strengths and its areas for potential improvement.

View of Positano Italy and the Mediterranean Sea.

6 Realistic Ways to Finance Your Life Abroad

Are you dreaming about moving to another country, but you’re not sure how to finance it? You’re not alone. It’s literally the most common obstacle we hear from our viewers.

A lot of people ask us, Can I get a job abroad? Or how do WE afford to live abroad?

Thankfully, there are multiple ways to fund your move and new life in another country. In this article, we share several options that you can start working on today to take control of your finances and fulfill your dream of living abroad.

Photo of Amelia And JP sitting on a bench at El Castillo in Medellin Colombia

How to Escape the Toxic Hamster Wheel (like we did)

Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to save for retirement? Do you dream of working remotely or retiring early? Are you feeling stuck in the toxic hamster wheel of life in the United States?

If so, you’re not alone. Many people are looking for a way out, and in this article, we’re going to share our experience and show you how to escape the toxic hamster wheel like we did.

Photo of El Castillo in Medellin Colombia

Countries We Eliminated From Our Plan B List for Residency

A couple of weeks ago, we shared our top 10 countries on the Plan B List for second residency. We’re US citizens and permanent residents in Ecuador, and now that our dogs have passed, it’s time to expand our list of places we call home by adding a third country to the mix.

Selecting a third destination isn’t easy. There are lots of incredible options to choose from, so we had to eliminate some countries that you might think are perfect for us.

In this article, we share our criteria for choosing a 3rd residency and explain why we eliminated some very popular countries that might still work well for you.

Photo of the Medellin Colombia skyline during the day.

Working Remotely From Colombia – A Perspective From A New Expat

In this guest post, Daniel Arthur shares his journey from office job to remote worker, which allows him to live his Unconventional Life in Colombia. Here is his story…

My remote work journey began long ago, several years into my career, and shortly after graduating from college. I’ve been working remotely for over twenty years, long before it became popular.

Back then, there were only three options for folks who wanted to work from home. They consisted of people who owned their businesses or were self-employed, freelancers, or W-2 wage-earning employees who worked for companies who valued their employee’s contributions to the company, invested in their success and career trajectory, and were sensitive to their employee’s overall quality of life.

I was very fortunate to convince my employer back in 2007 to agree to this arrangement. My experience could be a model for current and future expats wishing to work abroad.

Picture of a couple checking in to an AirBnB.

AirBnB Alternatives for Digital Nomads

As numerous cities worldwide enact stricter regulations or outright bans on short-term rentals available on platforms like AirBnB, VRBO, and Booking.com, long-term travelers and digital nomads are feeling the crunch.

The recent near-total ban in New York City is just the tip of the iceberg with similar regulations already enacted in Vienna, Florence, Paris, Berlin, Bali, and other popular destinations.

While platforms like AirBnB were once the go-to solution, offering affordability and a chance to live like a local, the surge in extra fees, decreasing customer focus, and gentrification have travelers exploring other avenues.

Scenic view of a coffee plantation in Panama with a mountain and blue sky in the background.

Living Among the Coffee Bushes near Boquete, Panamá

I lived a comfortable life in the United States, enjoying a cabin in the woods. I had a nice kitchen and good friends nearby.

Yet, in 2020, I grew concerned with the politics and cost of living and decided to look elsewhere for a new life. I took tours of Panamá and Mexico to explore going south.

I chose the Republic of Panamá because it required the shortest time to secure a Permanent Visa. Hurtling through the skies was brisk. Far from brisk was dealing with airports and QR scanning codes. I arrived intact but exhausted—I slept 11 hours the first night.

Yet, if you had told me I would be living in a yurt at 5,260 feet above sea level on a tropical mountainside among coffee bushes, I would have asked if you were crazy.

Aerial view of Porto, Portugal old town on the Douro River.

Finding a Plan B: Top 10 Countries to Consider for Secondary Residency

Ecuador has been a favored destination for years in the expat community, but for many, the rising crime rates since the pandemic have put a damper on its appeal.

If you’ve crossed Ecuador off your list, any of the 10 countries we cover here could serve as a good Plan B, especially if you’re not retired yet. They each have a variety of visa options and a lot of great things to offer, including higher safety ratings.

Picture of two hands with wedding rings.

My Unconventional Marriage In Colombia: Celebrating Marriage Across Borders

In September 2017, I met my lifelong partner in the most unconventional way. We met online through a language-learning mobile app called Tandem.

I suppose it isn’t unconventional to meet someone online, especially in these times! Many successful couples have met online, formed an immediate connection, and subsequently married four years later.

We took the conservative approach to marriage in the beginning. About the three-year mark in our relationship, we contemplated marriage. We decided to delay it to allow us to complete our academic endeavors. I was finishing my Master’s while my partner was completing his Bachelor’s.

 

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