Amelia And JP’s Blog

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Labradoodle walking

I’m an 81-yo Retired Traveling House-sitter

In this guest post, Warren R. Johnson shares his experiences as a traveling house-sitter and pet-sitter, along with some tips to help you get started and be successful. Here is his story…

House-sitting and pet-sitting are convenient ways to find free accommodation, and it comes with a host of other advantages, but it also comes with significant responsibility.

Whether you’re caring for a cherished pet or maintaining a home in the owner’s absence, you’re stepping into a role that demands attention and commitment.

In this article, I’ll share some of the best ways to find house-sitting and pet-sitting opportunities, how it can be a means to lower travel expenses, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a traveling house-sitter.

Discovering Granada, Spain: A Hidden Gem for Potential Expats

Granada is home to the ancient fortress that draws people from all over the world. Located in southern Spain, its history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes make it a must visit destination.

Granada is known for its iconic Alhambra palace and lively university scene; it is the perfect relocation spot for those dreaming of a Spanish adventure. However, despite its many charms, Granada has yet to become a hotspot for foreign residents.

We fell in love with the city and we’re excited to share it with you!

Saranda Albania at Night

Schengen Zone Travel Hacks

A lot of our viewers asked about the Schengen Zone tourist visa in Europe and how it works. We were confused about the specifics before we started traveling through Europe and had the same questions too! That’s why we’re explaining the Schengen visa functionality and how to hack it to make the most of your time in Europe.

Designed to facilitate seamless travel within participating European countries, the Schengen visa simplifies border crossings and procedures for tourists and business travelers. Here’s an in-depth look at how the Schengen visa works.

Tirana Albania

Discovering Tirana, Albania

Tirana, Albania, might be the easiest option if you’ve ever dreamed of living in Europe!

Nestled on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, it’s a popular vacation spot for many Europeans due to being a vibrant city, offering a unique blend of stunning landscapes, rich history, and a welcoming community.

Its cost of living is low compared to the US and other places, so it might also be an excellent place to call home.

After spending two months here, we’re genuinely impressed and excited to finally share it with you!

Photo of Mt Rainer – Tacoma, WA

Managing Reverse Culture Shock: My Return To The U.S.

Greetings from the beautiful Pacific Northwest—Harstine Island (Shelton, WA), near the capital city of Olympia!

My home base is Medellín, Colombia; however, I’m back in the U.S. as of this article’s writing.

Since early February, I’ve been in the U.S., caring for family issues, doing medical checkups, filing taxes, etc. -things that are easier to handle within the country without all the complications, nuances, and processes while living abroad.

Many expats have written about their experiences after returning home for the first time after living abroad, an idea or concept known as “reverse culture shock.”

Beach in Saranda, Albania

Saranda Albania: Even Better than Expected

In this guest post, Warren R. Johnson shares his experiences in Saranda, Albania. Here is his story…

I first ran across Saranda, Albania several years ago on YouTube. I saw a video of the city and thought, “Oh, that looks like a nice place,” and didn’t give it another thought.

But as algorithms work, YouTube kept sending me more Saranda videos and I kept watching them. Soon I was hooked. I had to see this place.

Ecuador Temporary Residency Visas

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas

There are several different types of Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas: Professional, Investor, Pensioners, Rentista/Digital Nomad, Dependent, etc. The qualifications and requirements vary for each type of visa so you’ll need to select the best option for your specific circumstances.

Cathedral of Seville Spain

Live In Seville Spain as an Expat: The Pros & Cons

Seville (or Sevilla in Spanish) is the vibrant capital of Spain’s Andalusia region. It’s a city steeped in rich history and culture, offering an enchanting blend of old-world charm and modern conveniences.

Seville was our first stop in Andalusia and it did not disappoint! We were amazed by the beauty and lively culture.

We picked the perfect time to go because it wasn’t too hot or too cold and it wasn’t during the height of the tourist season. Overall we loved our time there, but our visit wasn’t perfect. Unfortunately, a few aspects of Seville weren’t that appealing to us.

In this article, we dive into the experiences and observations from our visit and share the pros and cons of living in Seville as an expat.

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.


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