How I Convinced My Skeptical Spouse to Move Abroad

Leaving the United States and moving to Ecuador was a decision that took some time, but once I started researching it, I quickly became convinced that it was the right decision for us.

After reading a lot of blog posts and watching a bunch of videos, I was ready to sell everything and move to Ecuador with our two dogs. Sight-unseen!

Amelia, on the other hand, was a bit more skeptical. Although she liked the idea of living abroad, she was reluctant to leave our comfort zone and move to a small country in South America.

She’s not as much of a risk-taker as I am, so she convinced me to visit on an exploratory trip first before we packed our bags and moved.

Our First Time in Ecuador

We left the dogs behind and flew to Ecuador where we spent ten days exploring Quito and Cuenca.

How I Convinced My Skeptical Spouse to Move AbroadQuito was a bit overwhelming, but I fell in love with Cuenca immediately. Amelia, on the other hand, needed more time to adjust. She experienced a bit of culture shock after spending most of her life in suburbia United States.

Quito and Cuenca are both 500-year-old European-style cities with minimal city planning. The cities feel a bit haphazard, and some of the buildings are in need of repair. The sidewalks and streets aren’t great, and they lack many modern conveniences like Amazon next-day delivery and Apple Geniuses.

During our visit in 2017, Cuenca was plagued with blue puffer buses that left a trail of thick, black, diesel smoke plumes behind them, which made it hard to breathe on narrow streets. Since then, most of those disgusting buses have been replaced with low-emission diesel red and white buses.

Despite these challenges, Amelia eventually warmed up to Cuenca’s old-world charm after a couple days.

Once she became more comfortable with our daily routine of shopping for fresh produce at the mercado and cooking in our extended stay apartment hotel, she started to appreciate the city’s beauty.


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How I Convinced Amelia

Before we left to go back home to Denver, I asked Amelia if she was comfortable laying the groundwork for our move to Ecuador.

I reminded her that if we didn’t like it, we could always move back home or someplace else, but we wouldn’t know if we didn’t try.

I helped her focus on the excitement of living in another country, learning a new language, and adjusting to a new culture.

The thought of an amazing adventure that we could cancel at any time grew on her, and we started the process for our Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa on our last day in Cuenca.

After we returned to Denver, we were both depressed. It was cold and snowing and we missed our expat life in Cuenca. We immediately started planning for our move to Ecuador later in 2017.

Winning Over Your Skeptical Spouse

If your spouse or life partner is skeptical about living abroad, I suggest visiting for at least a week, ideally longer. Rent a place with a kitchen and act “as-if” you already live there. Go to the mercado and grocery stores. Cook your own food.

Visit the malls and walk around the old parts of town. Visit the neighborhoods where you might like to rent a house or condo (we don’t recommend buying until you’ve lived there for a while).

Do as much as you can to reduce the uncertainty and to get a good feel for what it’s like to live abroad before you officially make the move.

And continue to remind your skeptical partner that you can always move back if you don’t like it, but at least you’ll be moving back with some great adventures and stories to share!

Watch Our Video About Why We Chose Ecuador



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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

10 replies
  1. Hank Peña
    Hank Peña says:

    My wife forwarded this to me. I’m the risk taker and she’s the practical one. However, she did forward this to me. So what’s the hint I’m supposed to take? A vacation? Is she finally ready? LOL!

    We’re subscribers to your YouTube channel and have been loving your content for a few years now. Thank you guys!

  2. Jerry Bollinger
    Jerry Bollinger says:

    Enjoy your work, informative and thorough. Especially the review of the different countries. Keep the work coming!!

  3. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    You make me laugh JP, as I see that Amelia left many things behind, but that gave her room to buy new shoes and chocolate while traveling. I enjoy both of you. A tip for Spanish. Stretch out your mouth why like in the biggest smile you ever had. Then speak the Spanish. It will help your accent. Don’t worry if it sounds silly. It will improve your language skills. Thanks again

  4. Gabor Simmonds
    Gabor Simmonds says:

    We started our journey in 2021 summer in Panama.
    Became resident and bought a farm. Hence still living in the US as we seek to replace our US income which seems the biggest obstacle.


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