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Guides & Articles to Help You Live Abroad

Living abroad is the adventure of a lifetime! And it’s the second pillar of The Unconventional Life! Living in another country can help you achieve a much higher quality of life and, most likely, a much lower cost of living. In this section, you’ll find all sorts of information about Country Comparisons, Cost of Living, Healthcare, and more.

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.

Amelia And JP Peguche Waterfalls Ecuador

Unexpected Perks of Leaving the USA

Our return to the United States was a stark reminder of what our life used to be like before we moved to Ecuador.

We were stressed about so many things: Cost of living, work life balance, inflation, gas prices, politics, and healthcare.

According to the World Happiness Report, the United States ranks at number 16, but for us, that’s a hard statistic to swallow.

Picture of Josh, Kalie and their daughter in Portugal on a blue sky day.

Why Josh & Kalie Moved to Portugal

I get asked this question a lot: Why Portugal?

Obviously there are a variety of reasons that someone chooses to move somewhere, whether that’s in their own country or abroad.

There are a lot of great options for places to move abroad, but we are extremely happy to currently be in Portugal.

Blue dome of the New Cathedral in Cuenca Ecuador at night.

Exploring Cuenca Ecuador: 10 Things That Make This City Unique

Cuenca, Ecuador is not just a city; it’s an experience that combines history, culture, and a vibrant community into one captivating package.

If you’re considering a visit or even a move, there’s much to know about what makes this place unique.

From the local food and architecture to the day-trip adventures that surround this Andean city, here are the top 10 things we miss most about Cuenca that stood out during our visit there.

Altitude Sickness

How to Avoid & Treat Altitude Sickness in Ecuador

You might be drawn to the breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture of Ecuador, especially in high-elevation cities like Cuenca (8,500 feet / 2,560 meters) and Quito (9,400 feet / 2,865 meters); however, you may experience a unique challenge: altitude sickness.

Similar conditions are found across various mountain cities in Ecuador and throughout the Andes, so if you’re planning a trip, you may be wondering how to prevent or treat it.

This guide provides you with insights into the symptoms of altitude sickness and offers practical remedies and preventive steps.

With this knowledge, you can ensure your visit or move to Ecuador remains both comfortable and enjoyable.

Cotacachi Ecuador Mural

Cotacachi Ecuador Pros & Cons

Nestled amidst the majestic landscapes of Ecuador, Cotacachi emerges as a destination that’s loved by travelers and expats alike.

Whether you’re intrigued by its affordability, captivated by its culinary delights, or drawn to its tranquil beauty, Cotacachi promises an experience like no other.

Before you embark on this journey, let’s dive into what makes this place truly enchanting, and also touch upon a few aspects that might require a bit of acclimation. Here are the pros & cons of Cotacachi, Ecuador.

Colorful aerial view of a resort on the Black Sea in Arkutino Bulgaria.

10 Retirement Visas with Low Income Requirements

Have you ever dreamed of retiring in an exotic location where the cost of living is so low you could enjoy a lavish lifestyle for a fraction of what you’d spend back home?

In a previous article, we explored 10 countries where you could live on less than $1,000/month. However, some of you commented that these countries often have retirement visa income requirements that are higher than $1,000.

So, in this article, you’re going to read about 10 countries with affordable retirement visas, having income requirements of $1350 or less per month, and several are under $1000/month! Plus, none require a hefty deposit into a local bank.

Keep in mind that these visa requirements often fluctuate. They may have changed already! The income requirements also vary based on currency exchange rates, which fluctuate quite a bit.

We highly recommend working with an immigration attorney who’s up-to-date with all the latest laws and can assist you in navigating the process.

Happy couple looking out over the ocean in Europe.

Geographic Arbitrage: The Financial Secret to an Unconventional Life

Geographic Arbitrage isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a financial strategy that has the potential to revolutionize your lifestyle.

Rooted in the age-old economic concept of arbitrage, this practice allows you to maximize your purchasing power by living in one location while earning income from another.

In this post, we’ll explain the basics of geographic arbitrage, and explore how it can be a cornerstone for your Unconventional Life.

How We Paid Off All Our Debt

How We Paid Off $60K of Debt in 3 Years by Moving Abroad

Here’s an alarming statistic: nearly half of all Americans are getting sucked further and further into the whirlpool of debt.

Not too long ago, that was our story too. But today, we’re writing a very different chapter of our lives, one that’s debt free and set on another continent, far from the United States.

Wondering how we got here? Here’s our story…

Amelia And JP on a swing with bright orange and yellow wings in Baños Ecuador.

Introducing FlexFIRE: A More Flexible Approach to FIRE

Amelia and I started following the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement around the same time we decided to sell everything we owned back in Denver and move abroad.

We found the simplicity of the FIRE philosophy to “save more, earn more, and invest more” to be easy, refreshing, and attainable.

The ultimate goal of FIRE is to achieve financial independence and leave the traditional workforce far earlier than the standard retirement age.

10 Things We Miss About the United States

10 Things We Miss About the United States (as Expats in Ecuador)

Several of our most-viewed videos are about things we DON’T miss about living in the United States (and we catch a lot of flack for talking about that). So in this article, I want to share some of the things we DO miss about the U.S.

If you’re planning a move to Ecuador, this article will help you mentally prepare for the differences, and remind you to bring a few things with you.

Here are 10 things we miss about living in the United States.

Nighttime street view in Cuenca Ecuador with the New Cathedral dome lit in the background.

10 Reasons Why Living Abroad Is Better than Staying in the United States

Some people have been giving us a hard time lately, accusing us of “bashing” the United States because we often talk about things that frustrate us about living there.

The U.S. has changed a lot over the past 30 years, and life has become more difficult for many. Things are more expensive, there’s more uncertainty, and people seem to be at odds with each other more than ever.

Life can feel so stressful!

We decided to leave the U.S. back in 2017, and honestly, our only regret is not doing it sooner. Our lives are a whole lot different now than they were when we still lived in Denver, and the changes are all for the better.

Now, let’s dive into the top 10 reasons why living abroad has been a game-changer for us compared to staying in the U.S., starting with…

10 Countries with Great Weather

10 Countries with Great Weather: From Mountains to Beaches, There’s a Perfect Place for Everyone!

They say records are meant to be broken, but I don’t think “they” were talking about temperatures.

The United States is experiencing the worst heatwave on record, as is much of Europe and Asia. Records are being broken daily in many countries around the world, but there are a few places where it’s still nice and cool, even when they break records.

In this video, you’ll learn about 10 countries that have great weather and cooler overall temps throughout the year than the US and southern Europe. Several have 4 seasons, but others have mostly the same cool temperatures year-round.

You can get a 90-day tourist visa to wait out the hot summer in all 10, and you can apply for residency in several so you can stay longer if you wish.

You don’t have to suffer through the heat. You can escape to better places!

10 Countries with Affordable Cost of Living

10 Countries Where You Can Live for $1,000/mo (or less)

Inflation and stagnant wages are dragging down the quality of life for millions of people in “1st world” countries. Thankfully, there are more affordable places to live.

The developing world, and even some developed countries, offer a much lower cost of living, while at the same time offering a much higher quality of life full of adventure and new friendships.

In this article, we share 10 countries where a single person can live on $1,000/month or less, and a couple can live on $1,500/month or less.

Each of these locations offers affordable housing, food, utilities, and healthcare, along with exciting cultural experiences and a welcoming expat community.

9 Things We Miss About Colombia

The 9 Things We Miss About Colombia

In our previous blog post, we talked about Our Expat Story and how my husband and I ended up in Medellín Colombia. Sadly, we had to leave Colombia after 4 years due to visa issues.

Baños Ecuador

Baños Ecuador Travel Guide

After having spent almost six years in Ecuador, Amelia and I had Baños sitting on our bucket list for the longest time. Now that we have finally experienced its charms firsthand, we can’t help but wonder why it took us so long to visit this magnificent corner of the world.

From its steep mountains veiled in vibrant greenery to the cascading highest waterfall in Ecuador, Baños offered an adventure that was nothing short of magical.

Our journey to Baños started in Quito. It was a scenic 3-hour drive from the city and about 4 hours from the Quito airport to Baños.

This article dives into our first impressions, cost of living, shopping, restaurants, spas, and outdoor activities that make Baños a true treasure of Ecuador.

Live A Good Life AND Save for Retirement

Live A Good Life AND Save for Retirement

Now that we’re in our 50’s, retirement is becoming more top-of-mind every day.

Well, maybe not “retirement” in the conventional sense because we never plan to stop working completely, but being able to afford a high quality of life in our “golden years” is a priority.

However, we don’t want to sacrifice today’s happiness for a future that may never come. “Tomorrow is not guaranteed” may be a cliche, but it’s one that guides our decision-making every day.

Almost dying has a way of changing your perspective of daily life.

That’s why this article from Entrepreneur really angered me: “What Would You Choose as a Consumer: Living a Good Life or Saving for Retirement.”

Safest Countries in Latin America

Safest Countries in Latin America for 2023

We get a lot of questions about safety abroad so we’re going to talk about the most popular countries in Latin America for foreign residents and discuss how safe they really are, from worst to first.

It’s important to note that safety can vary within a country, and certain regions or cities may be safer or more dangerous than others. While news reports often exaggerate the overall safety situation in a country, it is crucial to consider specific locations and local conditions. 

So, let’s dive into the rankings of the most popular countries in Latin America for foreign residents, based on the 2023 Global Peace Index and the US State Department Travel Advisories. 

Where The American Dream STILL Lives

Where The American Dream STILL Lives

Amelia and I grew up during the 1970s and 80s in the heartland of America. Amelia is from the Chicagoland Area. I was raised on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town.

Our parents told us we could do or be whatever we wanted when we grew up. The sky was the limit and opportunities abounded.

Our fathers had good corporate jobs with good benefits, including affordable health insurance. We were taught that if we got a job at a good company, the company would take care of us.

What they didn’t realize was that they were the last generation to experience that kind of employer loyalty.

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