Our Unconventional Life in Cuenca Ecuador

Here is a glimpse into our unconventional life in Cuenca Ecuador, what makes our life unconventional, and the future of our YouTube channel.

If you enjoy following our life here in Ecuador and beyond, or you can relate to some of the things that make our lives unconventional, there’s a good chance you’re at least a little bit unconventional, too.

And we LOVE that about you! Unconventional lives are SO much more interesting!

Our Unconventional Life in Cuenca Ecuador

By societal standards and the expectations of our family, friends and jobs, our unconventional life is not normal. Here’s why:

We’re Expats in Ecuador

In 2016, following two major spine surgeries, we made the decision to sell everything we owned and move to a small country in South America. We had a really nice house in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado that was filled with stuff that we didn’t need so we had an estate sale and sold it all.

We were living the American Dream, or as I now call to it: The American Nightmare. We funded our extravagant, consumer lifestyle with debt that we’re still paying off. Our estate sale netted us about $4,000 after the sales fees for a bunch of useless junk that probably cost us over $100,000 to accumulate.

Selling all the evidence of our retail therapy was the best decision we could have ever made! We’re happy to be free of the weight of our possessions and living a much simpler life here in Ecuador.

We’re Middle-Aged YouTubers

Amelia gets mad at me for calling us middle-aged, but that’s exactly what we are and I’m proud of it!

Most people in our age group work unfulfilling jobs, spend their weekdays commuting to a cubicle, and their weekends doing chores and errands. They’re so busy buying things and saving for retirement that they miss out on what makes life truly worth living.

That used to be us! But we decided life was too short to gamble on the dream of retirement when there’s no guarantee we’ll be around for it.

Every single day you have on this earth is a gift to be cherished. It’s not something to be taken lightly or given away to a corporation that sucks the life out of you for a few pennies on the dollar that your life is worth.

Hopefully, sharing our journey on YouTube will inspire you and others to treat your life like the precious gift that it is.

Amelia’s Belly Dancing

Amelia Belly DancingAmelia is also a 50 year old belly dancer! She has performed in front of several large groups, including hundreds of people at Chinnu and Abin’s wedding in India!

I’m so proud of her abilities and self-confidence to do this unconventional form of self-expression!

We’re Gentle Minimalists

Gentle Minimalism is one of our guiding principles. We live a very simple life with very few possessions. If we had to, we could fit everything that matters to us in two suitcases, or two backpacks if necessary.

In our previous life, we used retail therapy to make ourselves feel better while living our unfulfilling life. Now we live a fulfilling life and no longer feel the need to fill the void with Amazon deliveries.

Our unconventional life does NOT make us feel deprived. It’s full of people, activities and adventures that are extremely meaningful to us.

We don’t go without things we need, either. We don’t live out of a backpack or a van. If we need something for the kitchen or our YouTube channel, or we need new clothes or sunglasses, we buy them.

We just don’t buy things we don’t need that will get used once and thrown on a pile of junk in the basement or garage.

We’re Not Religious or Political

Amelia and I are both open-minded freethinkers. We don’t rely on other people or organizations to tell us what to think or believe.

We read, learn and study the evidence. If a new piece of information is legitimate, we change our minds and our lives.

We Didn’t Want to Get Married

Even though neither of us wanted to get married, we’ve now been married TWICE in two countries (the US and India)! ¡Que loco!

We got married back in the States to make it easier to get a visa for our move to Ecuador. Then Chinnu and Abin insisted we get our marriage blessed by their priest in India when we went for their wedding.

We’re Vegan!

Being vegan is VERY unconventional for US Americans, but it’s not as unconventional in other parts of the world. We went vegan on March 8th, 2016 and our only regret is not doing it sooner.

We feel better physically and mentally. We’ve lost over 50 combined pounds between the two of us. We’ve drastically reduced our environmental footprint. And we’ve saved the lives of thousands of animals.

You can be plant-based but not vegan. However, we chose to do both. Our whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet is responsible for our improved health and youthful look, while our vegan ideology is responsible for us sticking with it.

Our YouTube Creation Story

It’s not nearly as common for people in our age group to be YouTubers. The VAST majority of YouTubers are under 40 years old. So, why did we decide to buck the trend and start a YouTube channel?

A Journal of Our Unconventional Life

It’s still hard to believe that we sold everything we owned and moved to South America! And that’s the main reason we started a YouTube channel.

We wanted to have a journal of our unconventional life that we can share with our family and friends, and watch again when we’re older.

Because of our YouTube Channel, we’ll be able to look back on our crazy adventures in video instead of just memories.

An Inspiration to Other Unconventionals

It’s not as common for people in our age group to have a YouTube Channel, mainly because our generation values privacy a lot more than the younger generations.

Privacy is certainly a concern for us, but we decided it was worth the sacrifice to inspire other people to live an unconventional life.

Now that we’ve zeroed in on the focus of our channel, we’re in a better position to help more people to live their unconventional life, whatever that may be.

Earn Passive Income

Passive income is the third reason we started our YouTube Channel, but we would have done it regardless of the earning potential.

However, it’s not free to do this. We spend over $2,000/month just on the software and services we use to create the videos. All of the adventures we take so we have new things to share with you are costly, too.

It’s nice to earn passive income from all our hard work to help offset the expenses and save for retirement.

Our Website and Channel Updates

Over the past month since we returned from India, I’ve been burning the midnight oil on our website and YouTube Channel. I was very frustrated that our channel wasn’t growing very quickly, especially with all the positive feedback we’ve been getting about the quality of our videos.

That prompted me to do some investigative work, which led to the realization that I had proverbially bound and gagged us, tied cinder blocks around our ankles and tossed us in the river.

In Google terms, I killed our SEO on search engines and on YouTube by using the wrong keywords and, in some cases, no keywords. In Google search results, the first line below the page title was “please subscribe to our channel” instead of a helpful description about the content of the blog post. I’m surprised we showed up at ALL in Google search!

Our YouTube Channel was a disorganized mess and the thumbnails weren’t inspiring anyone to click them. The video descriptions had a bunch of boilerplate information and links that were unrelated to the topic of the video. The tags weren’t relevant and they weren’t ordered correctly so YouTube had no idea what our videos were about. That meant our videos weren’t coming up for the search term “Cuenca Ecuador” or anything related to it!

In order to fix these major issues, I had to optimize and partially rewrite every single blog post. That was 108 blog posts! I also had to create new thumbnail images for every video, and redo all of the video titles, descriptions, translations and meta tags.

After all that was done, I realized our website needed some structure. Our homepage was just a blog page with a list of all our blog posts so I created a site structure organized by our main topics and subtopics. Now it’s easy to find what you’re looking for!

Both YouTube and Google are already rewarding us for these changes by showing our videos and blog posts much higher in search results. We’re getting more traffic on our website and more subscribers on our YouTube Channel.

It’s frustrating that creating high quality content isn’t enough. Without doing all the backend busy work, no one will ever find them. I can be a little dense sometimes, but lesson learned. All our videos and blog posts will be optimized out of the gate from now on.



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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!

2 replies
  1. Michael Carruth
    Michael Carruth says:

    SAT 061519
    Hi Amelia and JP,
    My wife Edith is from Cuenca and we are leaving for Cuenca soon from Washington State this June 27th and we will be there until July 15th.
    Edith’s Dad, Effrain will be turning 87 on June 28th!
    We saw in one of your episode that you guys use a massage therapist that you both really like and we would like to both get massages while we are there. Her parents home is in the same general area of town.
    Could you give us her name and phone number?
    I have been to Cuenca 6 times before to visit, but it is always pleasant to hear about your unique discoveries.
    We are both in our mid 50s but it is possible that we may eventually retire down there for part of the year or perhaps fully.
    Perhaps if it works out we could have lunch together sometime while we are there.
    I thank you kindly for your assistance in this matter.
    Mike and Edith

    • JP
      JP says:

      Hola Mike and Edith! Thanks for commenting!

      A lot of our viewers in the US are either from Cuenca or have family here. It’s such a small world!

      I just sent you and Jerri an email. She’s quick about responding so you may need to check your spam folder. Please let me know if you don’t receive either of our emails.

      And also please let us know when you’re in Cuenca. We would love to meet you guys!

      Hasta pronto!


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