Our Unconventional Life in Cuenca Ecuador
My ankle is still healing so it was a good day for another courtyard chat with Amelia And JP. In this video, we share some background on 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 Cuenca 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!
If you’d like to join our Band of Unconventionals and get to know other like-minded people at different stages of their unconventional journey, here are 3 steps to take:
- Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of our future adventures here in Cuenca Ecuador and beyond;
- Join our Unconventional Community on Facebook to ask questions and meet other like-minded people;
- Signup for our Weekly Unconventional Newsletter with exclusive content for our Band of Unconventionals.
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
Three years ago, following two major spine surgeries, we made the decision to sell everything we own 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 so we had an estate sale and sold it all. Click to enlarge.
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 Cuenca 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.
And 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 we 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 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. And 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 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.
Religions and political parties discourage free thought because that reduces their control over you. If you think for yourself, you might question the manipulative line of bull**** they’ve been feeding you. And they can’t have that. They despise people living an unconventional life like ours.
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) and will soon have our marriage registered in Ecuador! ¡Que loco! Click to Enlarge.
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. And now we need to register our marriage in Ecuador so it’s on file with the government in case something happens to one of us. It’ll also make our permanent residency visa and citizenship process easier.
Being vegan is VERY unconventional for 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 over 2,500 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. If you want to get healthy and STAY healthy, you really need to be both vegan AND eat a WFPB diet.
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. It’s certainly a concern for us, but we decided it was worth the sacrifice to inspire other people to live an unconventional life, as well as to raise awareness about the benefits of veganism on our planet, our health and the lives of animals.
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 $100/month just on the software and services I use to create the videos. My camera equipment wasn’t cheap, either. Plus, I have a wishlist for more gear (a drone would be awesome!).
And all the adventures we take so we have new things to film are costly, too. It would be really nice to start earning some income from all our hard work to help offset the cost of creating our videos.
A lot of YouTubers make a good living from their YouTube Channels, and we hope to be among them at some point.
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.
Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!
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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
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!