Tag Archive for: USA

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.

Spending a month back in the U.S. was a good reminder of what our life used to be like before we moved abroad. It was stressful, frantic, busy, unhealthy.

We spent a huge chunk of our time driving. We ate out way too much and we both gained weight because we didn’t have time to cook or exercise.

After 1 month, we left the U.S. feeling a year older!

After returning home to Ecuador, it didn’t take long to get back to feeling happy and healthy so in this article, we’ll share 10 reasons why we’re happier living abroad and why we think you will be too.

New Adventures

Living abroad brings a constant sense of adventure. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in a new culture, language, and activities.

In the U.S., we often found ourselves stuck in the same routine, eagerly awaiting the weekends for a brief escape.

In Ecuador every day is an opportunity to learn and explore, and every weekend feels like an adventure as we discover the incredible beauty of this country.

Global Friendships That Go Beyond Work

Amelia's birthday party with multinational friends in Cuenca Ecuador, July 2022.Back in the U.S., our conversations often revolved around work and our professions. Our friendships tended to be with people from similar backgrounds.

However, in Ecuador, we’ve forged meaningful relationships that go far beyond work. We talk about our lives, share experiences, and engage in various activities with friends from all over the world.

It’s a chance to learn about different cultures and worldviews, broadening our horizons.

A More Affordable Lifestyle

The cost of living in the U.S. was a constant source of stress for us. Rent for a tiny one-bedroom apartment alone consumed a significant portion of our income.

Healthcare and everyday expenses, such as food and transportation, were prohibitively expensive. In Ecuador, we’ve discovered a more affordable way of life.

Our rent here is a fraction of what we paid in the U.S., and we no longer need a car. Healthcare costs are significantly lower, making it accessible to everyone.

Better Food

Colorful strawberries and apples in the Loja Ecuador Mercado.Ecuador has spoiled us with its higher quality, better-tasting, and more affordable food. Healthy eating is not only achievable but enjoyable here.

Restaurants take pride in presenting their dishes, turning every meal into a delightful experience.

A Healthier Lifestyle

Our time in the U.S. often had us stuck in traffic or sitting at our desks for extended periods. Unhealthy convenience foods became our go-to because we were too exhausted to cook.

Ecuador’s climate and abundant green spaces have encouraged us to walk more, and we’ve lost weight as a result.

We can enjoy year-round walks without extreme weather conditions, whether in lush green parks or along beautiful beaches.

Accessible Healthcare

In the U.S., we often had to wait for months to get a doctor’s appointment, and emergency care was prohibitively expensive. This led to postponing necessary medical visits.

In Ecuador, we can see a doctor promptly and communicate directly with them. Even without insurance, healthcare here is affordable, making it easier for us to prioritize our well-being.

A Commute-Free Life

In the U.S., Amelia spent hours stuck in traffic during her daily commute. Now, with the flexibility of working online, we spend more time together, reducing stress and improving our overall quality of life.

A Life with Less Stress

Amelia and JP by a waterfall in Mindo Ecuador May 2022.Ecuador offers a calmer pace of life. We no longer worry about making ends meet, allowing us to save for our retirement and enjoy each day without the rush and chaos of our previous routine.

Para-Political Bliss

One of the great advantages of living abroad is being removed from the political turmoil of the U.S.

Ecuador has its own unique challenges, but we’ve found peace in being detached from the political baggage we left behind.

An Expanded Worldview

Living abroad has broadened our horizons and shattered stereotypes and myths.

The world no longer seems as intimidating, and we’re excited to explore more places long-term, armed with a newfound understanding and appreciation for different cultures.

Final Thoughts…

Our quality of life has significantly improved since we left the U.S.

Ecuador has become our happy place, but the benefits of living abroad are not limited to a specific location. Regardless of where you choose to live, the adventures, global friendships, affordability, better food, and improved healthcare can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.

So, if you’re seeking happiness, don’t hesitate to explore the world beyond your comfort zone—you might just find your own version of paradise.

Watch Our Video About the Perks of Living Abroad

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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

Our story about how we paid off $60K in debt by leaving the USA was featured in Newsweek!

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…

The American Dream, But at What Cost?

Like so many others, we lived what many would call the “typical American lifestyle.”

We had a nice house with a looming mortgage, two cars (one with monthly payments), and an ever-growing pile of credit card bills and a giant student loan.

But life, unpredictable as ever, threw us a curveball when health problems led to two major spine surgeries. I faced the daunting task of relearning how to walk (twice) and couldn’t drive for several months.

Being self-employed, this medical setback (and pain meds) meant I couldn’t generate any income during the recovery phase. Amelia, doing her best to keep us afloat, took on a local job, even though it meant a 40% reduction in pay.

Every month we were dreading the bills, watching our expenses rise while our income took a nosedive.

See Also: 

Rethinking Our Choices

View of Denver, Colorado skyline at night from our apartment in Uptown.

View from Our Uptown Denver Apartment

We considered cashing in on the appreciated value of our house by opting for a second mortgage. But the thought of sinking further into debt, especially when our monthly expenses were outweighing our earnings, felt like a trap.

So, we made the tough decision to sell our home, using the proceeds to clear off our high-interest credit card debts.

In an attempt to scale down, we moved to a cozy one-bedroom apartment in Uptown Denver. But even with the downsizing and selling a car, our expenses still exceeded our income.

It was becoming crystal clear: If we stayed in the United States, we’d be headed straight for an insurmountable mountain of debt.

Moreover, the looming threat of another medical emergency without adequate insurance could push us into bankruptcy.

Seeking a New Horizon

It was during this crisis that we began to toy with a radical idea: What if we moved to a country with a lower cost of living?

Our research was eye-opening.

If we relocated abroad, our US-based income would not only cover our living expenses but also leave us with enough to gradually pay off our debt.

And so, with two adorable dogs in tow and two suitcases each, we embarked on our journey to Ecuador, landing in the beautiful city of Cuenca.

Our first rental house in Cuenca Ecuador.There, we rented a fully furnished, 3 bedroom/3.5 bathroom house with a courtyard for just $800/month.

Our monthly expenses plummeted from more than $5K to a mere $1500 that first year in Cuenca.

And the best part? We didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything.

Cuenca welcomed us with open arms. We embraced the local culture, dined out, picked up Spanish, and made friends from across the globe.

Living in Ecuador also meant we didn’t need a car. That saved us so much money! No more spending on gas, taxes, maintenance, insurance, etc.

Plus, we loved the fresh, locally-sourced food available for a fraction of the cost compared to the overpriced Frankenfood sold in the U.S.

Though certain goods like electronics, cars, and appliances are pricier in Ecuador, the reduced costs in healthcare, utilities, housing, and public transportation more than made up for it.

In just three years, we went from using our savings and credit cards to cover monthly expenses to being completely debt-free and actually saving money for retirement.

See Also: Introducing FlexFIRE: A More Flexible Approach to FIRE

Embracing a New Lifestyle

Our time in Ecuador also debunked many misconceptions we had. The world isn’t as perilous as we once believed and Ecuador isn’t as bad now as the international news media makes it seem.

Back in the United States, we felt like hamsters on a relentless wheel, exhausted but never really moving forward. Moving to Ecuador gave us a chance to pause, breathe, and reclaim our lives.

That’s why we love Ecuador and have such a deep appreciation for it and its people. It gave us our lives back!

However, we realize Ecuador isn’t right for everyone and the rise in crime has scared many people away. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t another low cost of living country out there with your name on it!

See Also: Expat Country Comparisons

You Can Do It Too!

While our story might seem unique, it’s a path anyone can choose and millions of other people from the U.S. already have.

Relocating abroad doesn’t mean bidding a permanent farewell to your home country. You can easily move, get your finances in order, and if you ever feel the call, return home.

A good life is about choices, and sometimes, all you need is a change in scenery to turn things around.

See Also:

Watch Our Video About How We Paid Off $60K in Debt

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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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, starting with…

#1 Consumerism

The U.S. is optimized for consumerism. You can find almost anything you need in a local store or have it delivered to your home the next day.

Even though we are gentle minimalists and don’t buy a lot of stuff, sometimes we need things that aren’t easy to find in Ecuador, or they cost twice as much. Shoes and electronics fit into that category.

There are major stores like Megamaxi, Coral, Kywi, and Hipermart, but even those big stores often lack the things we need so we have to go on a scavenger hunt to find more obscure items.

My dermatologist prescribed hydrocortisone cream for a skin irritation below my right eye (you may have noticed it in a recent video). We went to two local pharmacies, but neither carried it so we have to take a taxi to a specialty pharmacy on the other side of town to get it.

It can be frustrating, but the silver lining is we do get a lot of exercise walking all over the place!

#2 Fast Shipping

The next point relates to the first one: There is no robust Postal Service in Ecuador, and Amazon Prime doesn’t exist.

Ordering things online from the U.S. is expensive and takes a long time with items often getting stuck in customs for days or weeks. And we aren’t allowed to order some things, like Indian spices 😭

Plus, the address system in Ecuador isn’t very specific, which complicates deliveries.

When we lived in Olón, we had to meet delivery drivers at the park in the center of town. Our street wasn’t marked and our condo building didn’t have a number, but if you live in a large condo building with a name, it’s much easier to get deliveries.

Most people resort to DHL, FedEx, or a mule service for shipments from the U.S., and we’ve had good luck with TiendaMia recently (although it’s expensive and usually takes at least 2 weeks for delivery).

#3 Structure & Efficiency

We miss the well-defined processes and efficiency in the U.S.

In Ecuador, procedures can vary drastically by government office, store, or even by employee, leading to inconsistent information and service.

Moreover, many businesses don’t adhere to structured hours, which can be frustrating.

I estimate that at least 30% of the time when we go to a restaurant for dinner, it’s closed when it’s supposed to be open.

#4 Punctuality

Punctuality is NOT valued in Ecuador and time is a very fluid concept throughout Latin America.

And I’m not just talking about being a few minutes late, but hours or even days late!

Although we try to stay tranquilo and go with the flow, it drives us crazy sometimes!

#5 Having a Car

In Ecuador, we don’t own a car, primarily due to the high cost, lack of mandatory insurance laws, and the affordability and availability of public transportation. We also have a bank of private drivers who are very affordable.

However, there are days when we miss the convenience of hopping into a car and driving to the store instead of catching a cab or bus.

We also miss spontaneous road trips or being able to drive to a trailhead for a hike without scheduling it in advance.

#6 Parks & Hiking

Ecuador has a lot of city and national parks, but they’re often not easily accessible and the trails aren’t clearly marked.

When we lived in Denver, we hopped in the car almost every Saturday (before my spine gave out) and drove up to Tanglewood Canyon or Herman’s Gulch for a long hike. With the nice highways and roads, most of the trailheads were less than an hour away.

Here in Ecuador, we have to arrange for a driver to take us and then wait for us to finish our hike, it can take an hour or more to get there, and it’s easy to get lost on trails that may not have any signs or even clear paths.

The hike we took in Baños up to Mirador Bellavista in the video we shared yesterday was not clearly marked. Neither end of the trailhead had a sign so we weren’t sure we were on the right path.

Plus, the trail had 3 forks, but only one was marked. We went the wrong way at one of the forks and ended up in someone’s backyard!

If you go hiking in Ecuador, you need a good sense of direction plus a phone with offline maps and GPS.

#7 Effective Communication

Communication in Ecuador primarily relies on word-of-mouth and phone calls. We miss the widespread use of emails, which often go unanswered here.

If you have plans to attend an event, you better make sure you know exactly where it is because you probably won’t see any signs pointing you in the right direction.

When we order food from a restaurant for delivery, I send a map marker via WhatsApp so the delivery drivers know where we live.

Almost every single time, they CALL us from their motorcycle and ask us for directions in garbled, heavily accented Spanish.

It is such an inconvenience to order delivery that we often cook even when we don’t feel like it just to avoid the hassle.

Although we’re getting better at Spanish, our language barrier makes complicated topics difficult to navigate, especially things related to healthcare or the government.

Sometimes we really miss how easy it is to communicate and find things in the U.S.

#8 Drinkable Tap Water

We could drink the tap water in Cuenca and in our last two condos, but we couldn’t in Olón or other places we visit in Ecuador.

On our recent trip to Baños, we had to buy big plastic bottles of water, which really bothers us. We hate single-use plastic and we don’t like drinking the water that comes out of them, but it’s better than getting a gut bug.

#9 Flushing Toilet Paper

In most parts of Ecuador, the sewage systems aren’t built to handle a large volume of toilet paper, meaning you have to discard used toilet paper in a little bin next to the toilet.

It’s something we got used to quickly, but it’s still something we miss about the U.S.

#10 Family and Friends

Of course, we miss our family and friends back in the U.S.

We already lived a long way from our family before we moved to Ecuador so the only difference now is that they’re further away and we see them less often.

As our parents age, that is becoming more difficult to handle and we often wish we were closer so we could see them more frequently.

Will We Ever Move Back to the U.S.?

Despite some inconveniences, we still love living in Ecuador and have no plans to leave or move back to the U.S.

Plus, we don’t have the option of moving back to the U.S. until healthcare is available and affordable for everyone regardless of age or type of employment.

The small things we miss from the U.S. simply remind us of the different lifestyles in both countries and help us appreciate the uniqueness of each.

Watch Our Video About The 10 Things We Miss About The US

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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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.

Watch Our Video About Why Living Abroad is BETTER!

Top 10 Reasons Why Living Abroad is BETTER!

There are A LOT of reasons why living abroad is better, but these are our top 10. If you have others, please share them in the comments below!

Reason #10: Better Weather

Imagine not having to shovel snow or rely on air conditioning!

Where we live now, in the mountains close to the equator, the temperatures are consistent and comfortable year-round. There’s no extreme heat or cold, and even though it does rain, it’s not all the time.

It’s like enjoying spring every day with temperatures in the 70s F (around 21°C). How amazing is that?

See Also: Weather In Ecuador & Best Time to Visit

Reason #9: Easier to Make Friends

A group of Unconventionals at our meetup in Cuenca Ecuador on July 30th, 2023.You know how in the U.S., it often seems like it’s all about what you do for a living? When you live abroad, there’s a sense of global community and support.

We’ve made friends from all over the world, bonding over common interests with people who also live abroad.

Plus, the locals love meeting folks who choose to live in their country, especially if you’re learning their language!

See Also: Expat Social Activities in Ecuador

Reason #8: Don’t Need a Car

Owning a car is so “American,” isn’t it? But here, we’re saving around $1200 per month without one.

Public transportation is fantastic, and taxis and private drivers are abundant. Plus, we walk several miles each day running our errands so we get lots of exercise.

It’s so much more affordable, less stressful, and far healthier than owning a car.

See Also: How We Save $1,200/Month by Ditching Our Cars

Reason #7: More Time to Enjoy Life

Our weekends used to be consumed with errands and work seemed never-ending, but those days are behind us.

Living abroad has opened a door to constant exploration, fun, and new experiences. Every day feels like an opportunity to discover something new, whether it’s a local market, a hidden beach, or a fascinating cultural tradition.

We don’t wait for weekends or vacations to enjoy life; it’s become our everyday priority. The joy of trying new things and immersing ourselves in different cultures has transformed our routine into an endless vacation.

It’s a lifestyle filled with excitement, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Reason #6: Safety

Despite what some might say, we feel safer here in Ecuador.

There are no random mass shootings, and most crime is petty theft, domestic, or gang-related in areas we don’t visit.

Latin America might have a reputation for danger, but our experiences and research show otherwise. In fact, the U.S. ranks near the bottom of our list of Safest Countries compared to Latin America.

See Also: Safest Countries in Latin America

Reason #5: More Tranquilo – Not So Stressful

Say goodbye to the relentless hustle and bustle that often defines life in the U.S. Here, we’ve learned to slow down and soak in life’s pleasures.

The culture encourages spending more time relaxing, savoring meals, enjoying the company of friends and family, and appreciating the little moments.

Gone are the days when we felt a constant urgency to get a mountain of tasks done in a single day. Instead, we’ve embraced the local philosophy of “Tranquilo,” finding peace and joy in a more unhurried, contented approach to life.

It’s a refreshing change that has greatly reduced our stress and enhanced our overall happiness.

Reason #4: Better Mental and Physical Health

Living abroad has led to a transformation in both our mental and physical health. We’ve shed some extra pounds, but more than that, we’ve learned to let go of the need to control every aspect of our lives.

Challenges are no longer obstacles but adventures waiting to be experienced. Even small triumphs, like conversing in Spanish or understanding how to navigate the local systems, feel incredibly rewarding.

Embracing this new lifestyle has taught us to trust the process and savor the journey, leading to a much richer and more fulfilling experience.

Reason #3: Better Healthcare

One aspect of living abroad that’s really amazed us is the quality and accessibility of healthcare.

Gone are the days of waiting weeks for a doctor’s appointment or paying exorbitant fees for medications. Here, we can see a doctor within a few days, and labs and tests are available super fast.

Doctors take their time with patients, offering personal attention and even house calls. The equipment and procedures are current, reflecting modern medical practices.

And the best part? The costs are 70% to 90% less than what we used to pay in the U.S.

Quality healthcare that doesn’t break the bank has added a whole new level of comfort and security to our lives. It’s a benefit we truly value and one that often surprises our friends back home.

See Also: Our Ecuador Healthcare Experience

Reason #2: Lower Cost of Living

Who doesn’t want to live well without spending a fortune? That’s exactly what we’ve found abroad.

We’re enjoying a lifestyle that costs roughly a third of what it would back in Denver, Colorado.

Within three years, we were able to pay off all our debt, and now we’re comfortably saving for retirement. The consistency in costs means we can plan trips, dine out, and indulge in hobbies without the constant worry about finances.

It’s not about living cheaply; it’s about living richly without the hefty price tag. The financial freedom and peace of mind we’ve found here have added a new dimension of joy to our lives.

We pay a lot less for a much higher quality of life, and we’re incredibly thankful for that.

See Also: Cost of Living in Ecuador

Reason #1: More Freedom

The concept of freedom takes on a whole new meaning when you step away from a life tied to jobs you don’t enjoy, just to afford health insurance or the high cost of living.

For us, living abroad has opened the doors to real, tangible freedom. We’re no longer confined to the 9-to-5 grind (or 8-to-6 or 7-to-7); we’re thriving on our own terms.

We earn enough from our YouTube and blogging business to afford not just a comfortable life here, but a high-quality one.

Our schedule is ours to create, allowing for spontaneous trips to the movies on a Monday afternoon or the flexibility to travel as we please.

It’s about doing what we want, when and where we want, without the constraints that once held us back.

It’s more than just a perk of living abroad; it’s a profound shift in our lifestyle that feels empowering, liberating, and deeply fulfilling.

Final Thoughts…

We’re not alone in this journey. We’ve heard from so many people who have left the hamster wheel behind and are living their Unconventional Life abroad.

And you can join them!

Living abroad may even allow you to retire early or pursue something you enjoy, even if it doesn’t pay as well, because you need so much less money to thrive when you live in a lower-cost-of-living country.

If you’re intrigued and want to earn WiFi income to feel truly FREE but aren’t sure how to start, we’ve created an Online Income eCourse to show you how.

It’s packed with the tricks we’ve learned during our mostly online/remote working careers to help you get started quickly and fund your life of time and location freedom. Check out the details and enroll here…

We’re living proof that there’s an exciting world beyond the borders, waiting to be explored. Why not take the leap?

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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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.

When Employer Loyalty Died

In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, company benefits like health insurance and education reimbursement were slashed. Profit-sharing and pension plans were replaced with employee-funded 401k plans. And annual layoffs became a popular way to boost stock prices ahead of quarterly earnings reports.

Meanwhile, as the corporate mindset was shifting, the Internet boom was creating more opportunities for employees.

When I worked at Sprint in Kansas City, my annual pay raise was between 2% and 5%. Even when I got promoted two levels, my pay only jumped 10%.

In 1999, after 5 years of working at Sprint (and saving the company more than $24 million), I was only making $42K per year.

By quitting Sprint and going to work at a different company, I almost doubled my salary overnight to $80K per year.

My wife at the time also quit Sprint and more than doubled her salary at a different company. We went from making a combined $80K per year to $160K per year. Overnight!

Why on earth would we have ANY loyalty to a company that was cutting benefits, laying people off for no reason, and giving us mediocre raises when we could jump ship and immediately double our salaries?

When The American Dream Died

Somewhere along the way, companies forgot that employees were their most valuable asset. That caused employees to chase the next shiny object until there were no more shiny objects to chase.

Instead of weathering the economic storms like employers and employees had done in the past, it was everyone for themselves.

While this shift was occurring, the cost of food, housing, health care, and education were all outpacing the increase in wages, especially for those who remained loyal to a company.

Americans started using credit cards to buy food, borrowing a lifetime of debt to pay for education, and going bankrupt due to medical expenses.

This perfect storm of events killed the American Dream, at least for most middle-class people living in the United States.

The American Dream Lives Abroad

Thankfully, there’s more than one country in the Americas (as our viewers from Central and South America like to point out whenever they get the chance).

If you can bring your income with you, meaning you either have a pension, social security, or work online, you can still achieve the American Dream, it just won’t be in the U.S. of America.

The foundational component of “living the dream” is being able to afford it. If your expenses exceed your income, your life isn’t a dream; it’s a nightmare.

Most developing countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and even parts of Europe, have areas that feel a lot like the US, only for a fraction of the cost.

If you go outside the major metro areas, it can feel a little old-world, but near the major metros, it feels remarkably first-world.

That means you can have all the benefits, like high-quality food, housing, and health care, while paying a fraction for them compared to similar things in the U.S.

We calculated that by moving to Ecuador in 2017, we have saved over $250K in living expenses! That’s a quarter of a million dollars just by reducing our cost of living!

What have we done with that money?

Well, we paid off all our debt (including $43K in student loans), we took an amazing trip to Amsterdam and India, we’re traveling more in Latin America, and we’ve put more money into our retirement funds than we had in the previous 15 years combined!

Final Thoughts…

It’s a shame that millions of Americans have already had to leave the US to find the American Dream, but that’s the reality in which we live.

The US is quickly heading toward a two-class society: the uber-rich who don’t need to leave and the uber-poor who can’t afford to leave.

The middle class is being decimated by a high cost of living and stagnant wages, which means the majority will have a tough decision to make over the coming years: stay, and risk poverty, or leave, and move to a country where The American Dream still lives.

George Carlin said, “It’s called The American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

Based on my experience living abroad, I’d like to modify his quote: It’s called the American Dream, but you have to leave to achieve it.

See Also: 

Watch Our Video About the New American Dream

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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The NEW American Dream: Leaving

The old American Dream was about freedom, prosperity, and opportunity, like home ownership or providing a better life for your kids.

However, for many Americans, that dream now seems unattainable so a NEW American dream is taking its place: Leaving.

The US State Department estimates that 9 million Americans live abroad, and this number has been on the rise for the past several years.

So, let’s dive into the top seven reasons why people are leaving the United States and pursuing the new American dream abroad.

High Cost of Living

The New American Dream LeavingDespite the prosperity in the United States, many people feel that there are better economic opportunities elsewhere.

High living costs in some American cities are pushing people to seek more affordable lifestyles in other countries where food, housing, health insurance, transportation, education, and taxes are less expensive.

Real estate platform Redfin revealed that in 2022, only 21% of homes on the market were affordable for a typical US household. Moreover, a recent GoBankingRates Survey found a significant increase in utility expenses for ¾ of Americans.

Unaffordable Health Care

The United States has a complex and expensive healthcare system that many find inaccessible or insufficient.

In contrast, other countries may offer universal healthcare or more affordable private healthcare options. Some have slashed their healthcare costs by 70-90% by moving abroad!

For more on this topic, check out this article: Medical Tourism: Escape The USA Healthcare Scam!

Low Quality of Life

When basic necessities like food, housing, and healthcare are unaffordable, it can lead to a very low quality of life.

The poor work-life balance in the United States contributes to this problem, with many people working long hours and having limited vacation time.

In contrast, other countries may prioritize work-life balance, offering more flexible schedules or longer vacation periods.

 

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Adventure and Exploration

Amelia And JP Peguche Waterfalls EcuadorSome people are drawn to leave the United States due to a desire to explore new cultures and places.

A sense of adventure or a yearning to experience new things and expand their horizons beyond the US motivates these globetrotters.

Escape Mother Nature

With more devastating hurricanes, year-long tornado and fire seasons, atmospheric rivers causing massive floods, brutal winters, and hotter and drier summers, the changing climate is significantly impacting the United States.

Other countries may be less affected by these climate changes, making them more attractive destinations.

Social Injustice

Social justice issues like racial inequality and discrimination have been at the forefront of public discourse in the United States. Some individuals feel that other countries are more advanced in addressing these issues, leading them to seek new environments where they feel more welcome and supported.

Political Climate

In recent years, political polarization and social unrest have intensified in the United States. This has led some people to feel disillusioned with the current state of politics and seek out more stable or functional governments in other parts of the world.

Final Thoughts

The world has become more accessible thanks to online work, and retirement dollars stretch further in places with a lower cost of living.

The US passport is a powerful tool, making it easy for many Americans to leave and explore other countries. With many nations allowing US citizens to visit for 90 days without a visa, and various residency visas to choose from, leaving the United States has become a viable option.

Unfortunately, home ownership, education, and a better life for their children are no longer available to many Americans. That’s why, for them, the new American Dream is to leave.

Watch Our Video About The NEW American Dream

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Why Does The United States Cost so Freaking Much?!

The cost of living in the United States is OUT OF CONTROL! Many of the things we need to live have become unaffordable for the vast majority of people. Things like food, healthcare, transportation and elder care are being charged on credit cards and driving people further into debt. It’s INSANITY!

When speaking with a family member recently, I was shocked to hear about the massive increases in food and utility bills, which are particularly challenging for those on fixed incomes.

You might not realize that the cost of living is NOT sky-high everywhere. In many countries, you can still afford to buy the things you need without breaking the bank.

So today, let’s discuss 10 essential items that most people in the United States can’t afford, but can’t live without.

Insurance

Insurance US Cost of Living

Insurance is a must-have, but it doesn’t come cheap in the US. This includes life, home, and auto insurance. To make matters worse, if you make a claim, your rates may increase or your coverage could be canceled altogether.

And let’s not forget about health insurance – many people feel trapped in jobs they hate or delay retirement just to maintain coverage.

We actually had to leave the US because we couldn’t afford health insurance. Even the marketplace plan was going to cost $1,200/month, which was WAY out of our budget!

Tipping

Tipping has become the norm in the US, with a 20-30% tip expected for various services. It used to just apply to restaurants where you were served at the table, but now everyone is asking for tips! Even vendors at concerts!

In many other countries, tipping isn’t as widespread, and you aren’t guilted into it. For example, in Ecuador, tipping is not the custom and most Ecuadorians don’t tip at all.

If you decide to leave a tip, 10% or $1/person is acceptable and actually appreciated.

Education

Student debt is a massive burden for countless Americans. In some cases, it’s actually cheaper to move to another country and attend a private university than to go to a public one in your hometown. Shockingly, most other countries offer tuition-free public universities!

When we left the US and moved to Ecuador, we had over $60,000 in total debt, including $43,000 in student loan debt.

Within 3 years of living in Ecuador and thanks to a much lower cost of living, we were able to pay off all that debt! Had we stayed in the US, we would probably be in MORE debt rather than OUT OF debt!

Public Transportation

Public Transportation US Cost of LivingUnless you live in a major city like New York or Chicago, public transportation in the US is often lacking.

In comparison, public transportation in other countries is much more affordable due to widespread use and regulated pricing.

When we lived in Denver, it was cheaper and FASTER to drive downtown from the suburbs and pay for parking than it was to take the RTD Light Rail system.

And Uber rides are 3 to 4 times higher than we pay for similar distances in Ecuador and the other Latin American countries we visit.

Elder Care

Elder care is exorbitantly expensive in the US, often draining the finances of not only the elderly but also their children and grandchildren.

In other countries, such as Ecuador, Mexico, and Colombia, assisted living facilities are significantly more affordable, and in-home care is a viable option as well.

We spoke to a former in-home nurse who said the going rate in Ecuador for full-time in-home care with a registered nurse is around $500/month. You can hire 24/7 in-home care for less than $2,000/month and they’ll also help with cleaning, shopping and cooking.

There are also elder care facilities available for a fraction of the cost that you’ll pay in the US, and they’re super nice, especially in Mexico.

If you don’t want to be forced into destitution in retirement so Medicaid will cover your long-term elder care, or you don’t want to be a financial burden on your kids or grandkids, consider moving abroad BEFORE you need the care so you can find the right place and the best options that fit your budget.

 

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Utilities

In many countries, affordable internet, mobile plans, and utilities are available. Living closer to the equator or in the mountains can also help you save on heating and cooling costs, since you may not need as much temperature regulation.

We’ve lived in the mountains of Ecuador for nearly 4 years without air conditioning, and only use small space heaters on occasion. Our eclectic bill runs around $20/month, which has saved us thousands of dollars in utilities since we moved here.

Even when we lived on the coast and used air conditioning at night, our electric bill only ran about $60/month.

We pay $45/month for high-speed Internet (fiber to the router) and get 150Mb upload and download speeds with Netlife.

Our water bill is a few dollars per month. It’s not even a factor in our budget.

Housing

Housing US Cost of LivingThe US housing market is still largely unaffordable for many, with skyrocketing rents, property taxes, and home insurance costs.

In countries like Ecuador, rent is about a third of the cost of similar places in the US, and the overall cost of living for two people can be as low as $2,000 per month.

We spent $1,500/month during our first year in Ecuador. Since then, it has ranged between $1,800 to $3,000/month mostly due to higher rents in nicer places.

On average, rents in Ecuador are about ⅓ compared to similar places in the US.

Fuel

Let’s face it – the cost of gas and diesel is a significant factor contributing to inflation in the US (even though it’s excluded from the official Consumer Price Index). The cost of fuel drives the cost of product creation and delivery, which drive the price charged to consumers.

Plus, high fuel prices make it challenging for people to fill up their tanks, making everyday life more expensive. And the US was built around personal rather than public transportation so many people don’t have the option to avoid fuel costs.

In countries like Ecuador, the cost of fuel is regulated, with unleaded gas at $2.4/gallon and diesel at $1.75/gallon (that’s not per liter – per GALLON).

When the government tried to raise fuel prices, protestors shut down the country until the prices were lowered. The Ecuadorians don’t take any sh*t off their government. If they don’t like something, they protest enmasse and the government listens.

Car ownership is also less common and less necessary in other parts of the world, as public transportation is more affordable and accessible.

We were spending $1,200/month on car loans, maintenance, insurance, tags, taxes and fuel when we lived in Denver.

Now, we spend about $25/month on transportation because we walk most places. That means we’ve saved nearly $80,000 in 5 and a half years of living in Ecuador on cars!

Food

USA Cost of LivingFood is essential for survival, so why is it so freaking expensive in the US?

When we lived in Denver, we spent $800/month on groceries and that was 6 years ago so it would probably be closer to $1,200/month now with inflation.

Our average food budget in Ecuador is $350/month, and that’s for mostly organic produce that we get from local farmers.

Fresh food is available year-round in many countries outside the US, meaning it’s not picked green, sprayed with chemicals, and shipped halfway around the world. Our food is picked within a couple days of us eating it, and it tastes fantastic for a fraction of the cost!

Lower food costs allow us to enjoy a higher quality of life and put our hard-earned money towards other things, like saving for retirement and travel.

Healthcare

Healthcare US Cost of LivingThe main reason we left the US was because we couldn’t afford the exorbitant cost of health care.

Following my two spinal surgeries to fix a genetic condition, we couldn’t afford health insurance or healthcare anymore.

We had two choices: 1) Stay in the US and hope I never need healthcare again so we don’t go bankrupt, or 2) Leave and move to a country with affordable, high quality health care.

We chose option two and left. It was the best decision we could have made for reasons far beyond health care.

The United States has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but the quality of care is just average. This is a fact the US hides quiet well and goes to great lengths to maintain the myth that it has the best healthcare in the world.

In contrast, nearly every other country offers more affordable private healthcare options and free public healthcare services.

Private medical procedures in other countries can cost 40-90% less than in the US. For example, in Ecuador, the cost is 70-90% lower, and the quality is rated higher by CEO World Magazine.

Medications are also more affordable and can often be purchased without the hassle of dealing with insurance bureaucracy.

Many retirees from the US living in Ecuador have found that buying prescriptions with cash and without insurance is less expensive than the cost of Medicare prescription plans, copays, and non-covered expenses in the US.

The affordability of healthcare outside the US has led to the growing popularity of medical and dental tourism among US citizens, and for good reason. There’s absolutely no good reason to go bankrupt to pay for health care like hundreds of thousands of Americans do each year.

Check out this detailed post about our healthcare experience in Ecuador, including quality and costs.

Conclusion

No one should have to go into debt to afford food, healthcare, and the other basic necessities of life.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet in the United States, consider following in the footsteps of millions of others who have chosen to leave and explore a more affordable life elsewhere.

There are many countries around the world where you can enjoy a higher quality of life without breaking the bank.

If you’re thinking about moving to Ecuador, check out our Ecuador Relocation eCourse. It covers every step of the process so you don’t miss anything important along the way.

Watch Our Video About the Outrageous Costs in the United States

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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We Believed The Propaganda About Latin America!

If you’re considering a move to Latin America, it’s normal to have fears and concerns about making such a dramatic change.

When we first considered moving abroad, we had a lot of fears about the safety, healthcare, infrastructure, language barriers, and other challenges that come with living in a new country.

In particular, Latin America seemed dangerous and underdeveloped compared to our home in the United States.

However, after doing a lot of research, and after living in Ecuador for more than five years, we realized that our fears were largely unfounded or exaggerated.

In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 fears we had about moving to Latin America, and how they turned out in reality.

Crime

First on our list was the fear of crime. We had heard a lot of horror stories about kidnappings, murders, and other violent crimes in Latin America.

However, we soon realized that these stories were often blown out of proportion by the media and that the reality of crime in Latin America was similar to other parts of the world.

While theft is a reality and we’ve been victims of pickpocketing (in Ecuador) and robbery (in Mexico), expats are rarely targeted for kidnapping or murder.

The key is to be aware of your surroundings, take precautions, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or attracting unnecessary attention.

Scams

Our second fear was getting scammed. We had heard stories about all kinds of scams, from fake bus attendants to getting gringoed (aka price gouged).

However, we soon realized that scams can happen anywhere in the world and that common sense and caution can go a long way in avoiding them.

By paying attention, negotiating prices, and keeping our belongings with us at all times, we have been able to avoid most scams.

Parasites

We Believed the Propaganda About Latin AmericaThe third fear we had was about parasites. You may know them by other names, such as Montezuma’s Revenge or Bali Belly, they are gastrointestinal issues that can be caused by drinking or eating contaminated water or food.

However, these concerns are not unique to Latin America. In fact, the US has had several Listeria and E. coli outbreaks over the past several years.

Maybe the US needs a clever name for its gut bombs. Geronimo’s Revenge comes to mind.

With proper precautions, such as drinking bottled or filtered water and washing fruits and vegetables, we have managed to avoid these issues while living in Ecuador.

Might Not Like It

Fourth on our list was the fear of not liking Latin America as a living destination.

Moving abroad is a big commitment, and we were afraid that we might not enjoy our new home, be able to make friends, or adjust to the cultural differences.

While some aspects of living in Latin America have been challenging, such as the culture shock and different ways of doing things than we’re used to, we also found that has a lot of wonderful differences that have expanded our worldview.

It has also been much easier to make friends than we expected. By putting ourselves out there, joining clubs and groups, and exploring our new community, we were able to find a sense of belonging and make lasting connections.

 

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Might Be Lonely

Our fifth fear was being lonely. Moving abroad can be intimidating, and we were afraid that we might feel isolated or cut off from our support system back home.

However, we discovered several ways to connect with other expats and locals in Latin America. By joining Facebook groups, attending language classes or cultural events, and seeking out expat communities, we were able to find a sense of community and support very quickly.

Language Barrier

Amelia Surprised at Mercado 27 de Febrero in Cuenca EcuadorSixth on our list was the language barrier. We were afraid that we might not be able to communicate effectively or find help when we needed it.

While it can be difficult and frustrating at times, learning Spanish has been a valuable and rewarding experience. With the help of translation apps and patient locals, we have been able to navigate most situations and even improve our language skills over time.

Bad Infrastructure

Seventh on our list was the fear of bad infrastructure. We were afraid that we might not have access to reliable internet, electricity, or water, or that finding suitable housing might be difficult.

However, most of the world has reliable internet now, and mobile data is fast and reliable in most places in Latin America. We’ve run several Zoom meetings using the 4G network in Ecuador.

While some areas may have issues with power outages, many of the newer buildings have backup generators that kick on if the power goes out. Two of the buildings we’ve lived in use backup diesel generators.

Access to potable water may vary depending on the region, but in some areas, water delivery services are available. In Cuenca and parts of Loja, Guayaquil and Quito, you can drink the tap water. Some of the nicer, newer condo buildings have reverse osmosis filtration systems. Water has been much less of a concern in Ecuador than it is when we visit Mexico.

Bad Healthcare

Eighth on our list was the fear of bad healthcare. We were convinced that healthcare in the US was the best in the world and were afraid that we might not be able to find quality healthcare in Latin America.

However, many countries in Latin America have excellent healthcare systems, and private insurance can be much cheaper than in the US.

While public healthcare facilities may be lacking in some areas, private healthcare options are so affordable that many people choose to self-insure.

Check out this detailed article about our healthcare experience in Ecuador, including quality and costs.

Might Miss Consumerism

Amazon Boxes DeliveryNinth on our list was the fear of missing consumerism. We were afraid that we might not be able to find the things we needed or that we might miss the convenience of services like Amazon Prime.

However, most things are available in Latin America, although some items may be more expensive than in the US.

In some cases, we even discovered new alternatives that we liked even better than our old favorites.

Getting by with less and simplifying our lives has helped us save money and live more sustainably.

Might Get Homesick

Finally, we were afraid of being homesick. Moving abroad can be a big adjustment, and we were afraid that we might miss our families, friends, and familiar surroundings.

However, homesickness has not been a major issue for us, probably because we didn’t live near our families in the US, and most of our friends were work-related (so, not real friends that stand the test of time).

While homesickness is a real problem for some expats, we found that staying connected with loved ones through technology and exploring our new home and community helped us feel grounded and fulfilled.

Last Thoughts

While moving to Latin America can come with its challenges and uncertainties, most of our fears were unfounded or exaggerated.

By taking precautions, doing our research, and staying open-minded, we were able to adjust to our new home and community and even thrive.

Moving to Latin America was the right decision for us, and we hope that by sharing our experiences, we can help others make informed decisions about their own international moves.

If you’re planning a move to Ecuador, check out our Ecuador Relocation eCourse. It covers every step from A-to-Z so you don’t miss anything important. Read reviews and enroll here…

Watch the Video About Our Misconceptions About Latin America

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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Reverse Culture Shock In The USA: 22 Wild Things That Took Us by Surprise!

They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, and after 5 years of living in Ecuador, we were prepared for a huge dose of nostalgia going back to the United States. However, there were a lot of things about the US that felt really foreign to us!

Here are some of the most shocking (and sometimes hilarious) things that required some readjustment. Number 22 had us laughing out loud!

 1. Extreme Heat

During our time in the US, the temperatures soared to 105F. While not a cultural issue, it was a huge adjustment for us as the weather in Ecuador is reliably temperate. It rarely goes above 75F / 24C, and there isn’t much fluctuation between seasons.

Hanging out all day in the air conditioning with its dry air certainly took getting used to, and we’re thrilled to be back in the cool Ecuadorian climate.

 2. Drug Ads

It was impossible to go a day without seeing an ad for a drug or medication. They are all over the television and on billboards. After three years without these showing up, it was a bit of a shock to hear all the side effects listed off, especially DEATH!

 3. Fancy Highways and Bridges

Driving around in Ecuador, you become accustomed to having two-lane roads. You’ll find a few with four lanes, but nothing like the infrastructure you see in the US. Navigating the huge looping bridges and highways was a big change, but seeing all that architecture and engineering blew us away.

 4. Driving Everywhere

Speaking of highways, we spent a lot of our time in the US driving from one place to another. We’re spoiled in Ecuador with it being so walkable. It would be physically impossible to get things done in the US without a vehicle of some kind.

 5. Rushing Around

When so much of your day is spent in the vehicle, it can be hard to find time to make a meal or slow down. There’s always an energy of “I have somewhere to be,” which isn’t common in Ecuador.

 6. Gas Is Expensive

​​ 6. Gas Is Expensive

In Ecuador, we don’t need a car, so gas prices have been the furthest thing from our minds. Even if we did need fuel though, gas prices are regulated in Ecuador, so they never get too high. That’s not the case in the US. We found ourselves spending three times our monthly transportation budget in just a week, all because of the ridiculous price of gas.

 7. Limited Public Transportation

We see so many buses and taxis on the roads in Ecuador that they feel like part of the scenery. On the off chance that something is too far away to walk, there’s a plethora of public transit options to get you where you need to go.

There was a distinct lack of opportunities for public transit anywhere we went in the US, which took some getting used to.

 8. Food Prices

Walking through a grocery store in the US gave us serious sticker shock. Every single item was exorbitantly expensive, which we expected, but it was worse than we could have imagined. There was also a lot of shrinkflation, meaning that we were spending more for even less food than before.

 9. Everything is Extremely Homogeneous

One of the things we love about Ecuador is the diversity, not only in culture but in stores and architecture. During our time in the US, we started to feel stifled by the aggressive sameness of the houses, malls, restaurants, and stores. Everything was a chain, and we saw the same storefronts and food options again and again.

10. Strip Malls Are Everywhere

The convenience of a one-stop shop can’t be denied. Everywhere we went in the US, we could count on being able to get what we were looking for in one shopping trip. This isn’t possible in Ecuador, as every store will have different things. If you’re in a new place, it can be a bit of a scavenger hunt to find everything you need.

11. Staff Shortages

Since the pandemic, America has been struggling with labor shortages. This is a huge change since the last time we were home, and it was almost eerie to see help-wanted signs in every window. The biggest shock was coming into a store and seeing only one person working in an area that used to have four or five.

12. Empty Shelves

This is another big difference from when we left the US. The transportation crisis and manufacturing shortages have led to empty shelves in many stores, which felt like we were in an apocalypse movie. This has gradually improved over time, but it was a noticeable change when we visited last summer (August 2022).

13. Eating Out

As a side effect of rushing around so much, we found ourselves eating out more often than not. It was nice because there was a huge variety of places to eat; however, we ended up spending a lot of money and gaining some weight.

The prices felt otherworldly: in Ecuador, if we decide to go out for a nice meal, it comes out to only $10-$15 per person. In the US, it was triple that, even for lunch.

14. Tipping Culture

No matter how much or little people interacted with us, they expected a tip. We have grown accustomed to only tipping for service that is above and beyond, but in the US, tipping is used to subsidize low wages, so we felt obligated to give a lot more than we would have otherwise.

15. Flavorless Produce

Fruit and veggies in the US didn’t taste like anything. We were so upset about unripe, low-quality produce because we’d been spoiled for years with rich and diverse fruits and vegetables in Ecuador.

16. Weight Gain

We’ve heard again and again from our friends that everyone gains weight when they return to the States. Between the convenience of snack food, lack of walking, and frequency of eating out, it seems inevitable. Plus, when food doesn’t taste as good as you’re used to, you’re bound to eat more because you aren’t satisfied.

17. Automated Everything

From vending machines to entire stores, automation in the US is through the roof. We could get everything by simply tapping our phones. This was great for convenience, but it felt like something out of a sci-fi novel.

18. Credit Cards

Cash barely made an appearance on our trip. Everyone uses a credit card or mobile phones for every purchase, no matter how small.

19. Fast Delivery

Same-day and next-day delivery is not a thing in Ecuador, so the prospect of being able to order something at night and receive it by the following day was mind-boggling. When we left, Amazon Prime shipping would get things to you within two or three days, so this was a huge change.

20. New Technology

The US gets more technologically advanced by the day. We were floored to see charging stations, Teslas, and other electric cars everywhere we went. In grocery stores, there were even digital displays to show you what was in the fridge without needing to open it – though oftentimes, the shelves behind the screen were empty.

21. Sloppy Clothes

Everyone dresses very casually in the States, which was quite a change from the everyday fashion in Ecuador. It’s not uncommon to see Ecuadorians walking around grocery stores in suits or dresses, while Americans will go out in a simple t-shirt and baseball cap.

22. Pubic Hair Commercials

22. Pubic Hair Commercials

By far, the strangest thing we saw during our time in the States was a commercial for grooming your pubic hair from Gillette.

It featured singing and dancing cartoon hair pleading with the viewer to give them the attention that hair on other parts of the body received. As funny as this was, it was certainly a representation of how ridiculous many things in the US have become.

If you think these culture shock moments were funny, you’ll love hearing all our other stories of being immigrants in Ecuador. Check out our content to learn how you can move to a new country and start having your very own reverse culture shock! We’re sure about one thing: we’re thrilled to be back home in Ecuador!

Watch Our Video About Our Reverse Culture Shock in the USA

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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How We Save $1,200/Month by Ditching a Common Expense

We SLASHED more than $1200 from our monthly budget by moving abroad and ditching our cars.

Unfortunately, the United States is built around cars and individual transportation. It’s next to impossible to get around without your own vehicle.

However, in most other countries, cities are designed to be walkable and bikeable, while public transportation is very efficient, affordable and widespread.

We’ve lived in Ecuador for 5 years and still don’t own a car. We don’t miss it and don’t plan to buy one.

We walk most places, which helped us lose weight after we left the US, and it continues to help us stay in better shape.

After just 3 weeks in the US, we’ve both gained 5 pounds from not walking and eating out more because we spend too much time in the car and don’t have time to cook.

In Ecuador, when we can’t walk, we use public transportation, call a cab or hire a private driver.

We just don’t need a car in Ecuador, and the personal and financial benefits are tremendous!

If you would an introduction to our private drivers, tell us more here (it’s a free service).

Are you planning a move to Ecuador? We created the Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse to make your move abroad as easy and painless as possible. It has 63 videos with tons of written content that will walk you through every step from A-to-Z. We even have a downloadable move abroad checklist and a city comparison matrix that will help you choose the perfect location based on what’s important to you. Read what our past students had to say and sign-up here.

Watch Our Video About How We Save $1,200/Month

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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