Nearly 10 years ago, I waved goodbye to a corporate career and became a full-time traveling copywriter. Along the way, I've experienced some surprising side effects. If you create your own portable income, chances are you'll experience them too...
All that was missing was the pointy hair... My new boss seemed to have been lifted straight from a Dilbert comic strip. She had a vision for our team...but it didn't make any sense. Her conflicting priorities and sudden inspirations for projects had everyone stressed out and working late.
If you’re in the colonial city of Cuenca, Ecuador on a Wednesday night, pop over to the Inca—Cuenca’s iconic riverfront hamburger joint—and you’ll see me chilling out with my laptop, making a bit of extra money while I wait for the gig to start.
"Are you still working?" is a question I get asked a lot these days. Instead of working a steady 40-hour work-week with just a few weeks' vacation, I'm routinely taking up a third of the year off...while still making a full-time income. I live in Cuenca, Ecuador, where my costs are a fraction of what they would be back home in Nebraska. I can dine out regularly in top-rated restaurants and afford to have a cleaning lady once a week.
Ever since the internet caught on, people have been figuring out how to use a laptop to connect with money-making opportunities all over the world. As a result, there's now between 3.3 million and 8 million completely untethered workers roaming the globe. I'm thrilled to be one of them.
"This is the best thing I ever did—in so many ways," Jim Evans says. He's talking about moving to Ecuador and opening a business. His small shop in the historic downtown district of Cuenca, Ecuador is close to the Concepcion Convent, an institution that traces its roots back to 1599. The rhythm of life surrounding the convent is simple, unhurried, and low-stress—exactly what Jim was looking for when he relocated in December 2009.
The colonial city of Cuenca, Ecuador, draws vacationers from all over the world...and it has a tendency to turn visitors into permanent residents. That's what happened to me four years ago. My three-month visit turned into a six-month stay...Then a year passed and I still hadn't left. Cuenca has become home. I've been to some great places in the world and have loved them—places like Spain, Italy, or even Argentina. So why do I stay in Cuenca when there are so many other great places I could be living? Well, there are three big reasons I keep staying (and staying and staying).
I'd wanted to visit Ecuador for almost 12 years before I finally set foot there. At the time, I didn't realize it was going to be my new home. I thought I was just visiting... But when you've got a portable income, vacations go on forever. Money wasn't an issue and I could easily afford to stay in Ecuador. I picked up a new apartment...a weekly cleaning lady...and lots of new friends. I had both the funds and the flexibility to be as social as I wanted. And I settled into a new kind of life in the colonial city of Cuenca—one that I truly, truly love.
The smell of fresh paint is just one sign things are changing in our Cuenca apartment these days... There's new furniture. New towels, linens, and dishware. From top to bottom, this place is in the middle of getting a post-wedding makeover as I settle into the married life.
My sister was shocked at the $2,000 she'd been quoted. But for a year's worth of monthly housecleaning in Ohio, apparently that's the going rate. While she recovered from her sticker shock, I did a bit of quick math.