It took a global pandemic to prove something to me...something I already knew but for which I now have verifiable proof. And that’s this: Life truly is richer and more affordable overseas. You see, in February of 2020 I was fortunate enough to be whiling away some very pleasant time in both Panama City, Panama and Mexico...
A recent survey reported that a single day in a hospital in the U.S. costs, on average, $1,514 (up to as much as $12,537), while in France it costs $853. An appendectomy in the U.S. costs $8,156 on average (up to as much as $29,426). The same procedure in France costs $4,463.
We first met Laura and Joel (not their real names) a decade ago on the shores of Mexico’s Lake Chapala, where they were vacationing. He was retired and she was happily working as a network television sales executive. He wanted her to quit her job and move to Mexico with him and she was having none of it.
Cynthia Collette moved to Ecuador in 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota with five duffle bags and $700. Her monthly income at that time was just $600 a month.Today, she says, “My base income has gone up a bit...to about $725 a month. In the U.S., there’s no way I know of to live on that amount, even extremely frugally.”
If you're planning a trip to Ecuador, my advice is simple: Bring the biggest suitcase you can find...two if your airline will allow it. Get on the Andean Craft Trail in the Sierra region along the Avenue of the Volcanoes that cuts north to south through Ecuador. It is full of artisan treasures that you won't be able to resist. Cotacachi, the village where I live, has a main street lined with leather shops selling jackets, boots, and shoes as well as beautiful handbags and luggage. You can even have things custom-made in a few days. And everything is so much cheaper than you would pay for it in a high-end store—either in the U.S. or in Ecuador. You'll adore Cotacachi.
I’m often asked what advice I would give to would-be expats as well as to “already are” expats, so I created this “Top 10” list. This really is a favorite subject of mine and I have much advice to give (just ask my husband!), so let’s get started with these 10 “tip of the iceberg” tips: Examine your motives. Make sure you’re contemplating a move overseas for the right reasons. As the saying goes, “Take your luggage but leave your baggage behind.” You might want to escape a bad marriage, debts, or the toxic political and economic environment of home. And that’s okay. But don’t just run from, but to something. Make this about finding adventure and an overall better lifestyle and that’s exactly what you’ll do.