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.
How did I find an income that gives me the freedom to travel at will, wherever and whenever I want?
It’s a question I get asked all the time—as though there’s some great big mysterious hoop you have to jump through before you can start living the life of your dreams.
But that’s just not true.
You can start from anytime you want. Success isn’t tied to your geography.
I took a course in copywriting and started earning before I started traveling. I still remember my first project…submitted during a particularly brutal Nebraska winter.
And, oh, how excited I was when it was accepted! With a real check (for the princely sum of $35), I was officially a paid writer.
Enough to quit my day job? Not right then—but that day was coming.
The next two projects I did each paid $50. Still not much…but I was getting the hang of professional writing and building confidence.
With every additional project came more confidence—so much so that when my “real job” ended in 2008, I didn’t replace it.
Instead, I focused on my writing. Within six months I was making over $1,000 a week.
And suddenly, all the things I’d always wanted to do when I was working a traditional 9-to-5…things I didn’t have enough vacation for or enough extra cash to make possible…those things were real possibilities.
Even living overseas.
In fact, living in a place like Ecuador means the money I earn goes even further…costs here are a fraction of those in Nebraska and as I’m working for U.S. clients and earning in dollars, I have way more spending power on top of my new-found flexibility.
It seems crazy that all my fun and luxury in the town of Cuenca in Ecuador—running off to the spa in Baños for the day whenever I want…eating at Conde Nast top-rated restaurants for pennies on the dollar…taking taxis everywhere for $1.50 to $2 a ride—all started with that first little article, written way back in Nebraska while the snow was falling and sleet was freezing my car shut.
Hardly the warmest and most welcoming environment for starting a new career…but then again, for freelance copywriters, geography doesn’t really matter. We can find success anywhere we want—it just starts with that first step!
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