“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” says Scarlett Braden, “and everything happens just when it’s supposed to in perfect time.” Scarlett who is originally from Memphis, Tennessee came to Cuenca in 2014…and never left.
Before arriving in Ecuador, Scarlett worked as an engineer in product development and innovation. “Now, I get to use my experience to innovate a new life,” she says.
“With an empty nest and recently divorced, I decided it was now or never to have an adventure,” explains Scarlett. Within seven months of arriving—through the encouragement of friends—she started writing. Five months later, she had two books published and now she’s a writer, author’s assistant, and managing an international publishing company from her “digital office.”
“I love that I can do what I do anywhere,” says Scarlett, “from Cuenca or the coast, sitting by the river, in my friend’s sunroom, or in any one of my favorite cafés drinking moccachinos.”
Scarlett believes she would have never started writing in the States—let alone be successful. “There seems to be something magical about Cuenca for creative types,” she explains.
The affordability of Cuenca with its cobblestone streets lined with colonial houses and balconies filled with colorful geraniums add to the inspirational flair of the city. And then there’s the weather—moderate year-round (high 70s F and low 50s F).
“I’m in love with my three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with views out every window of the mountains,” says Scarlett. “I rent from a delightfully charming Ecuadorian landlord for a whopping $350 a month.” Scarlett is within walking distance to the supermarket, river and her best friends. “It’s just like being a kid again,” she adds.
Scarlett admits that she’s not stress free. “Instead of being stressed by the economy, I’m stressed because there are more friends wanting to meet for lunch than there are days in the week.” And she adds, “Instead of worrying about politics, I worry how I’m going to eat $15 worth of produce that I picked up at the market before it spoils.”
“There is certainly no shortage of activities and opportunities to keep learning in this cultural capital of Ecuador,” says Scarlett. “I love getting on a bus and seeing how much is packed into this tiny treasure chest of a country,” she adds. Easy, inexpensive travel makes Ecuador a country full of experiences—from the coast to the sierras.
“I haven’t had a single day of regret,” says Scarlett, “I love every minute of my new life. I have more friends in Cuenca than I’ve had in my whole lifetime in the States.”
Scarlett confesses that she chooses to live her life from a place of gratitude and happiness and she’s found both in Cuenca. “Ecuador is home and probably will be for the rest of my life.”
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