Living the American Dream… in Ecuador

As a reader of this website, chances are you’ve never been afraid to chase your dreams—to pursue your personal goals regardless of what the naysayers might say… to reach out and grab life with both hands. In fact, freedom of choice is so important that the Founding Fathers guaranteed it in the Declaration of Independence—with “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” a right granted to all.

That belief in freedom is still driving people today—and some have chased the American dream all the way to Ecuador.

—Take Cynthia and Ron Kelley. They didn’t want the identikit big house with the white picket fence. They wanted something unique to them—but they could never have afforded to build such a home in the U.S. In Canoa, Ecuador, however, they were able to construct their ideal beachside home—and surround it with 4 acres of fruit trees.

“Canoa is not like in the U.S., where all the houses look the same,” Cynthia says. “Everybody creates their own dream here. They have an idea about what they want in a house and what they want their lifestyle to be and they create that.”

—Connie Pombo was more surprised than anyone that the American dream led her to Ecuador—especially because she was intent on retiring to Italy! But when she and her husband scouted out Cuenca, they were amazed to discover that the city had everything she had ever wanted.

“It’s not just the outward appearance of Cuenca that reminds us of Italy—the cathedrals and flag-bedecked balconies—it’s the way that Ecuadorians put family first,” she says. “As in Italy, multiple generations live together, almuerzo (the noon meal) is sacred, and Sundays are reserved for family.”

Even those who aren’t blood relatives are treated as family in Ecuador.

“We’ve been adopted by several Cuencano families who’ve included us in trips to the country and Sunday gatherings,” Connie says.

—The joyless monotony of the daily office grind wasn’t what any of us were told was the American dream. But to afford a decent lifestyle, it’s essential for all but the most fortunate of us.

In true pioneer style, though, some people are making their own luck. John Curran and his partner, Sue, are two such people. They completely rejected the 9-5… to buy a house and farm in the tiny, laid-back mountain town of Vilcabamba.

“We don’t owe anybody any money. We don’t owe anybody our time. No boss, no office politics, no commute. When we get up in the morning, the day is ours. We can do whatever we want (even if that’s “nothing”). While we existed, at best, in our previous location, with our lives in the grip of those with little to no interest in our well-being, we live here in Ecuador…”

—Of course for some, the American dream is simpler: it’s all about having the time to spend life doing what you enjoy. That is what Edd Staton and his wife, Cynthia, love most about Ecuador. They retired to Cuenca after being laid off from their jobs in the U.S. But even though their days are not spent rushing to and from a job now, Edd and Cynthia are never bored.

“With the time once devoured by work, commutes, chores, and errands we now pursue hobbies and interests that nourish our minds, bodies and spirits,” Edd says.

“If you’ve always wanted to pursue hobbies that you could never find time for, look no further than Cuenca for support. We have writers’ groups, painting and drawing classes, cooking courses, Spanish schools, music lessons and more…”

These readers have already blazed a trail to living out their American dream in Ecuador. And if you’re ready to reach out and grab that dream for yourself, too, a whole community of expats is waiting to lend a hand in the Ecuador Insider.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Ecuador and other countries in IL’s daily postcard e-letter. Sign up for these free daily postcards here and we’ll send you a FREE REPORT – Ecuador: Live Like Royalty on Your Social Security.

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