Short Hours, Good Pay, and a Place in the Sun

My fiancé and I headed out for a double date with friends in the States recently. We were visiting Florida, and our friends wanted to get our opinion on the authenticity of a new Peruvian restaurant. It was very good and very close to the real thing…right up until the check arrived!

Our half of the evening came to $70—but in Cuenca, Ecuador, our home overseas, a similar meal would have been less than $50…for all four of us.

The $15 ceviche would have been $3 or $4, and our $10 glasses of wine would have turned into whole bottles for the same price. “Let’s get back to Cuenca as soon as possible,” my fiancé joked—but I completely agree.

It’s not just the ability to afford a great night out that keeps me calling Cuenca home. In the nearly four years I’ve been there, I’ve made amazing friends, settled into a fantastic apartment with skyline views of the historic downtown, and gotten used to not needing a winter wardrobe.

The pace of life is also more to my liking. It’s laid-back and easy-going, without the anxiety and tension I see on my visits back to the U.S. Yes, it can be frustrating if you’re trying to get something done in a hurry, but the relaxed culture helps keep things in perspective—is it really so important that you send that email this second?

Still, my friends and family back home are a bit mystified I’ve stayed so long. They want to know when I’ll be moving back home…but the truth is, Cuenca is as much my home as any other corner of the globe.

Plus, it’s not as though I need to go back to the States to get a better job—the job I have now lets me go anywhere in world. I’m a copywriter, helping businesses build strong relationships with their customers and bring new products to the market.

It’s fun, portable work that gives me the same kind of income I had when I worked in HR at Bank of America—and I can make that money without dealing with nightmare bosses or dry-clean only suits. I work at home, in comfortable clothes, and set my own hours. Plus, if my fiancé and I ever get tired of living in Cuenca, I can take my work with me to our next destination.

Where will that be? Who knows…but as long as the ceviche is affordable and my Internet connection works, I’ll be in business.

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