Trading an Office Drone Life for Laidback Living in Ecuador

All that was missing was the pointy hair…

My new boss seemed to have been lifted straight from a Dilbert comic strip.

She had a vision for our team…but it didn’t make any sense. Her conflicting priorities and sudden inspirations for projects had everyone stressed out and working late.

I was unhappy. Still, friends and family encouraged me to tough it out. Corporate jobs were “good” jobs, after all.

But a good job wasn’t good enough for me…not when I could see my daily grind mocked in the Sunday funnies. I didn’t want to go slowly insane in a cubicle farm. I wanted to travel, see the world, and enjoy my life.

And I was willing to try anything to make my dream a reality.

The first time I heard I could write from anywhere in the world and make a great living, I didn’t believe it was real, or that it would work for me.
I had a background in teaching and corporate HR. There were no writers in my social circle, either. Everyone I knew was a lawyer, accountant, dentist…becoming a copywriter was something totally out of left field.

Then again, listening to my boss outline her new plan to “re-org” our department for the fifth time that year, I decided that being a copywriter wasn’t that crazy of an idea.

If it didn’t work out, I could always stick with a corporate job. But if it did work out, I’d be free. And I very much wanted my freedom.

To make a long story short, these days, I have all the freedom I want. I write three to four hours a day, mostly in the mornings. My clients give me work I love, and I travel whenever I want. On top of it all, I make more now than I ever did in my “good” corporate job.

As soon as I started receiving pay checks for my new role I started reading travel magazines and back issues of International Living with the intention of finding a new home abroad. Somewhere my Midwestern family would consider exotic…somewhere my foodie friends would call fun…and somewhere with WiFi of course—so that my new writing career could support me.

I booked more writing projects, building my confidence. And when my office job ended in the midst of a truly Dilbert-inspired corporate crisis, I didn’t replace it with another nine-to-five.
Instead, I took long test trips, spending time in Belgium, Scotland, Spain, and Argentina. As I traveled, I wrote, turning in projects from twee little coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and WiFi enabled planes.

My clients at the time were equally exotic. I blogged about cars and food for a German man living in Brazil, wrote product descriptions for a UK jewelry store, and did marketing brochures for an HR training company in Singapore.

I know my family kept expecting that at any moment I would come to my senses and go back to a “real” job. But, as the deposits piled up in my bank account, I knew I would never have to deal with another Dilbert-style manager.

I’d made my escape. And, just over a year after I became a copywriter full-time, I packed my bags and moved to Ecuador, where I spent the next five years as a very happy (and free) expat writer.

Could you do the same? There’s just one way to find out…

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