Turning Crisis into Opportunity—in Peru

Sometimes a dying business leads to a new life. It did for Tom Boylan from Denver. “Now I have this incredible sense of freedom that I can do what I want, go where I want and enjoy life how I choose,” he says. “There is a sense of new horizons to my life I did not have before.”

In 2011, he was faced with the challenges that accompany an economic decline.

“I had been a financial auditor for many years but was tired and bored,” explains Tom. “I wanted a new start and did not see a lot of opportunities in the U.S. for a 62-year-old guy with a dying consulting business.

“I had traveled extensively through Europe, South and Central America and Asia,” he says. “I began to think about where I might go that I would enjoy….and also find work in the travel business.”

Tom’s research led him to Cusco in Peru where he felt he could find opportunities in the travel industry. Initially he volunteered at an alternative school in Cusco to keep busy and learn a bit about how the town’s culture functioned.

“Then I found a very nice job working for an upscale tour company as a travel specialist providing unique trekking services in Cusco…and other extension trips around the country,” he says. “Now I am on the first step toward a new career in travel!”

Cusco is a fascinating blend of history and modern culture. Spanish Colonial buildings are built on top of the remaining walls of ancient Inca structures.

The Andean indigenous culture of the area is evident…with men and women strolling the cobblestone streets in traditional clothing—alpacas in tow.

After dark the city pulses to the beat of a vibrant nightlife shared by locals and an ever growing number of tourists.

Life is good for Tom these days.

“For the first time in my adult life I do not own a car or even a bike,” he says. “Consequently I walk everywhere which has led to a 20-pound weight loss!”

He also enjoys not paying car insurance and gas.

Tom finds the cost of living to be quite reasonable in Cusco. “I pay $450 per month for rent on a two-bedroom, one-office apartment which offers a remarkable view of the city from the kitchen windows,” he says.

“I like to go to a restaurant in my neighborhood that has a set menu of an appetizer or soup, main course—like Alpaca with rosemary sauce—and a Pisco Sour or glass of wine for around $6.”

One of Tom’s favorite day trips is Quillabamba, a small pretty town on the edge of the jungle. “A large pool with a viewing grandstand sits by the local river and surrounding park. For a few dollars I can swim all day and gaze at the surrounding verdant mountains!”

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