Author: John Cain

One of the things I’ve learned from my world travels and from living outside the USA is that people everywhere, kind of, just want to be happy.  It’s the one thing we all have in common.  There are many things in one’s native country that can make one happy, but living abroad reveals thousands of other things that also can make one happy; things that you never knew existed had you not ventured outside the “fish bowl” of your native land.  

Maybe that’s why I decided to move to Ecuador in 2016.  Although I’m a happy person and a successful person I’d become kind of blasé about my life. It’s as if I’d tasted all the candy in the candy store. I needed to find a new candy store with sweets I had not yet tasted. I wanted a new perspective on life. 

Ecuadorians are the most guileless people I’ve known. They have a simple dignity, much kindness and politeness. It’s a place where strangers passing you on the sidewalk will say “buenos dias.”  The cost of living is about one third of the USA and Ecuador uses the US dollar for their currency, so there’s no currency exchange problems. Ecuador is recently coming out of the “Third World.”  The infrastructure is not nearly as slick and functional as in the USA. But some things are better than in the USA. Like the food supply.  Avocados, pineapples, mangos, papaya, vegetables are fresh, natural and abundant. The meat is all natural. They don’t have the big agro-business model of farming where everything is shot with antibiotics and hormones.  You can drink the tap water. Health care is modern, efficient and cheap.  There is a definite lack of big box, corporate American chain stores.  It’s mostly mom and pop operations, yet there are super markets, ATM machines, cell-phones, internet and most of the goodies of the 21st century.  But, so what?  The reason for leaving the USA is to experience something different from the same old same old

When you actually go for it, leave your native country, you leave a lot behind, but you gain so much more.  The first thing you get is perspective; perspective on your personal life, on your country and on the world.  You see that people in other places on the planet live their daily lives in happiness and with purpose and that the USA is not the “only game in town.” 

A little advice if you decide to become an expat; do your research. Don’t go in blind thinking that because you’re an American you can go somewhere and do whatever you want. Every country has its own laws and regulations for residency and citizenship. You don’t want to be an illegal alien in another country.  Dealing with the bureaucracy of a foreign country, in their language can seem overwhelming and scary, if you look at that way.  But, it can also be an interesting experience and a fun adventure.  A good source of information is the app Visa Adviser. .

John Cain is a professional Jazz Pianist who recently returned to the U.S. after spending three years in Ecuador. For additional information on John, please visit