Eventually, we decided to embark on a journey that many dream of, but most never do: we moved to another country. Our city of choice was Cuenca, Ecuador, a modern South American city with old-world charm nestled high in the Andes.
Ecuador is on the dollar, so that makes it easier for us financially. We don’t have to convert things in our heads and our US-earned dollars go a lot further here.
Ecuador also grows the vast majority of its own food so our environmental footprint is much smaller, and they don’t allow GMO’s so there’s no Roundup floating on the breeze or coating our foods.
They also have a top-notch universal healthcare system, something the high and mighty United States hasn’t been able to figure out. My spine requires ongoing maintenance and we simply couldn’t afford the cost of it back in the states, effectively making us medical refugees.
Here in Cuenca, I have a team of doctors and a physical therapist who all work together to make sure I stay healthy. They actually TALK to each other on the phone about my status and progress! I know it sounds crazy that doctors would work together to help a patient, but they do!
My healthcare costs, including doctors visits, physical therapy and prescription drugs, are about 1/10th of the cost they were in the states. And I’m receiving a higher quality of care. All of my doctors speak fluent english and most studied either in the states or in Europe. They have the same tools as doctors in the states, and more options for drugs.
There is an over-the-counter medication here (Núcleo) that helps stimulate nerve growth and repairs the protective sheath around nerves. It’s available in most countries, but not the US. And it actually works! I’ve regained much of the lost feeling in my lower extremities, and the neuropathy in my hands and feet caused by nerve damage in my neck has significantly diminished.
We love our life here in Cuenca. It’s far more “tranquilo” than it was back in the states. That’s a common word used in the Spanish language here: tranquilo. We hear it often and we see it in the slower pace of life.
We’ve made some great gringo and Cuencano friends, and many are vegan. We’ve even been participating in the local Anonymous for the Voiceless Cubes of Truth street activism. Yet another thing Amelia and I never thought we would be doing.
Cuenca has several vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants. We share lots of photos of our cooking and dining experiences on our LottaVeg Instagram profile if you’d like to follow our daily lives to learn more about Cuenca and other parts of Ecuador. We also post videos every week on our Vegans Abroad YouTube so please subscribe there if you’re a YouTube aficionado.
If you’re thinking about an exodus from the crazy, expensive, thankless, high-stress, superficial life that’s not normal and downright unhealthy, Ecuador might be a good alternative for you. If you have any questions about moving here or life here, please let us know. We’ll be happy to help answer your questions.