Lifestyle Design? Yes, It Can Be Done

Posted in: Everything Expat, Expats in Ecuador, Living in Ecuador, Our Perspective

Lifestyle Design is what happens when you decide what you want your life to be, and then make it happen. You design your own lifestyle; instead of letting your current set of circumstances dictate what your lifestyle has to be.

It Just Can’t Be DoneFootprints in the Sand

You might be thinking, that’s crazy, it’s not that easy, you can’t just “presto-chango” change your life around. And you would be partly right, it’s not all that easy, but it can be done.

Many of us get caught up in the rat race. And because we’ve been in the same rut for so long, things seem impossible to change, especially in any major way.

We felt like that too, but with planning and hard work we’ve redesigned our life and are much happier because of it.

Normally people think that moving abroad and having more time for each other must wait until after they are in their 50’s and retired.  That is not necessarily true; we made it happen in our early 30s.

Hidden Wealth

Many have significant money tied up in homes, cars, boats, cabins, jewellery, antique furniture etc.  Could they sell off that stuff, liquidate the money, invest it and live off the interest? Or could they look into employment online, making themselves mobile?

We did a little of both. By liquidating our assets, we financed our move and now we only work part time (online) because the cost of living here is so much less than it was back in Canada.

Another Idea

Another idea would be to dip into some savings (why wait till the kids are grown and moved out?) and rent out your house. You could use the rent to make your mortgage payments while you’re away. Or if you own your house, bonus! The rent from your house would pay a large portion of what you would need in a less expensive economy.

Even if you can only make it work for a year, just think of the enriching experiences you could share with your family.  If you can’t sustain it for longer you can always move back and start over, avoiding some of the first-timer mistakes. You could take that year and write that book that has been bouncing around in your brain. Or think of it as a real hands on language course.  Exposing your kids to another culture, even if it’s just for a year is a gift that will grow in ways you probably can’t even imagine.

We have decided that if we ever move back to Canada we will rent, not own, and we will not accumulate so many belongings. Just these two changes would mean our lives would be much more mobile for future relocation, because you just never know. . .

Your Turn

Why wait until you’re in your retirement years if you don’t have to? Why not see how you could juggle things around and start enjoying your new life now?

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Meet the Author

Since moving to Ecuador in 2009, Dena and Bryan have made their living as bloggers. Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a content marketing company for Canadian travel brands. She is a contributor to Bryan Haines and is co-founder of Click Like This - a photo tutorial blog.

5 comments… add one
  • Lindsay Hartfiel Oct 26, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Lifestyle design…that’s what we all should be striving for! I think it’s true that most of us (especially in North America) hold off living the life that we really want until we’re retired. Unfortunately that means we spend a whole lot of years not really happy with our situation. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lisa Nov 7, 2010, 8:17 pm

    Dena, I agree 100% w/your comments about Lifestyle design. It's like you took my thoughts and wrote them……..except the part about your reality. 🙂 Some people worry to much about what ifs! Hold us back. Anyway, keep writing.

    Lisa

  • Elizabeth Oct 25, 2010, 10:16 pm

    Hi, Dena,

    While we are a little bit older than you guys (35-40), my husband and I are working on a new lifestyle design so this blog entry rings very true.

    I'm curious about whether you are able to fund your expenses from your part time internet work or are you using savings as well?

    We took a bath in the recent real estate market and are paying down credit card debt (It's been a rough few years!), but don't want to let that keep us from moving so we are trying to figure what sources of income we can cultivate to cover our expenses while in Cuenca.

    I'm also looking at teaching English to supplement income while we're there. My husband is a chef so we're looking for his niche too.

    I'm determined to make this happen so any help and guidance would be much appreciated.

    Thank you and I'm really enjoying your site!

    Elizabeth

    • Dena Haines Oct 26, 2010, 9:21 am

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I think it's awesome that you are not giving up on your plans, a lot of people have taken a hit to their finances in the past year or so. We got far less for our home than we were anticipating because of the market at the time of sale. But we don't regret the decisions we made.

      Our work online does cover our expenses.

      With the skills that you and your husband have, I don't think you'll have any problem making a go of it here. We have friends that opened a cafe, and by the looks of it are doing really well. Their place is buzzing whenever we're there. They also have rooms above the cafe that they rent out. I'll be doing a blog about their cafe when we get back from vacation, I'll include contact info for you.

      I think there's plenty of room for more cafes/restaurants catering to the expat/vacationing crowd. And the same goes for English courses. But you may want to keep in mind that the rate is quite low for English classes, about $5 or $6 per hour.

      Just keep pushing ahead and things will all come together.

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