This is part of our Ecuador Expats Series.
Ecuador Expat Profile: Susan Schenck Living in Cuenca
The Expat: Susan Schenck
Name: Susan Schenck
Where are your currently living?
I’ve lived in Cuenca, Ecuador for 3.5 years now.
What’s Your Story?
I have lived mostly in the USA, but also in Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and a little bit in Malaysia.
Why did you move to Cuenca, Ecuador?
I wanted to retire and get out of the rat race. I knew I could never, ever have enough to retire in the US.
So I did research online and found Ecuador to be the best, and Cuenca was the best city here. I even wrote a book on this: Expats in Cuenca, Ecuador: The Magic & the Madness. I discuss the 8 C’s of Cuenca that make it a great place to live:
- cost of living
- calmness (safe)
- community (5000 expats here)
- Cuencanos (the people here are very nice)
Most important to me are the cost of living – I can live here on a pension of $1400 as comfortably as though I made about $4000 in the USA.
Also the climate: it’s perfect. I never use a fan, air conditioner, or heater. Never! This place has better weather than San Diego in Southern California.
How’s your Spanish?
I studied Spanish four years in high school and five at the university level, so my grammar and vocabulary are pretty good. I also lived in Mexico two years, which gave me the fluency.
I think it’s pretty important to learn at least basic Spanish. Otherwise you miss out on so much. But I know a lot of expats who don’t and manage somehow to get by.
How Do You Make a Living?
I get a pension every month from teaching. I also supplement that by writing books and marketing them.
Before coming here I wrote The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet and also Beyond Broccoli Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work, two nutrition books.
Since then I’ve written three travel books: Expats in Cuenca, Ecuador: The Magic & the Madness; Healing a Midlife Crisis on El Camino de Santiago; and just this month, The Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador’s Hidden Treasure (read the full review).
In addition, I teach weekly raw gourmet food classes, do weight loss and health coaching, and also biannual workshops on self-publishing and book marketing.
You can contact me at LiveFoodFactor@yahoo.com if interested in any of these services.
How do you spend your time in Ecuador?
Besides my work of writing and teaching (which I consider “play,” not “work”), I enjoy dancing. We expats are mostly too old to go to the local late night dancing places, but some of us do make exceptions as with Rubber Biscuit (a very danceable band). Or we go to expat events which entail dancing from 7 to 10 PM.
I also love to hike and have done so in Baños de Ambato, the Quilotoa region, Vilcabamba, and many places that you can get to in a day from here.
Furthermore there is a very active expat group here, so I have plenty of parties and lunch dates.
I also love having time to do yoga, read, and walk throughout the city. This is a very walkable city – very lovely – and I usually walk one or two hours a day.
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you have a question/comment for Susan? Share it in the comments below…