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How I’ve Become A Better Person By Living In Another Country

How I’ve Become A Better Person By Living In Another Country

A little over a year ago, my wife and I sold the bulk of our worldly possessions and moved to a small town in the mountainous South American country of Ecuador. In that time, we have learned an enormous amount about who we are and what it is that’s really important in life. In short, we have become… better.

Who We Were And What We Have Become

As a  married couple from the northeastern United States, last year we were the owners of an unexpectedly headache-inducing laundromat in the city of Providence, Rhode island. We struggled, we spun our wheels, we were stressed and consumed with making ends meet while trying to carve out some periods of actual, purposeful and deliberate living.

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    On something of a whim, we got rid of everything that was tying us down to our geographic area and moved to the predominantly indigenous small city of Otavalo, Ecuador. We now work less than 30 hours a week… total, between the two of us. We earn about triple our monthly expenses, allowing us to put more money into savings than we ever could in the US, where we were working significantly more.

    We live in a place with perpetual spring weather, a view of three different volcanoes, a unique culture, and a variety of outdoor activities. We have copious amounts of free time to pursue our hobbies, pet projects, and unfinished novels. We live slowly. We focus on our health and personal development. We have the perfect home base for further travel. In short, we found wealth while living abroad.

     An Expanded Worldview

    Spending any amount of time living in and among a vastly different culture yields some enlightening benefits. In Ecuador, where the minimum wage is just over $300 a month, we see people lead rich and satisfying lives while dealing with a level of poverty rarely seen in the United States, which has helped us to break free from the habit of equating our happiness to our bank balance.

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      Our small mountain city is mostly inhabited by the Quichua, an indigenous group with their own very distinct culture. We have the opportunity observe their customs and interact with them in a way that has helped us to be more open minded and understanding of other cultures in general. We see, on a near daily basis, these beautiful people treat us kindly and accept us into their community, making us always aware of opportunities to imitate their warm-hearted nature.

      Happy and Healthy

      Being on the equator, we have year-round access to unbelievable fresh produce. In addition to what we have back in the US, Ecuador also grows a number of unique fruits and vegetables that we have enjoyed experimenting with, including tree tomatoes which taste like a cross between a tomato and a citrus fruit and chochos which are a legume commonly soaked in citrus and served cold as a ceviche.

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        Eating a diet of predominantly fresh produce and minimally processed foods has yielded a noticeable improvement in our health and energy level, which is good, because we are extremely active here.

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        My wife and I opted not to purchase a vehicle in Ecuador, so we, like most natives, walk enormous distances to get around. According to our footstep counters, on active days, it is quite easy for us to walk upwards of 8 miles. Keeping our activity level high, especially in our high altitude environment (8,000 feet above sea level) has helped us to stay relatively fit and unbelievably happy.

         

        Overall, traveling and living abroad was one of, if not the best decision that we have ever made as a couple. It has made us more well rounded and happy people while helping to disconnect us from the work to live mind set that is all too common in the more developed nations. Let us know how traveling has made you a better person in the comments.

         

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        Last Updated on October 5, 2020

        How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

        How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

        We are given life with many opportunities to make it everything we want it to be and more. If you find that you’ve slipped into living a boring life, it’s time to take a hard look at what you’ve been doing and what you can start doing now to make it more interesting.

        Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list can definitely make any day or life more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

        Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaningful) one!

        1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

        Imagine being a young child. Life was never boring, was it? That’s because children harness every ounce of creativity they have in order to try new things.

        What would your 7-year-old self want to do in this moment? Maybe they’d pick up a paintbrush and try to paint the landscape around them. May they would go outside and build something with random materials around the yard. Maybe they would raid the fridge and put together a dish they’ve never seen before.

        Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play and use your creativity to its fullest.

        2. Go Play With Kids

        Speaking of little kids, if you have your own (or a niece or nephew), go play with them!

        Kids are absolutely hilarious, so it’s simply impossible to be bored when you’re around them. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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        3. Play Cell Phone Roulette

        You’ll need at least one buddy for this, but this is a great way to avoid a boring life. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one, and (if it feels right) call the person.

        You could spark an incredible catch-up session or, at the very least, remind someone that you’re thinking of them. Neither are boring.

        4. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

        This is a great part of a gratitude practice. We often forget to thank the people who do things for us, especially if we have come to expect those things. For example, have you ever thought about thanking your mom for that weekly phone call? Or thanking your sister for always sending you a homemade gift on your birthday?

        Take time to think of at least 5 people you would like to say thank you to and write out a card. You could even write them out for random people in your neighborhood, like the local librarian, a teacher at your child’s school, or the accountant at your bank.

        Anyone and everyone appreciates being thanked for their efforts.

        5. Sign up for a Class

        Nowadays, there are classes for everything. To make it as interesting as possible, try finding one that you wouldn’t normally consider doing, like salsa lessons, improv, or boxing.

        Otherwise, try to find a course on something you’ve always wanted to learn, like pottery, photography, or a foreign language course.

        What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people, which will add even more interest to your life!

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        6. Talk to Your Grandparents About Their Lives

        We often underestimate how interesting the elderly are. You can rest assured that any elderly person you talk to will not have had a boring life! Take some time to talk to them and hear their interesting stories. You may even find that this motivates you to go out and find your own interesting experiences.

        7. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

        Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage. If you’re not into comedy, find an open mic that focuses on reading poetry or short stories and bring your own. These groups tend to be incredibly supportive for anyone who is willing to be brave enough to get up and try.

        8. Do Something for Someone Else

        Showing kindness automatically makes you feel good, but doing these small acts will also help to ensure that you don’t have a boring life. Try doing one or two things each week that are outside your normal routine.

        For example, you could make a batch of cookies for the mailperson or help your elderly neighbor organize one of their rooms. There are a million ways to show kindness to those around you. Tap into your creativity and find your own or use some of the ideas from the image below[1].

        Do random acts of kindness to avoid living a boring life.

          9. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

          If you have your own place, there is always a project that needs to get done. Many people simply pay for someone else to do it in order to avoid the hassle, but taking on a DIY project can make a boring life much more interesting.

          It doesn’t have to be super complicated. Maybe you repaint an old vase or build a spice shelf out of used pallets.

          If you need ideas, you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

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          10. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

          This will give you something to look forward to. One study actually found that most travelers are happiest before a vacation[2]. Therefore, simply planning a trip will boost your mood, even if you can’t actually take the vacation right now.

          Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is also fun and relaxing!

          11. Go People Watching

          Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops, and train stations are great for this!) and just observe[3].

          People are infinitely interesting. Try to imagine what their lives are like, what they’re thinking, or where they’re going. You’ll never know if you’re right, but it will give you something to focus on and also help you practice empathy.

          12. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

          You can try that new Moroccan restaurant down the street and pick the most interesting dish on the menu. Or, you can raid your own fridge and throw together a dish you’ve never made before.

          If you’re up for a trip to the grocery store, try picking up a new fruit or veggie from the produce section. You may find a new food that you love!

          13. Dance

          You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

          If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public or join a flash mob.

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          14. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

          Reading a good book can keep you occupied for hours. It will also transport you to a life that isn’t your own, and one that likely will be the opposite of a boring life. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn from those pages.

          Pick on of these inspirational books to start reading: 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

          15. Spend Some Time With People You Care About

          Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or bring a coffee over to your parent’s place and catch up. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll avoid boredom.

          16. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to

          Some people are bored by museums, so if that’s you, skip to the next one. However, if you love art, history, or culture, this one is for you!

          17. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

          This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

          Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then, start taking your first step to make it happen.

          Now, go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

          More on How to Quit a Boring Life

          Featured photo credit: Alex Alvarez via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] FECAVA: Random Acts of Kindness
          [2] Applied Research in Quality of Life: Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday
          [3] Psychology Today: The Expert’s Guide to People Watching

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