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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 July 18, 2019

        What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

        What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

        Some people just seem to float through life with a relentless sense of happiness – through the toughest of times, they’re unfazed and aloof, stopping to smell the roses and drinking out of a glass half full.

        They may not have much to be happy about, but the simplicity behind that fact itself may make them happy.

        It’s all a matter of perspective, conscious effort and self-awareness. Listed below are a number of reasons why some people are always happy.

        1. They Manage Their Expectations

        They’re not crushed when they don’t get what they want – or misled into expecting to get the most out of every situation. They approach every situation pragmatically, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

        2. They Don’t Set Unrealistic Standards

        Similar to the last point, they don’t live their lives in a constant pursuit towards impossible visions of perfection, only to always find themselves falling short of what they want.

        3. They Don’t Take Anything for Granted

        Happiness rests with feeling fulfilled – those who fail to stop and appreciate what they have every now and again will never experience true fulfillment.

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        4. They’re Not Materialistic

        There are arguing viewpoints on whether or not money can really buy happiness; if it can, then we know from experience that we can never be satisfied because there will always be something newer or better that we want. Who has ever had enough money?

        5. They Don’t Dwell

        They don’t sweat the small things or waste time worrying about things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. They don’t let negative thoughts latch onto them and drain them or distract them. Life’s too short to worry.

        6. They Care About Themselves First

        They’re independent, care for themselves and understand that they must put their needs first in order to accommodate the needs of others.

        They indulge, aim to get what they want, make time for themselves and are extremely self-reliant.

        7. They Enjoy the Little Things

        They stop to smell the roses. They’re accustomed to find serenity when it’s available, to welcome entertainment or a stimulating discussion with a stranger when it crosses their path. They don’t overlook the small things in life that can be just as important.

        8. They Can Adapt

        They’re not afraid of change and they work to make the most out of new circumstances, good or bad. They thrive under pressure, are not overwhelmed easily and always embrace a change of pace.

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        9. They Experiment

        They try new things, experience new flavors and never shy away from something they have yet to experience. They never order twice from the same menu.

        10. They Take Their Time

        They don’t unnecessarily rush through life. They work on their own schedule to the extent that they can and maneuver through life at their own relaxing pace.

        11. They Employ Different Perspectives

        They’re not stuck in one perspective; a loss can result in a new opportunity, hitting rock bottom can mean that there’s no where to go but up.

        12. They Seek to Learn

        Their constant pursuit of knowledge keeps them inspired and interested in life. They cherish information and are on a life-long quest to learn as much as they can.

        13. They Always Have a Plan

        They don’t find themselves drifting without purpose. When something doesn’t go as planned, they have a plan for every letter in the alphabet to fall back on.

        14. They Give Respect to Get It

        They are respectful and, in turn, are seen as respectable; the respect they exude earns them the respect they deserve.

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        15. They Consider Every Opportunity

        They always have their eyes open for a new road, a new avenue worth exploring. They know how to recognize opportune moments and pounce on them to make the most of every situation. Success is inevitable for them.

        16. They Always Seek to Improve

        Perpetual self-improvement is the key towards their ongoing thirst for success. Whatever it is they do, they take pride in getting better and better, from social interactions to mundane tasks. Their pursuit at being the best eventually materializes.

        17. They Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

        They’re not ones to get offended easily over-analyze or complicate matters. They laugh at their own faults and misfortunes.

        18. They Live in the Moment

        They don’t live for tomorrow or dwell on what may have happened yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chapter. They live in the now, and in doing so, get the most out of every moment.

        You can learn how to do so too: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

        19. They Say Yes

        Much more often than they say no. They don’t have to be badgered to go out, don’t shy away from new opportunities or anything that may seem inconvenient.

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        20. They’re Self-Aware

        Most important, they’re wholly aware of themselves. They self-reflect and are conscious of their states of mind. If somethings bothering them, they fix it.

        We’re all susceptible to feeling down every now and again, but we are all equipped with the necessary solutions that just have to be discovered.

        Lack of confidence, inability to feel fulfilled, and susceptibility to stress are all matters that can be controlled through the way we handle our lives and perceive our circumstances.

        Learn about How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life.

        Final Thoughts

        The main philosophy employed by the happiest includes the idea that life’s simply too short: life’s too short to let things get you down, to take things for granted, to pursue absolute and unrealistic perfection.

        For some, employing these characteristics is a second nature – they do it without knowing. For others, a conscious effort must be put forth every now and again. Self-Awareness is key.

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        Featured photo credit: Charles Postiaux via unsplash.com

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