How did this all come about?
As most of my followers know, I am an American who lived in the Philippines for about 20 years. In late 2018 my wife, Feyma, and I decided to move back to the United States. I was very happy living in the Philippines, but it so happened that at a certain time in 2018, I was going through a rough stretch dealing with some of my wife’s family. My wife had been abroad for a few months, and when she returned, she asked if I would agree to move back to the United States. It certainly was not anything that was on my mind, but with the difficulties I’ve been going through, I immediately said yes I would move back to the United States with her.
When we talked about it, she said that she would like to move back in around June or July of 2019. I told her that if we were going to move back I would be ready to move back in January, it was November at the time that we had this discussion. I was just ready to go, and if I was going to go, I might as well do it sooner rather than later. I had some contractual obligations for work that I had to fulfill while I was still in the Philippines, but those would be finished in December, so I’d be ready to move back shortly after that. She knew that I had not wanted to move back to the States previously, so she agreed when I said that I wanted to move back in January.
When January 2019 rolled around, we did everything we needed to do to get ready, had a garage sale to get rid of all of our stuff, made our flight reservations, that sort of thing. We wanted to spend a few days in Cebu City with a close friend who had invited us to come and spend some time with her before the move. We had a wonderful time with our friend, but after a few days there, it was time for a flight to the States.
How has the move been so far?
Overall, I would say that the move has been positive. We have built up a good life here in the USA. We chose Indiana as the place to restart our lives after being away for so long. None of us in the family had ever been in Indiana before, we moved here based on recommendations from a friend that I met through my website Live In The Philippines. The factors that steered us to Indiana included:
- Indiana is one of the lowest cost of living States in the USA.
- Good jobs were available for my wife and adult children in Indiana.
- Since we had never been to Indiana, it would be interesting to start our new lives fresh in a new area that we could explore and enjoy.
Low Cost of Living State
Indeed, Indiana is among the least expensive places to live in the USA. Since we had lived in the Philippines for nearly 20 years we were accustomed to living in a place where the cost of living was quite low. After nearly 5 years of living here in Indiana, I would say that the low cost of living was spot on. Frankly, Feyma and I often talk about the cost of living here and compare it to the cost of living in Davao City, Philippines (that is where we lived for the majority of years that we lived in the Philippines). Our conclusion whenever we discuss this topic is that we feel that the cost of living here in Indiana is almost identical to living in Davao City, and we are quite comfortable with the costs of living here.
Over the years when I have known others who moved back to the USA from the Philippines, many have said that the cost of living was very high here compared to the Philippines, but it is now evident to me that those complaints were due to the other people settling in high cost of living areas in the USA. We can’t complain at all with the cost of living here.
So, am I super happy to be living in the USA?
The first 3 or 4 years were pretty good to us, and I was enjoying life here. About 4 years into our new life in Indiana, though, I have grown tired of living here in the United States. It’s not about the State of Indiana, I like it here fine. I am used to an adventure, though. In the Philippines there were so many new and unusual things. Things I had to adjust to. Basically, it was an adventure.
Indiana has not been an adventure, it’s been kind of a humdrum life to be honest. I think that if I had never lived outside the United States I would be happy with life in Indiana. But, for 20 years of my life my life was an adventure. It’s hard to live an adventure for 20 years and go back to the humdrum.
An article I wrote in 2010 is coming back to haunt me
In 2010, I wrote an article on my Live In The Philippines” website. The title of the article is “Once You’ve Been an Expat You Can Never Go Back“. If you read that article, and the rest of this article you’ll see how true that article is.
If I went back to live in the USA, I would no longer fit in the way I did when I lived there.
I’ve been thinking….
A week or two ago, I told Feyma that I wanted to move from Indiana. I asked her where she thought I would want to move… she said “The Philippines”. I said no. I told her that I’ve had my eyes on Ecuador.
Why not the Philippines?
I love the Philippines very much and I enjoyed my life there to the max. But, the reason I am longing for something new is that the Philippines is not so much an adventure anymore. Frankly, if I were to move back to the Philippines, I would feel strongly that I was going home. I no longer feel at home in the United States.
So, I would not be opposed to moving to the Philippines, but if I am looking for more “adventure,” that would mean that I would have to move to a new place, a place where I would have to learn the ins and outs of the country, see things I’ve never experienced before, and that sort of thing.
When we lived in the Philippines previously, I stayed in the country for nearly 20 years, never came back to the States or even had the desire. At this point of our lives, though, we would want to come back to the States at least every few years to visit our adult children, our grandson, etc. Ecuador is significantly closer to the USA compared to the Philippines. Flying home from the Philippines is about a 24 hour adventure when you include changing flights along the way, etc. From Ecuador you can fly home in about a quarter of that time.
Really, a couple of reasons.
Firstly, Since I was in Elementary School I have had a fascination with Ecuador. When I was young I had a hobby of listening to Shortwave Radio, where I could hear hundreds of radio stations from virtually every country in the world.
When I was about 11 or 12 years old I started listening to Radio Station HCJB in Quito, Ecuador. I always found their programming interesting. Lately I have been thinking about that hobby I had and thinking specifically about HCJB that was so fascinating to me. That led me to watching some YouTube videos about expats living in Ecuador. I liked most of what I was seeing about the lives of those expats, and it started me thinking about making the move.
Will we move to Ecuador?
I’m not sure, it’s too early to say. When I first started thinking about moving abroad again I told Feyma about my thoughts. She didn’t like the idea too much. After I have kept on talking to her about things I have learned about expat living in Ecuador, she is seeming to show some interest.
One of the things about such a move is that we would probably wait until Feyma retires from her work, that would be about 10 years. Waiting 10 years would also mean that our grandson, Cline, would be 13 or 14 years old. It would be easier to move when he is at that age compared to now (he is 3). I am enjoying watching him grow up.
The downside of moving in 10 years, though, is that I would be 71 or 72 at the time. Nobody knows how long they will live, or how their health will be when they get into their 70s and beyond. I feel good now (nearly 62 now). I am not concerned about moving abroad and needing healthcare, I got great healthcare in the Philippines, so that is not a concern. But if you are old to the point that you have trouble getting around and such, I wonder if it is worth it to travel like that.
Who knows, maybe in 5 years Feyma will decide she is ready to make the move, so you just never know.
The only thing I know for sure is that right now, Ecuador has been on my mind a lot. I love the Philippines, and would not be opposed to moving back there again, but it is not my #1 preference (and that is not because of any dislike of the country).
So, like I said at the beginning of this article, we are coming up quickly on our 5th year anniversary of returning to the USA. In the coming month or so I will be posting a series of articles with a year by year breakdown of our life over the past 5 years, things we’ve done in the USA, our feelings about life in the USA, etc. I hope you can follow along with the articles, and let us know what you think!