Once you choose to live abroad in Peru one of the main questions you will be faced with from family and friends is to explain why. You can expound as much as you like about the culture and lifestyle, the people and food, nevertheless it will often come down to justifying why you choose to live in the developing world as oppose to the relative comfort of your first world home country. There are many positive reasons that motivate and inspire people to call Peru their home, so here are a few of mine, which as an expat in Peru you may be able to relate to.
Surprisingly enough, Peru offers access to affordable housing, a fundamental basic human right which is slowly disappearing back home in Australia. Coming from a country which has seen a 20% rise in the cost of houses in the last two years, which subsequently means inflated and often unaffordable rental prices, access to a reasonably priced rental property relative to income is not just a luxury but a necessity. Living in a small provincial town I have sacrificed small luxuries such as running hot water (although I live in a climate of eternal summer) and shopping at a modern supermarket, however I appreciate having access to housing which doesn’t force me to work like a slave just to pay the rent.
Australia is known as ‘The Lucky Country’, a title it deserves due to it’s natural beauty, resources and the opportunities that it offers its inhabitants. However, it is also one of the most expensive countries in the world and the cost of everyday items from coffee to clothes is constantly increasing. When we’re not working hard Aussies are famous for playing hard, however this is an expensive luxury which is becoming less and less accessible. A couple of glasses of wine in a bar, followed by take-away and a taxi home will easily set you back $100, so we are often sacrificing our lifestyle because of the outrageous cost. One of the things I most value about life in the north of Peru is how easy and relatively inexpensive it is to relax in my free time. We go to the beach and the pool, eat ceviche and share a cold beer with friends without breaking the bank, and this ability to easily and affordably enjoy ourselves has a positive effect on the overall lifestyle one can enjoy. It’s certainly simplicity over grandeur, yet the simple things in life can often be the most pleasurable.
Peruvians, and South Americans in general, are incredibly industrious and inventive and I am consistently impressed by their ability to survive and prosper despite the lack of support and services from their government. Peru is filled with entrepreneurs and it allows its lucky expats to endeavor to do the same. A lack of regulations and the enforcement of laws undoubtedly has negative repercussions, however there is also a positive side as a less regulated society allows people the opportunity to think outside the box and start their own businesses, keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive.
Life is for Living
Not only Peruvians, but latinos in general are famous for knowing how to appreciate life and seek the simple pleasures such as spending time with family and friends, eating well, dancing and laughing. Peruvians work long hours and many face a daily struggle to keep their head above water, however when they have the opportunity to relax, to celebrate a special occasion or festival or to just enjoy a beer and share a laugh, they relish it. Life here can be challenging but the reward is being part of a society where people live and breathe their culture and history.
About the author: Ellie Ryan is an Aussie expat working and living in Peru. She is the Founder of TEFL Zorritos, a TEFL training institute which trains people to become English language teachers and places them in positions in Peru and abroad.