Updated: Jun 22, 2020
Hello Friend! We are the OLU Family!
I'm Clare, married 6 years to my hubby Kevin, and we have two beautiful boys, Leo (3 y/o), and Gabe (1 y/o). We are Midwesterners at heart, raised in America’s Dairyland…Wisconsin! Any Packer fans out there? We would love to hear from you...Go Pack Go!
Five years ago, we left the comforts of home to explore an unknown path abroad. In those years, we served in the Peace Corps, brought two beautiful children into the world, started a business, and moved abroad. This is our story...
You know those special dates that are forever locked in your mind...the day you found love, the day you met someone famous, or maybe the day they cancelled your favorite Netflix series.
Well for our family that date is March 2015. The reason "why" requires a bit of background.
In the months prior to this date, we were young professionals, building our respective careers. Kevin was working in Corporate Finance and I was managing a Healthcare facility.
We were financially stable, living in a beautiful condo, and spending weekends out on the town. At the time we were 2 years married and life was pretty good. We talked about children and did some house hunting, but something was holding us back.
Internally, we were breaking down. We struggled with our sense of purpose and felt lost in the life we created. The late nights at work were taking a toll on our marriage and we were mentally drained. We were still deeply in love, but we weren’t growing closer together.
It's difficult to express this feeling in words, but I remember many nights sitting with Kevin at dinner and feeling like he wasn't there. We barely communicated our feelings so it was difficult to understand what the other person was going through. I knew Kevin wasn't happy but I felt helpless.
These emotions boiled over one night, and we decided that we wanted to live a more fulfilling life. We weren't sure what the next steps were, but we knew that a drastic change was necessary.
Rewind almost 10 years earlier to our first date in October 2005. We were at a restaurant and I mentioned to Kevin my desire to live abroad and join the Peace Corps one day. He seemed on board, which was great, but at the time it felt like wishful thinking.
Fast forward 9 years to the summer of 2014, and there we were handing in our application to serve with the Peace Corps in Paraguay.
We received our acceptance in October 2014 and from there it was a whirlwind of emotions…informing our families of the decision, selling almost all our belongings and saying our goodbyes.
We departed in March 2015 and spent the next 27 months working in a small rural community in Paraguay, South America.
Our service in Peace Corps was truly life changing. I worked as a Community Health volunteer and Kevin worked in Community Economic Development. We were fully immersed in the Paraguayan culture and worked side by side with members of the community.
Around a year into our service we received a wonderful surprise…
I was pregnant! We were nervous but also felt very blessed. The news spread fast throughout our community and it took integration to a whole new level! I was thrown four different baby showers and received an outpouring of love and support.
Our son Leonardo was born in Paraguay on September 26th, 2016 and was a “junior” volunteer during the last 8 months of our Peace Corps service. We loved every minute of our time with the Peace Corps and it laid the groundwork for our passion to work in international development.
We completed our service in May 2017.
After Peace Corps we moved back to Wisconsin to visit our families. We both knew this would be a temporary move as our hearts were sold on the idea of living and working abroad. We spent the summer teaching English and planning out our next move.
We focused on Latin American countries as we loved the culture and already had familiarity with speaking Spanish. The key factors in our search were: low cost of living, warm climate, safety, beach, and decent healthcare. Ecuador checked all these boxes.
Over the next few months, we researched Ecuadorian beach towns, consulted with local realtors, and in November 2017 we packed up our belongings and moved to Ecuador.
We had no jobs lined up outside of our online English teaching gig. Our plan was to visit and feel things out for 3 months before committing longer term.
Ecuador grew on us very quickly. We loved the warm days, spending time at the beach, and exploring the local culture. We extended our stay and in the first 6 months we began fostering relationships with local artisans on the coast.
We began collaborating with friends living in Paraguay on a business concept to connect artisans in developing countries to global markets. Soon after, we after launched our online platform Artezanz.
In December 2019, our second son Gabriel was born in Ecuador! We love watching our boys grow up together, it's terrifying at times, but they bring us plenty of joys!
We are a silly, fun loving family of four and we are very grateful for the life we have created abroad. We hope to provide information and inspiration to other families who are planning a life abroad.
If you enjoyed hearing our story, we would love to hear yours! Please reach out to us!
Also, be sure to check out our YouTube channel and follow us on social media @ourlifeunknown for useful tips and unfiltered content of our life abroad.