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Jessica Fay, Quito

Hello! My name is Jessica Fay and my family and I left our home in Texas to explore the world! We are currently in Quito, Ecuador, and are having a fantastic time!We wanted to take what we are calling the “Fay Family Gap Year”. This was important to us because we have a two-year-old daughter and we wanted to show her the world and all of its diversity. We realize she is too young to remember most of the trip, but we all learn things we can’t remember learning. Hopefully she learns patience, Spanish, love of culture and appreciation of this vast world. We also realized that we would regret not taking a year to travel. Travel is the number one priority in our house and this opportunity isn’t always present. We decided we needed to make the jump!

We moved to Quito only a month ago, yet we have crammed so much in! The Historic Square, the town of Mindo, the Teleferico and Pichincha Volcano. In just a month, we have joined language groups, made friends and found our favorite parts of town.

We decided to use AirBnB as a means for housing. We definitely could have found cheaper lodging, but having it furnished and in a safe area meant more to us. On AirBnB, most hosts give a hefty discount for long-term renting. Our apartment is huge and is still much less than our mortgage back home.

There are a ton of US American expats living in Quito. I joined a few Facebook groups that have led to priceless info and camaraderie. The FB groups are called ‘Expats in Quito, Ecuador’ and ‘Expats Parents Quito’. We even recently got together with a large group of expats at a stunning villa to celebrate the 4th of July!

Things I like about Quito? Where do I start? The weather is tops! Seventy degrees every single day. It is spring year-round. I also love the parks. Because of the weather, people are outside all day, working out, biking, running. And the parks are covered in flowers and beautiful trees that attract hummingbirds. Besides the weather, I love the views. I love walking to the grocery store and staring up at Pichincha and the rolling mountainside. It is amazing every time.

Things I dislike are very few. Mainly the smog in Quito is harsh for me. I am definitely not used to it, even though I came from very large city in Texas. A lot of Tylenol, aspirin, etc. got me through the first few weeks. Also, I did get altitude sickness which took about a week to subside.

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A cultural difference in Quito would be milk and eggs on a shelf. Also, grocery stores are in malls and malls are still cool here!

The food in Quito is diverse. You can find anything from super authentic to KFC. It has been very easy to try new foods and to find our comfort foods from back home (with the help of Pinterest and Google Translate!)

One of my favorite activities so far was a cooking class I found on AirBnB experiences. It was with Chef Sebbastian and could not have been more authentic. He took us to the market and introduced us to vendors and all of the unique foods of Ecuador. We then went back to his house and he helped us prepare a 5-star meal. Truly, a fantastic and memorable experience!

Advice I would give: get on the Facebook groups but take what people post with a grain of salt. The groups were very helpful with making connections and answering questions. It has made the biggest difference in our lives in Quito.

My husband and I are finishing up our Teaching English as a Foreign Language certifications and plan on finding jobs teaching. We would like to stay in Latin America to learn Spanish, but are open to moving just about anywhere!

You can keep up to date with Jessica's adventures on her blog, Out And About With Scout, which is about traveling with her husband and their daughter, Scout. They also share gear, itineraries and their favorite finds.

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