About five years ago I heard about a course running in Ecuador that could show me how to make money from travel. I didn’t know anything about Ecuador but was intrigued by the idea.
The more I read about it, the more excited I got. The course was about import/export and it was about to show me how I could travel to exotic spots, shop for beautiful, unique artisan-made goods, and turn a profit while I did it.
I have to admit, I was a little hesitant at first. I remember thinking, “Do people really make money doing this?” In the end, I decided it was worth a try. Even if it didn’t become my new income, it would at least pay for my trip. I was going!
I fell in love with Ecuador on that first trip. The artisans…the people…the culture…the food…the climate—it has everything. Then, of course, there are the jaw-dropping goods produced there. I bought everything in sight (that’s only a slight exaggeration) and came home eager to share my amazing finds with folks back home.
I hosted a party in my home and invited a small group of friends and family to see my new goodies. I wasn’t the least bit surprised that everyone raved over the buttery leather purses, fluffy alpaca blankets and scarves, original watercolors, and tagua bracelets. These girls know a good thing when they see it! What did surprise me was how quickly the items disappeared. People weren’t just looking…they were buying.
That night I sat on the floor counting the proceeds from my first show. I was astounded. In one night I had taken in enough money to cover the cost of my trip. Right then and there, I was hooked.
But there was a problem—I was left with very little merchandise. What’s a girl to do? Head back to Ecuador, of course!
And head back to Ecuador I did. Multiple times.
Here’s the thing. Once I started traveling around the country and branching out to new and different areas, I saw opportunities all around me. One day I would be obsessed with shipping leather chairs to ski resorts out West. The next day I would be imagining design tweaks that could take that leather tote bag from okay to fabulous.
I could almost feel my husband and children cringe whenever I opened my mouth to say, “You know what would be really amazing?” But you know what? Once my family began traveling with me, they started doing the very same thing. While visiting the Panama Hat factory in Cuenca, we all came to the conclusion that hats are “in” and everybody should have one. What if we bought 100 of them and sold them around our beachfront community?
Our next stop was the coast where we saw brightly colored hammocks. Hmm…maybe we should throw in 50 of these? Custom-made board shorts and surfboards rounded out our list of winning ideas.
And we’re still looking and turning up potential winners. In Ecuador, your profits are only limited by your imagination.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to learn more about ways you can pay for your life or travels overseas, including import-export, sign up for Fund Your Life Overseas, a free e-letter from International Living. Sign up here and we’ll send you a free report: Fund Your New Life Overseas With These 6 Portable Careers.