When I moved to Ecuador almost four years ago, I did not speak a word of Spanish. Well, I could say “good morning,” “good afternoon” and “good evening,” but that was pretty much the extent of it. I had decided before I moved that learning Spanish was very important to me, in order to better integrate into the culture here.
It’s been a few months since my wife, Suzan, and I have been in Ecuador. After living in Cotatachi, high up in Ecuador’s northern Andes, for eight years, we moved to central Mexico to be closer to our three-year-old granddaughter. Logistically, is was a no-brainer.
I began looking into an overseas retirement in 2015. I truly love the U.S., but I couldn’t afford to live there on my Social Security and I’ve had a need for adventure all my life, so becoming an expat was a necessary step.
A few years ago, I found myself as a solo retiree with an expensive California condo mortgage to pay for, along with excessive property taxes and increasing monthly homeowners’ association fees. Added to my woes, my subcompact car was ready to give up the ghost and needed to be replaced.
I never imagined that the brutal, financial knock-out punch my wife, Diane, and I absorbed back in 2008 would turn out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to us. It gave us the push we needed to leave the U.S. and begin our new lives overseas.
When we talk to family and friends about our lives now that we have moved to Ecuador, they are often amazed. “That’s such a big change,” they say. “I could never make such a big leap.” And it is true that moving to a foreign land can be quite a leap of faith.
I have a confession to make: I had an addiction. Or maybe it’s better described as an obsession…or a mania. There was a time when I probably could have stood in a dank room full of the similarly afflicted and said, “Hello, my name is John, and I have too many watches.”
Wherever you are in the world, rent tends to fall into two categories; either an outrageous burden or a relative joy. In Cambodia paying rent is definitely not a burden thanks in no small part to the reasonably priced properties that are available for expats in places like Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
I have been living happily in the town of Quepos on Costa Rica’s South Central Pacific Coast for almost nine years. I retired in 2008 at the age of 65 after visiting Costa Rica eight times in the previous five years, always ending up in Quepos and getting more and more comfortable with the lifestyle here.
There are plenty of reasons to go to La Libertad, here on the Santa Elena peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of Ecuador. You can go to take care of business at one of the government office like the IESS (social security and healthcare) or SRI (income taxes).