Ecuador and My Inner Retiree

I was asked again the other day what I love most about Ecuador, and as I answered it occurred to me how retired I sounded.

I’m not retired, of course, but as I was going over my three big pluses for this country…the weather, the cost of living, and the variety…I realized that all three of these qualities appealed directly to my Inner Retiree.

He’s the guy inside me who really does want to spend the rest of his life in a rocking chair with a guitar, a cold drink, and a nice view.

In Ecuador, it’s entirely possible to do that thanks to the great weather, low cost of living, and amazing scenery. And if the scenery gets too familiar, Ecuador is so incredibly varied for such a small country that just a day’s drive can take you to almost any other climate or scenery you want…beach, cloud forest, mountains, jungle, you name it.

I know your modern retiree is supposed to hate the idea of old-fashioned retirement and want to stay active…to be productive, to follow all those deferred life dreams, to accomplish all those goals now that they finally have the chance. It’s almost a cliché anymore to say that the modern retiree doesn’t want to spend the rest of his or her life playing golf or sitting in a rocking chair.

Except my Inner Retiree sort of does want to do that. He likes the idea of spending all his time rocking on the porch with a guitar and a beer without having to worry too much about freezing to death or going broke.

And Ecuador is perfect for that.

On the other hand, I also have an Inner Nebraskan who hears all this and calls my Inner Retiree a slacker. My Inner Nebraskan grew up in a part of the U.S. where the weather actually can kill you if you don’t pay attention, and where you actually can go broke just trying to stay warm in winter, cool in summer, put gas in the car, and pay your insurance and property taxes. Especially if you have a medical problem somewhere along the way.

My Inner Nebraskan thinks my Inner Retiree should get up out of his rocker and get some stuff done. Right now. Because rough weather and tax time are always just around the corner.

Only in Ecuador, they aren’t.

Rough weather where I live in Ecuador is rain three days in a row. I have neither a furnace nor an air conditioner…and don’t need either here on the equator, even at 8,000 feet up in the Andes. The rest of my utilities—my gas for hot water and cooking, my electricity, and my Internet—average about $60 per month. My wife and I have health insurance that covers both of us almost anywhere in the world at less than half what we paid to self-insure in the States. I own my condo, and my property taxes last year were $52 and change. For the entire year. I’m not kidding.

And all this really ticks off my Inner Nebraskan, who insists that I must be missing something…that there must be something coming down the pike that I need to be worrying about and working hard to prepare for instead of wasting time rocking in the sun and watching the light on the mountain and not freezing.

But, says my Inner Retiree…there isn’t. It’s handled. The weather, the cost of living, the variety here have it all handled.

That’s what I love about Ecuador.

Of course, I still work. I still travel. I still worry about and prepare for things. I still have the need to be productive.

I’m a Nebraskan, after all.

But I’m pretty sure my Inner Retiree is Ecuadorian.

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