While most people in Canada are bundling up against the cold right now…and preparing for or enduring heavy snowfall and treacherous ice…Canadians Brian and Janette Sullivan are enjoying the temperate, weather of Cotacachi, Ecuador.
A little village located between two volcanoes in the Andes, Cotacachi has such a moderate climate that it enjoys year-round average daily temperatures of 70 F and 50 F at night.
That’s just one of the ways that life is easier in Cotacachi…and Janette and Brian are taking advantage of all it has to offer.
The couple devoted much of their adult lives to public service as officers in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. But a desire to live a less stressful life led them to consider their options. That desire led them to move to Cotacachi in June of 2013. There they found a lower cost of living that could allow them to retire early and to live well without working conventional jobs.
But living in a quiet mountain town doesn’t spell boredom for the Sullivans. The couple has found they can still keep busy in Ecuador while also fulfilling their innate desire to help others. “I’m on the board of Amici Cannis (a non-profit animal clinic) and I do a lot of community work in our new veterinary clinic. I also regularly help with low-cost dog sterilization efforts in rural communities,” says Janette.
They also jumped in with both feet to help those on Ecuador’s northern coast after a large earthquake in early 2016. With funds donated from their friends, family, and other Cotacachi residents, “we were able to drive to the coast and provide food, water, and medicine to those in need,” says Janette. “We also provided tools to help people repair their houses and a couple of generators for water filtration systems.”
Being able to volunteer is fulfilling, but Brian and Janette also enjoy relaxing and spending time with friends. The couple stays active with mountain bike rides through nearby rural areas, monthly hikes around the volcanic crater lake of Cuicocha, and daily walks through town to visit friends.
Their relaxed lifestyle in Ecuador allows them plenty of time for socializing, too. Janette says, “We meet friends for coffee or drinks at least a few times a week, and have dinner parties, pizza parties or, well, any other type of party that involves food and drink often!”
But the biggest surprise for Janette has been discovering a skill she didn’t know she had. She picked up a brush and some paint one day and found that she had a talent for it.
“Brian said he thought my work was really good. He thought I’d have an in selling to expats because it’s the shabby chic style and you can’t really get that here,” Janette says. “So I made up a few samples and put them on Facebook. Then I started getting inquiries about custom work and it’s gone from there.”
Though they don’t need the income, the $100 or so per month that Janette’s paintings bring in is a nice supplement and nearly funds their grocery and entertainment costs.
Though they can’t say for sure where they’ll be 10 years from now, they’re content. “Life here in Ecuador has been very fulfilling. We’ve had new adventures and met amazing people. Right now, we’re just enjoying life,” says Janette.
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