We Found Nirvana in Ecuador—For Less than $1,500 a Month

“You saw where things were headed and bailed out…right?”

With the divisive and toxic nature of U.S. politics these days and the associated economic impact, I understand those who might wonder about our motivation for packing a few suitcases and moving to Ecuador’s coast nearly 18 months ago. While politics and the economy had definitely impacted our lives, our reasons for seeking a life outside the United States had nothing to do with political disagreement.

My wife Diane and I simply wanted and, frankly, needed a much better life at a much lower cost. My health was suffering and I needed off the hamster wheel. Toss in the adventure that comes with moving to a place we had never visited, instant immersion into an entirely new culture in a country where we could only speak a few words of the language and our next chapter awaited!

With one Social Security check between us (mine…Diane was nearly 15 years away from collecting hers) and some additional guaranteed income on the near horizon, we crunched the numbers, carefully researched and planned our escape over the course of a year or so, held hands and took a leap of faith. Now, our lives here in the small town of San Vicente, Ecuador across the bay from Bahia de Caraquez, are providing all we had sought when we initially boarded our flight to Ecuador.

As we anticipated, we now have a much lower cost of living. Our initial budget was $1,500 per month, including a bit going into a savings account, a target that was very manageable.

The slower pace of the Ecuadorian lifestyle has assisted in nearly the complete elimination of stress and our standard of living has dramatically improved…now complete with a housekeeper/cook. We have a number of good friends, both Ecuadorian and expats, with whom we share our lives. Our windows are open every day to the Pacific breezes and our view beyond the landscaped pool area is of the Pacific Ocean just across the street.

We have met many other expats here in Ecuador and regularly communicate with others through the Internet. As we live on the coast, we have also met a fair number of “cruisers” or sailors; those who live aboard a sail boat and travel the world sailing from one destination to the next.

I have come to recognize a certain quality in all of us: courage! It takes a bit of courage to sell your lives to the highest bidders, board an airplane and set off to build a new life on another continent or to move onto a small sailboat, conquering oceans to see new worlds. I’m claiming that type of courage for myself and my wife, Diane. With just a bit of that same courage, a completely new and improved life may await others willing to explore an adventurous expat lifestyle.

Being an expatriate is much more than transplanting your body to a different continent. It is about absorbing and embracing the onslaught of wonderful new experiences delivered by your newly adopted culture. It is about finding your own personal nirvana. Sometimes another continent and another culture is the perfect solution. We found our nirvana on the coast of Ecuador.

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