How IL Lead Me to Ecuador…and Fulfilled a Lifelong Dream

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Ever get that question in a job interview? I have, and every time I always think, what a stupid question. If life has taught me anything at all, it’s that no one knows what tomorrow will bring…much less five years from now.

For example, just five years ago, I never would have seen myself living in Ecuador and loving it like I am today. Even if I had considered that possibility back then, I would never have thought that moving to Ecuador would help me realize a lifetime dream of being a professional writer.

And neither of those things may have happened, except that my wife Rita and I started reading International Living.

While I had always wanted to put thoughts to paper, there never seemed to be any time. I was able to satisfy the urge in small ways: I wrote for a local paper, penned some standup comedy routines for an open-mike venue, and in my job as a network/computer engineer, I wrote training guides and technology summaries.

Things changed drastically in my life when my first wife succumbed to cancer in 2008. Suddenly, I was alone. The kids were gone off to college and starting their own lives. Partly to occupy myself, I started traveling. Then I met Rita, and found someone who also shared my growing love of travel.

Everywhere we went, we asked ourselves the same question that many travelers find themselves considering; could I live here? At the time we weren’t really thinking of retirement. But the more we explored, the more open we were to possibilities.

Things really got interesting when we discovered that we had both signed up independently for International Living magazine after reading some of those “Most Popular Retirement Havens” articles. When we compared notes, we found that we were both interested in what we were reading about Ecuador. Rita liked the temperate climate, especially in the beach areas, and I liked that it was in a convenient time zone, and used the U.S. dollar. Also, we were planning to get married and vacation in Puerto Rico, so we had just started thinking about studying Spanish and Ecuador gave us one more reason to do so.

We continued to read everything in IL that we could find about Ecuador, and started doing research on our own as well. We read articles in other travel guides, looked up Ecuadorian history, and scoured YouTube for videos about people who had visited or were living there.

Finally, we just had to schedule a trip to Ecuador to see it for ourselves. Again using International Living to help narrow locations, we planned a trip at beach areas on the coast.

It was a carefully planned trip…but what we didn’t count on was falling in love with the beach town of Salinas almost immediately. We both just knew this was the place for us. We still didn’t know if it would be a place we wintered, or a place we retired to, or both…but we knew we wanted to be there. We cancelled the rest of our trips up the coast and concentrated on finding our dream home on the beach.

Within three months of that visit, we had found and purchased our condo. Two months after that, we were married and decided to sell our Puerto Rico honeymoon and instead spend our five-week honeymoon in Ecuador setting up our new place.

Salinas
From reader to writer, Jim’s journey with International Living has allowed him to indulge in his love of travel.

While we were on that trip, I remember reflecting on how much our lives were changing, and how much of it was because of a few articles we read in International Living. I wondered how many more people just like us only needed a little spark to trigger the same kind of reaction?

Also, there was so much that we had discovered in just a few months, and so many new experiences, that I felt like I had so much information to share.

With that in mind, I went back to the International Living website and submitted an article for publication. Within a week the editor of the magazine contacted me, and asked if I could write an article about myself and my wife and our decision to move to Ecuador.

I continued to write for IL for almost two years before they offered me the role of Ecuador Coastal Correspondent.

Today, I spend my time exploring Ecuador and writing about it for readers like you. I’ve also started my own blog to provide another outlet for my writing. I now have the time and confidence to pursue my urge to write and I get to do it while living by the Pacific Ocean in one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.

It’s amazing, and a little humbling, to me to think that none of this might have happened if I had not started by reading a few IL articles.

So if you are sitting at home or at work now, reading International Living, I have an important question for you: Where do you see yourself in five years?

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