Leveraging Our Home to Fund a Laidback Life by the Beach

For years, I dreamt of moving to Ecuador…of living on the warm, tropical shores of the deep blue Pacific. But after years of simply “dreaming” about it, my wife, Heidi and I realized we had to set ourselves a deadline and simply go…or we never would.

Today, we live near the small town of Olón, on Ecuador‘s Pacific coast where the flat beaches extend for miles. Heidi and I walk or ride our bikes on the beach almost every day, as the early morning sun rises over the verdant mountains to our east.

I love the slow pace of life here. Locals and expats alike know how to enjoy a conversation, a meal, and a beautiful sunset. Life is taken as it shows up, without the hurry and frenetic pace I was so used to living in the U.S. Local men sit at the thatch-covered, bamboo-bench bus stop, never going anywhere, but just talking with each other.

At 54, I’m not drawing a retirement income yet, so figuring out how to pay for our adventure was my biggest challenge. Savings were part of my plan, but I also turned our small townhome in the States into a monthly rental income that covers a large part of our expenses here. Since then, I’ve focused on building an online business as a life coach, where I help other men achieve their life goals.

With these resources, and the attractive cost of living, Heidi and I enjoy a comfortable beach lifestyle in Ecuador.

Heidi has a favorite tienda (store) where we buy our fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s palm-thatched roof shades a selection of fresh avocados, eggplant, cauliflower, bananas, strawberries, dragon fruit, pineapples, and more. For under $10, we leave with two pounds of deep-red strawberries, a head of cauliflower, two heads of broccoli, four large avocados, and 30 fresh eggs.

Right across the street, the fishermen have this morning’s catch on display. There are whole fish laying on wooden tables. I admit I have never bought one of them—I’m here to relax and preparing a whole fish seems like a little too much work. But for $3.50 I can buy a pound of large shrimp. Today the fisherman tells me I can have three pounds for $10. I take him up on it. I also pick up some cleaned and ready to go white fish for $2 a pound. They make great fish tacos.

Our house is about a five-minute drive north of Olón. Buses go up and down the meandering two-lane highway about every 20 minutes. When the bus arrives, we carry our bags of produce, eggs, and fish onto the air-conditioned bus and enjoy the comfortable reclining seat. It only costs 50 cents each to travel to our house and other surrounding towns.

After a trip to town, Heidi and I will usually take a swim in the ocean…only steps from our beachfront home. We rent our spacious three-bedroom, two-bathroom house for just $1,200 per month. Admittedly we pay a premium for the near-private beach we enjoy, and it’s worth every penny. After swimming, we sit on our large terrace, enjoy a cold drink, and watch the ocean waves roll onto “our” beach.

It’s a dream come true.

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