A year ago, I left my job and moved to Ecuador. When I told my co-workers I was moving 18 months before I actually did, they didn’t believe me. As the time got closer, they decided I was crazy to leave a well-paying, secure job to move to a “Third World country.” The funny thing is, most of them didn’t even know where Ecuador was.
All I saw was fear in their eyes. I must admit, I had some fear as well. Do you want to know what scared me more than taking a step into the unknown and moving to Ecuador? Staying exactly where I was, doing exactly what I had always been doing, and never knowing what my life could be like somewhere else.
My wife, Heidi, and I sold everything we owned before moving here. It was painful, but after we did it, exhilarating to feel such freedom. Our adult son Easton, always the adventurer, decided to join us for a bit too. When we arrived in Ecuador we only had what could fit in our suitcases…and our little dog, Keeper.
A few months before our departure date, I began looking online for a place for us “to land.” I found a fantastic condo to rent in Bahia de Caraquez, a little Ecuadorian town right on the Pacific coast. This condo was a fully furnished two-bedroom, two-bathroom beauty with a full kitchen, laundry room with washer and dryer, and it included internet and direct TV. All of this overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a mere two-minute walk to the beach, for $900 a month. We emptied our suitcases and settled right in.
Each morning I would enjoy a cup of coffee, reading whatever I chose to expand my mind, while sitting on our balcony listening to—and occasionally watching—the waves break along the beach. I would never have been able to afford this in the U.S., but here I could.
In the evenings, we gathered as a family for dinner and enjoyed grilled sea bass, caught fresh that morning. The local fish market carries everything here, white sea bass, swordfish, shrimp, octopus, and so many other things. Our fresh sea bass was only $3 per pound.
Dinner wouldn’t be complete without fresh vegetables purchased in the local farmer’s market. Tomatoes and onions were about 40 cents per pound. Large avocados ranged from 25 to 50 cents each. Fresh lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, and peppers of every variety, each for only about 50 cents. Heidi would take these fresh vegetables and roast them to perfection.
As we ate delicious, healthy food on our balcony, the ocean breeze kept us cool from the evening heat. And again, our dinner music was the peaceful rhythm of rolling ocean waves coming to shore. We were living in paradise.
Three times a week, my son and I would participate in a free community “boot camp” exercise program. At 53, I found myself running through our small coastal town with my 25-year-old son, both of us among a group of young, local Ecuadorians, all doing mountain-climbers, planks, and sit-ups together on the quiet streets of Bahia de Caraquez.
After living in our perfect little coastal town for four months, we moved to Cuenca, in the Andes, and began a new experience in this UNESCO World Heritage Trust city.
While living here, we have enjoyed the grandeur of man-made architecture…cathedrals and churches can be found in every square and plaza in El Centro. We are also surrounded by the natural beauty of the green Andes Mountains, creating phenomenal sunsets that are so picturesque in color and texture it’s hard to take it all in.
Since moving to Ecuador, our lives have expanded, not only with new friends, or the new adventures we keep having, but with a new language too. I hope to be fluent in Spanish one day. It definitely is helpful as we travel and visit so many places here.
As we begin our second year in Ecuador, we are ready to move again. Back to living on the beach and enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, now from the coastal town of Olon.
I spoke with my old co-workers, and they had nothing new to report. “Things are the same,” they said. That is something I just wasn’t able to say.
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