On Ecuador Time

We exited the terminal with our 90-pound Chocolate Lab trotting at our side, delighted to have been liberated from his travel crate after the short four-hour flight from Miami. A smiling porter followed along, carting our two large suitcases and four huge cardboard boxes.

It was November 1, 2001, and we had jettisoned our previous lives to begin anew in Quito, Ecuador.

Just as the thick fog that wrapped its arms around us that night, the future felt fresh and full of possibility. Our Ecuadorian friends greeted us with cheers and hugs and loaded us up for the short ride to the home we’d rented for the coming year. In one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods, it had four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a guesthouse, and a gorgeous walled garden. The rent was just $600 a month.

As we walked into the house, the fireplace was roaring…more for ambience than anything else. November evenings in Quito are warm compared to our home state of Nebraska. The comforting fire, and the kindness of new friends, melted any hesitations we’d had about reversing the course of our lives in our mid-40s.

Why had we sold everything and run away from our lucrative marketing business? Well, we were tired of the rat race. Tired of chasing the almighty dollar. Plain and simple, we were tired.

And this was supposed to be “our time.” With kids grown and parents still in great health, this was our chance to strike out on our much-anticipated adventure.

But why Ecuador? If you’ve ever been here, you’d know the answer to that. It has miles of unspoiled beaches. Rich rainforest. The amazing Galapagos Islands. Historic colonial cities, and clean and healthy rural villages…

For us, the mountains beckoned. There’s something about the Andes that steadies the soul. Llamas grazing the green slopes of snow-capped volcanoes…open-air markets overflowing with the biggest brightest fruits and vegetables you’ve ever seen…the quick smiles and gentle nature of the people…

It doesn’t hurt that Ecuador boasts extraordinary weather. No down parkas or snow shovels needed here. In its cities, you’ll find great restaurants and shopping—a truly first-class infrastructure and excellent hospitals.

High-speed Internet makes working remotely and earning online possible from almost anywhere in the country.

And then, of course, there’s Ecuador’s famous affordability. Although some prices have risen in the 10 years since our initial touchdown, you can still take a taxi anywhere in Quito for $1 to $5 and find a menu del dia—usually a four-course meal of soup, salad, meat/rice/vegetables, dessert and beverage—for $2.50 or less. You don’t need much of an income to live well in Ecuador.

But back to our story.

We left Ecuador at the end of 2002 because we wanted to experience more of Latin America. We tried out a couple of other places. But none of them felt quite like home. So, four years ago, we came back to Ecuador for a visit… and now we’re back for good.

When we add up all that Ecuador has to offer, no other place matches up.

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