What’s Brought All These People to Ecuador?

I’m about to head down the PanAmerican Highway to Quito, Ecuador’s sprawling capital, to attend this year’s Fast Track Ecuador Conference, where I’ll spend the better part of a week with hundreds of people who traveled thousands of miles to see this country for themselves.

By the end of the conference, I’ll know in detail what brought many of our attendees here, because I will have talked to a lot of them in person during coffee breaks and over drinks. But I’m still a bit amazed every time we open one of our events here in Ecuador, and I look out on that enormous conference room filled to overflowing with people, all searching for something.

We call these events “Lifestyle and Opportunity” conferences, and that covers a lot of ground. But from talking to so many attendees at so many of these events over the years, I’m pretty sure that their motivation for traveling so far to see Ecuador for themselves will come down to one main reason. And it’s a reason many of them won’t even realize themselves.

I think the one reason most of them will share for coming here is adventure.

That may sound strange at first. After all, Ecuador is always touted as a value destination—a place where your money can go about as far as anyplace in the Western Hemisphere. The bang for your buck in Ecuador is undeniable, and it is true that a lot of retirees and near-retirees come here for just that reason. They like the idea of getting the most possible value out of their existing financial resources, and you can squeeze a lot of value out of your money in Ecuador.

But after talking with so many of our event attendees over the years, I have to believe that many—if not most—of them would consider moving to Ecuador even if it didn’t lower their cost of living. The financial angle is just the icing on the cake for them. What they’re really after is adventure.

That doesn’t surprise me, really. Humans are in the main an adventurous lot. In a million or so years we’ve gone from a species of a few hundred thousand individuals salted in a couple of sweet spots around the globe to billions of people occupying every corner of the planet.

And I think that comes down to our nature. We’re made to move, to wander, to explore. Some of the oldest evidence of our lineage are footprints fossilized in ancient mud flats and volcanic ash; the footprints of people on the move, going somewhere, looking for something. We’re wanderers at heart—nomads who have only very recently in our history gotten tied down to farms and cities. It’s in our blood to follow trails; peek over rises; cross rivers; wonder what’s on the other side of the mountain.

I’m waxing a bit poetic here, but you get the point. I think there is something that happens to us modern folks after we’ve spent 50 or 60 years knocking around the same bit of territory doing the same thing. We get itchy feet. We crave a change of scenery. We get the feeling that there is something new and interesting and possibly better down the trail, and we want to get there and see it and do it.

That’s really what I hear, in one way or another, from most of the folks I talk to at our Ecuador conferences. They’ve worked hard all their lives, and they’re finally in a position to do something they’ve always wanted to do. And when they get right down to it, what they’ve always wanted to do, really, is have an adventure. To go somewhere new and do something different. To follow the trail to wider vistas and greener pastures.

Luckily for them, there are some incredibly wide vistas and stunningly green pastures left in the world. And a lot of them are right here in Ecuador.

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