We have a friend who is building a new website for his business here in Ecuador. He recently asked Diane to write the content for his site (Diane is an AMAZING writer). As they were discussing the points that he wanted Diane to include in the text, I heard him say, “I don’t want people to come to Bahia de Caraquez or Ecuador because it’s cheap…although it is…I want them to come here because it’s cool !!
My buddy, Tripp, is right! Ecuador and Bahia are cool. I suddenly realized that in a broader sense, living overseas is really cool. Leaving the country where you were born and where you spent the vast majority of your life and transplanting yourself to a foreign nation is…COOL! It takes a bit of courage and a sense of adventure to do such a thing so…that makes those of us who have done this thing also very cool. That would be me…and the Pocket Babe and all the other expats around the world. We Be COOL!
Now, living overseas is certainly not for everyone. There are challenges that can be foreseen such as learning a new language and many, many others that you will not anticipate but that will provide hurdles for sure. No worries. We are cool enough to handle a few new challenges!
On a recent trip back to the states, I was talking to a group of men, military veterans from all across the country. When we started to discuss our hometowns and families, guess how many others in that group lived in South America or in any other foreign nation? Just me. Suddenly, I was the cool one. No one wanted to know much from the guy who hailed from Milwaukee or the other guys from Toledo or Los Angeles. I got all the questions. I was cool.
Why do you live in Ecuador? What’s it like there? How’s the food and the weather? Are the women beautiful (it was a group of men, after all)? Is it expensive to live there? Do you speak Spanish?
Now that Diane and I are rapidly approaching our 2-year mark, we can definitely say that living in Ecuador, on the coast of South America, is really cool. One of the many things that make it cool is that we get to meet many travelers who arrive by sailboat or are coming to Canoa for surfing or paragliding. We happen to live in a part of Ecuador that attracts International visitors and we have an opportunity to speak with them. Just last night, the two women sitting at the restaurant table next to us were from Denmark. Many Europeans travel through our area as well as those from Asian countries.
It’s hard to put a specific value on the “cool factor” but it does have value. I promise you that those of us who have chosen the life of an expat are sought out at gatherings, parties, functions and such things. You won’t be lonely because you are automatically cool!
“Hey Birgitte, say hello to my buddy Don. He lives in Ecuador. Don, Brigitte is a lingerie model from Paris”. Okay…that’s never gonna’ happen but still….you gotta’ admit that it sounds better than, “…my buddy Don from Cleveland.”
Several times each week, either Diane or I will turn to the other and say, “I can’t believe this. We’re actually living here.” The most recent occurrence was just yesterday as we were driving down a side street in San Vicente and a donkey/burro was slowly meandering down the road headed directly for us. No rider or person anywhere close by; Just the burro. I slowed, honked my horn and it moved over to the side of the road. That happens from time to time.
The week before that, Diane noticed a family of, what looked like, three people riding a motorcycle stacked one behind the other as is customary. As she drew alongside, she had a better view. The mother was holding and breast-feeding her infant child while seated behind her husband at about 40 MPH. A three-year-old was seated behind the mother. Total on-board: Four, including the breast-feeding infant.
Come on! Those things are cool. You won’t see either of those things in Cleveland!
Yes, living in Ecuador is a great bargain. Most of life’s essential are available are greatly reduced prices compared to North America. As I’ve said before, you trade the economy for the occasional inconveniences of life in a developing nation but now, you can add the “Cool Factor”.
This afternoon, I’m going to put my cool self aboard Diane’s cool motor scooter and ride into the cool city of Bahia de Caraquez to run a few errands. Then I’ll come back to my cool condo and will probably take a dip in the cool pool before sitting down with my cool wife to practice our cool presentations for the upcoming and very cool International Living Conference in Quito next week.
While we are away for a few nights, our super cool housekeeper, Fatima, will be moving into our place to take care of our two cool Chihuahuas.
If you should decide that Ecuador or another offshore location is right for the next chapter of your life, don’t forget to add in the cool factor! It’s real. And if you should meet Birgitte, could you ask her to send along those pics?