It’s not yet been two years since Diane and I decided to leave the United States and retire to the coast of Ecuador. With the approach of a new year, I couldn’t avoid a bit of reflection.
Why did we think that leaving the U.S. for another country would be something we should consider? Before we could even begin to do research on possible destinations, and before we set Ecuador as our bull’s eye, we first had to agree that exploring offshore options would be something worth considering in the first place.
If there was one primary motivator (and there was) it was that we sought economic advantage with a significantly improved lifestyle. I had reached the end of my working career. The convergence of some significant health issues and the loss of my regular job as well as losing our home in an economy that was not particularly favorable to our circumstances necessitated a complete re-think. At over 60 years of age, it wasn’t the first time that I had dealt with these sorts of challenges but I wanted it to be the last. I was out of gas! I looked down the road and saw myself working until I died, trying to make up lost ground…struggling for mediocrity or worse. Had my last heart attack occurred anywhere but the emergency room in a cardiac specialty hospital, I would have died. Now…that’ll make ya’ think!
Enough, we declared! Time to make some serious changes! We decided to live more intentionally. We certainly could have reduced the size of our life to the bare essentials and remained somewhere in the U.S. on perpetual survival mode surrounded by enormous amounts of cultural stress or we could throw away the rule book and create a brand new life; a life where Diane could also retire while still in her mid-40s and we could begin to truly enjoy our lives together living a grand adventure. Once you finally internalize that you really don’t know how many ticks remain on your personal clock, a new perspective is instantly shoved in your face.
How did we want to spend the rest of the ticks on our clock? Did we want to continue the struggle or would we be brave enough to sell our lives to the highest bidders and board a jet for a brand new life…one that we designed? Initially, it would be a life filled with hundreds of questions without answers waiting for us to discover them. We could handle that!
For us, the decision was clear. After more than a year of hard research and connecting with other expats online, our dream became a plan and the plan was put into action. We dealt with the endless details related to acquiring visas and selling and transferring possessions. We had committed to reducing our lives to only 3 suitcases each. Everything else was sold, donated or transferred to friends and relatives. Ecuador’s coast would be our new home. We would bloom where we chose to plant ourselves.
Today, we rent a wonderfully furnished, four bedroom, three bath low-rise condo steps from the beach. Our terrace overlooks a beautifully landscaped garden with pool and the Pacific surf is just beyond. We live in the small fishing and agricultural community of San Vicente, Ecuador just across the bay from Bahia de Caraquez. Our housekeeper’s name is Fatima and she has become an integral part of our lives here. Diane plays tennis several times per week as well as volunteering to teach English at a local school.
We have absolutely zero stress in our lives now. I do some business consulting as I wish and spend hours each week enjoying my passion for writing which, by the way, also earns some extra money. The temperature here on the coast is always suitable for shirtsleeves and naps have become a regular part of our schedules. Absolutely nothing in our day-to-day lives is urgent. The fresh fruits and veggies are amazing and the lobster, fish and shrimp can be purchased hours after being caught. Fatima is also a wonderful cook!
Through my website/blog,I am fortunate to connect with numbers of folks who are considering making a similar move and we have been pleased to meet with many of them as they travel through our area on their initial visits. For us, moving to San Vicente on Ecuador’s coast was clearly a great decision.
Whatever decisions you will make regarding your lives and your futures, Diane and I wish you the very best luck for this upcoming New Year and whatever is beyond for you! Remember, you will never know for certain if you can fly until you step off the ledge.