Thursday, September 12, 2013
We Took a Gamble on Ecuador
By Donald Murray
"How could you have possibly moved to Ecuador without ever visiting?"
My wife Diane and I get that question fairly frequently. As a former military guy, I was accustomed to being told where I was going to live. I learned early on to bloom where I was planted. So, while I certainly wouldn’t suggest that everyone follow our lead, it’s worked out great for us.
Our journey to Ecuador started a few years ago. First the bottom fell out of the U.S. economy...and the equity in our home vanished in a few months. Then I had my second heart attack and lost my job—just about the time that retirement was looming. With the loss of our home equity and the rapid depletion of our small nest egg, we began to look for other opportunities to rescue our retirement on our fixed income.
We first considered Stateside locations but found nothing that fit what we sought with regard to our budget and desired lifestyle. I did not want to be one of those folks who needed to work until death just to squeak by, so we expanded our search to include the entire globe.
Having lived in Alaska for many years as well as Florida, we felt a bit like Goldilocks. We wanted a climate that was neither too hot nor too cold. We wanted to be close to an ocean. We also wanted a relatively safe environment with a stable government and currency...an accessible and affordable health care system...affable people...and a culture that was accepting of North Americans. Last but not least, we sought an affordable cost of living.
Our search turned up a few places, such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and a few others that didn’t ring our bells...until we discovered Ecuador.
Diane and I talked of an exploratory trip...but after a brief discussion, we decided it wasn’t necessary. We had each traveled internationally—so we knew we were both adaptable—and had seen Central America and Mexico. I had also seen Asia and Australia. And because we knew we could always return to the States...we were happy to commit to Ecuador.
Thanks to some friends we met through the Internet, we selected the Bahia de Caraquez/San Vicente area—on the Pacific Coast—as a landing zone. From there, we reasoned, we could explore the coast, north and south, and make a more permanent selection. Our friends arranged a great condo for us in a nice, small enclave in San Vicente.
When we got to San Vicente, Manabi province, we loved it. Nestled between the Bay of Caraquez—where the wide Chone River empties into the Pacific Ocean—and the rolling coastal hills, the small town is an example of a true, small Ecuadorian fishing and farming community where the people work mostly with their hands to earn a living.
Fish vendors sell their daily catch from makeshift stands along the sidewalks or in the large, open market on the outskirts of town. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be bought all along the main street. From almost anywhere in this small community, one has a stunning view of the Bay of Caraquez and the striking skyline of Bahia de Caraquez on the other side.
As luck would have it, we found nothing we liked better and now San Vicente is still our home.
Living here, I have much more time to slow down and enjoy life. In my spare time, I write and have recently published a Kindle e-book called "Our Ecuador Retirement...The First 8 Months" about our experience.
So while not everyone can make an international move without visiting their prospective home first, for me and Diane, it worked out fantastically. From past experience, we know we will bloom wherever we are planted...and if we don’t like a place, we can always try another.
After all, nothing in this life is permanent...and there are a whole lot of adventures just waiting to be experienced.
at 10:17 AM