“Always thought you were crazy, but now you’ve left no doubt!” a friend recently said to me when I told her that my husband and I were planning on moving to Ecuador. My daughter wanted to know why, if I had to move out of country, why not Canada or Mexico. A neighbor just shook her head and said “Really, why on earth do you want to move there?” My response was “why not?,” hoping to see what she had to say about Ecuador. “Well, for one thing it’s extremely hot with a lot of jungles and oh so dangerous.”
The more I listened to the responses of people, I began to realize they knew nothing about Ecuador, or I should say they knew about as much as “I” knew when I started thinking about moving to a foreign shore. I have visited England and loved the people and the countryside with its quaint villages; however, it just did not feel like where I wanted to settle. At one point, I considered Ireland or Australia or New Zealand; but there again was the “it’s nice, but …” reasoning for not going there.
One day while perusing the internet, we came across the International Living website and signed up for their newsletter and magazine. We began reading about exotic places and far off shores. One area that really intrigued us was Ecuador. The more we read about it, the more we liked the way it sounded. Finally, the opportunity to visit the country arose when International Living announced that it was holding a 3-day conference there. Wow! What a way to find out more about the country and be able to explore some of the areas. Before we knew it, we were off to Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
Imagine our surprise when we landed to discover that we weren’t in or near a jungle, that the temperature was a pleasant 74 degrees and that we felt perfectly comfortable. Yes, everyone spoke Spanish, but there were those who spoke English as well and the people were ever so friendly. During the three days of the conference, we learned even more about the country. First and foremost, familia or family, is the most important commodity to an Ecuadorian, followed by love of the environment. Things move at a slower pace, the people are very friendly and senior’s treated with respect. The cost of living is relatively low and they believe people are responsible for their own actions and well-being. For example, if you step into a hole in the sidewalk and twist your ankle, it is your own fault for not paying attention to your surroundings or if you put a cup of hot coffee between your legs and it spills, that’s your fault. No suing the restaurant that sold you the coffee for your stupidity. They are not litigation happy there and expect you to take care of yourself.
They have good health care, a healthy environment, abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables all year round. No produce ripened in a warehouse or only available during certain times of the year. A couple can live well on as little as $900 a month. Housing is very affordable and you can rent or buy a lot cheaper than you can in the U.S. A 2-3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment, with utilities and unfurnished, can be had for as little as $350 per month or you can buy a 2-3 bedroom, 2 bath, home for as little as $45,000. Top that off with no need for air conditioning or heating due to temperatures ranging from lows of 47 to highs of 75 degrees year round. If you want warmer, you go down to the sea for temperatures in the 80’s or if you want warmer and more humid, go to the rain forest or the Amazon jungle.
The equator is not at all the “hot spot” that one would think and you will find the only snow capped volcano in the world located at the equator. Ecuador boasts some of the safest places in today’s world and is only a four hour flight from Miami, Florida. Yes, there will be challenges to living abroad, such as learning a new language or a new culture; however, the rewards will be even better. A healthier lifestyle, lower stress, better environment and the satisfaction of knowing you are living life the way you always thought it should be.