A few years ago I wrote an article for a magazine on the decision making process. Little did we know at the time that we would soon begin the process of trying to find the right place to retire where we would put every decision making concept that I had written about to the ultimate test. Almost every expat or potential expat we have spoken to has made a similar journalistic journey and done an enormous amount of research prior to moving from the US, Canada, or Europe. In every case once the germ of the idea took root - the idea of moving abroad - the search started in earnest. With few exceptions, searching on the internet through websites and blogs is where the decision process began for all of us. We researched Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Italy, India, and found enough negatives to eliminate them. In the long run, Ecuador is where we found the most desirable qualities to fit our need for living well affordably. The search then began to get deadly serious. We brainstormed on paper with arrows running in a hundred different directions. What town is the best? What is the right part of that town? A house or apartment? Rent or buy? What is the true cost of living? Are there English speaking people? Will we be able to buy what we need there? Will our four year old grandson get a good education? What are the consequences of leaving the US that we had known all our lives and relocating to a foreign country? These questions were put down on paper along with the solutions that we found, plus endless lists of additional questions that required more up-to-date answers. But, who knew these answers? Where could we find them? We asked specific questions via emails and got good answers from expats living in Ecuador. We found more and more websites and blogs as we narrowed our choices. We then put the decision to move to Ecuador into action by planning an extended visit to Ecuador. We still believe that a visit is the most important step of all. We knew that we would not be comfortable on the coast though we love the ocean so our trip concentrated on the Sierra - Quito and Cuenca – and we visited both extensively. One of the concepts of decision making is that a person often has to make decisions quickly without enough time to really look as deeply as you would like. Experts advise in these situations that you keep your eye on the goal and then let your intuition make the right choice. We did just that. We saw a house we loved in Cuenca and, on the last day of a three week visit, put a deposit down to purchase. It had been a two year long decision making process but, in that moment of resolution, we knew we had done the right thing. There is no way to give another person all the answers to the questions that dwell in their minds but most of us are here to help if at all possible. We look forward to meeting new friends and sharing our experiences, good and bad. There are a thousand steps along the way that each person has to ascend, a thousand decisions, big and small, that must be made that lead to a final choice each will make. With all that said, the second best advice we can give is to not make it a tedious enterprise but make it a fun process and enjoy the ride.
A New Kind of Blog
There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.