Meet me in Ecuador?

Later this month I’ll be returning to Ecuador for several weeks.  I decided to do this to amuse myself and, well, because being retired I can.

Once I decided to go my attention turned to what might be interesting to explore while I’m there.  Mostly I’ll be following my own advice  avoiding the sights, lingering in cafes and parks and chatting up the locals in my broken Spanish.  But I do have two plans.

The first relates to the title of this post.  About six weeks ago I came across this website:

Above the Clouds Retreats

There I met Cheryl, a woman who has followed the road less traveled, and who is now exploring ways to help others do the same.  Boy howdy, did she chose a cool place for it:  El Encanto.  (Beautiful sound track on this clip, BTW.  I recommend you click on it now and have it play in the background while you read.  I am listening to it as I write.)

About ten years ago she left the United States and bought a farm a couple of hours outside of Quito, close by the equator.  She now splits her time between Ecuador and Texas.  This is a person I wanted to meet.

Graciously, she responded to my email and our correspondence began.  Then I, well, sort of invited myself to visit and she, even more graciously, agreed.

Among other things we discussed the idea of adding a financial component to the Retreat.  After all if you’re going to pursue your dream, F-you Money helps.  Over coffee, which by the way she grows on the farm, we’ll discuss how this might work.

If you are a reader of the comments here on the blog, you’ll have noticed people regularly ask for help with their specific financial situations.  Although it is very labor intensive, this is one of the things I enjoy most.  But doing it in a comment or two seems limiting.  My thought is that for the Retreat I’d offer a group talk and Q&A session.  Then, at various times during the week, I’d make myself available to those participants who’d like to sit down for an hour or two and have a private conversation.  If this is something you’d be interested in, please let me know.

When I return, I’ll post a report.  Should Cheryl and I agree going forward makes sense you’ll all certainly hear about the dates and details here.  I’m excited and it would be great to meet you.  Especially in a cool place like Ecuador.

Here’s Cheryl.

She’s got one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern.  In this photo, literally.

After a few days with Cheryl, I’ll head down to Cuenca, currently my favorite city in the country.  It is also the place we’d most likely live were we to move there.  So I plan to spend a day or two looking at some property.  Mostly condos and single family houses.  However, Maribel, the realtor with whom I’ll be working made the mistake of asking, “Do you want to look at farms?”  Sure!  Why not?

From Cuenca I’ll head to the Pacific coast.  It’ll be my first visit.  Word is ocean front Ecuadorean property is a bargain unmatched.  So I’ll poke around the sand and villages there a bit, too.

As regular readers know, I believe in running the rent v own numbers before buying.  While money is not the only factor that enters into the home ownership decision, it is important to know what the relative costs will be.  Most times, here in the USA, renting wins the money evaluation.  But with the steep decline in housing prices, that has shifted in some markets.

From what I saw in Ecuador last year, the balance there may favor buying as well.  We’ll see.  I’ll pick a couple of examples and we’ll run the numbers on them in a future post.  See.  I’m not going there just for fun.  It’s the sacrifice I make for my readers!


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