Now, Why Are You Moving to Ecuador?

by Manya on March 4, 2013

“Now, why are you moving to Ecuador?”

This is the question I’m getting over and over as I let people know of our upcoming move and relocation to Ecuador.

Often, I give the simple answer (relatively speaking) that in 2011 my husband and I started thinking about how to make our eventual retirement money go further, being in the less than enviable position that many boomers found themselves in around 2008-2009.  So I started subscribing to International Living, a magazine that promotes the expat lifestyle.

Within a short time of subscribing and assiduously reading the magazine from cover to cover each month (thankfully it’s a lot thinner and lighter than any rag that professes academic or intellectual stature), it became quite evident that we could live in a beautiful place, have a good quality of life for a lot less money than we’d be spending in the U.S., NOT living in a beautiful place (granted that this is purely subjective and I’m sure many of my Nebraskan friends could take umbrage at that statement except that “Nebraska Nice” wouldn’t allow them to!)

That’s the short version.

The somewhat more complex version is that in 2008, like many other Americans, and particularly those living in Michigan, and particularly those who are self-employed as we were, our personal economy fell off a cliff.  And we were forced to find gainful employment which took my husband, and then me, to the great state of Nebraska.

Spring Prairie Audobon-0167

Now truth be told, we’d talked for a long time about leaving Michigan (when I first moved there 14 years earlier from Boston, I told my husband it would only be for 3 years, 4 max!) but we had gotten into a comfortable rut, and honestly couldn’t figure out what or how to make the move, nor on what basis to choose a new location.  And yes, we had our favorite places but mostly they seemed like they would be too expensive unless we landed there with jobs, something these two independent self-employed folks hadn’t considered (not that it might not have been in our best interest to do so).

So, thank you, Great Recession of 2008, for getting us unstuck.

The deeper reality is that as we’ve contemplated and now are actively manifesting this move to Ecuador, we’re seeing that there are many opportunities there that we simply did not see here in the United States, given that we won’t have to be on the hamster wheel chasing an income just to sustain our basic cost of living.  So we’ll get to explore Latin America, meet up with shamans and shamanic medicine (something we’ve both fantasized and envisioned for decades), learn a new language (shown to be really good for aging brains), and contribute our wealth of skills and experience to the people and society of Ecuador.

As to why Ecuador in particular….well, I didn’t want to live in a tropical place (though I do love visiting there).

Puerto Lopez coastlie-1190

It’s got the Pacific coast, the Andes, and the Amazon all in a space the size of Nevada. I’ve long wanted to live in the mountains. There’s still an indigenous culture there. The country is beautiful and the Andes are magical. The people are wonderfully warm, gracious and inclusive.  The capitol of Quito is only a 4-5 hour flight from
the U.S which makes  the  trip back to the U.S. minimally arduous; the country is on central/eastern time zone.
AND last, but not least,  we can live for a 1/3 of what we can live on here.

Need I say more?


Holly June 6, 2013 at 5:50 am

Yea Manya,

I love this! I think I must order that magazine, even as I have no (conscious) intention to move. But I can’t seem to resist knowing about the possibilities.

I wish you both so much love on your journey and prayers that things unfold beautifully for you.

And, who knows, maybe we’ll drag our family down your way sometime!

Manya June 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Thanks for stopping by and for your good wishes, Holly! Y’all should consider a trip as I think you would love it, and of course, the kids and you would love the Galapagos!

Karen O'Keefe Morse March 22, 2013 at 2:03 am

Hi Manya! What a great blog.
We, too, have become “unstuck” by the recession and the consistent, ongoing decline of most of our clients which is forcing us to change plans, make do on less, put our house on the market and — move from Massachusetts to the mountains! For us, it will be the front range of the Rockies north of Denver – a dream we have always held which will now likely be realized by the end of this summer.
I am encouraged, emboldened even, by your attitude and positive approach. I have worried for some time about what will happen to all of us boomers when we run out of money with time still ticking. Maybe we should look to a future where all this “unsticking” has delivered us to new and exciting places and adventures. I know that we all have great things to contribute to our new communities – perhaps we are simply spreading our resources in new and unexpected ways.
I wish you all the best in your new adventure – starting with getting all that paperwork in place!
warm regards, Karen

Manya March 22, 2013 at 2:45 am

Thanks, Karen! Yes, there is definitely a paradigm shift occurring, unsettling for sure if not anxiety-provoking yet isn’t reinvention part of our 60’s DNA? The Rockies are so wonderful, glad you’ve figured out how to make that dream come true. I lived in Boulder many years ago and love that area.

Montana Heidi : ) March 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm


It really sounds great, Manya! Congratulations! Very happy for James and you!

Your pictures from your visit were spectacular!!! The people will help make your transition much easier. The beauty and magic will soothe your soul.

Equador = Equator + the sweating thing, right? I suppose one acclimates : ) and… I think I might be able to get used to it for all the “pluses!” Will you be in the mountains? I love love love mountains, and the ocean! I had both in Kodiak, Alaska, but very different.

I am thrilled for you both!!!

Manya March 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm

The sweating thing happens primarily on the tropical coast and in the rain forest, NOT in the mountains as I hate humidity. So if you live in the highlands (the Andes)as we will be, where you’re at anywhere from 5,000-9200 feet, it’s pretty much perpetual spring:-)

Lori Schwartz March 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm

One needn’t explain that type of move to me either! That is how my husband and I wound up in Nebraska in 98!

As one who has visited Ecuador myself last summer I can totally relate to the appeal. Aside from all of the “warnings” on the State Departments website, we were totally surprised by what a wonderful country it is!

We went on a destination wedding/vacation with 2 of our adult children. A truly magical vacation, and most certainly a very tempting place to retire to!

I look forward to your future postings, and I am anxious to know how you have settled in once you and your husband take up residence there.

Manya March 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Not sure why you got all those warnings from the State Dept. Apart from the northern border in proximity to Columbia I haven’t heard of any particularly dangerous areas.

Tatiana March 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Manya! Great start and great idea! it such a pity that Russia is about 20 hours flight from Ecuador.. but you never know may be one day we also move to Ecuador. Will keep an eye on your publications. Take care

Manya March 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Thanks,Tanya! Great to see you online. I know you appreciate the enlivening qualities of adventure and understand the power of following your dreams.

Next post: