March 31, 2012

Best Retirement City in the World: Cuenca Ecuador or...Hutchinson Kansas?? Part 2

Why would one choose Cuenca Ecuador over Hutchinson Kansas?

Here's why we chose Cuenca

Let’s talk about weather…Not only has Frank been a good provider by producing much of the food we eat back in the states, but he actually has a need to play in the dirt on a fairly regular basis.  It’s how he keeps his sanity i.e. balance and gives him a reason to get out of his computer chair. It’s a much needed hobby and a way to provide fresh wholesome food. 

 However, in Hutchinson, he’d be fighting the winter weather – actually more like sleeping through it as far as gardening is concerned—and the summer weather also.  All work and no play makes jack a dull boy, and that’s how he feels in winter and summer extremes.  The allure of being able to play in the dirt all year round is just too hard to resist.  In that sense, what some would consider sterile weather patterns is actually a boon.  That’s a very strong real pull, not some superfluous reason.  Ecuador wins.

And culture…We’ve written before about Ecuadorian family culture.  Family is the second priority in life for us, after God, and while we did have a couple of friends in Hutchinson that have the same values, the rest of the culture does not.  This is not being said to offend anyone, and we apologize if that is the case.  Long time readers know we have a reputation for telling it like it is, and that’s why they keep coming back to this blog.  We still cannot help but feel a feeling of amazement and contentment to be riding on a bus in Cuenca and be surrounded by children, brothers and sisters together with their parents right there on the bus and everywhere we go.  

Many Ecuadorian people on the street smile at us, and one day a family in their Toyota forerunner stopped on the street as we were walking just to shake our hands and welcome us.  In Hutchinson, we’d just be another person to ignore like everyone else.  That is also very real for us and not a superfluous reason.  Ecuador wins.

Cost of living…Cuenca and Hutchinson line up very well on the cost of living issue.  Some things are a bit higher in Hutchinson, but this would be mitigated by the much wider availability of used items at goodwill stores, swap meets, craigslist and online auctions which we used to actually enjoy participating in.  Another hobby that not only pays for itself but provides for abundance on a small budget.  

The allure of having a maid, cook and gardener in Ecuador is a strong pull for some, but we don’t really want or need people waiting on us hand and foot, creating a kind of idleness of spirit, it would take some of the enjoyment out of life. 

The ability to run a micro business in Hutchinson, such as home repair, painting, carpet cleaning, buying and selling used items, sewing, cleaning, etc. in order to supplement your income should not be overlooked.  These would be practically impossible in Ecuador.  This could make all the difference financially speaking for some.  And the lack of availability of large chain stores like Lowe’s, Home depot and Wal-Mart is a sore spot here in Cuenca.  So it looks like a wash on this one between Hutchinson and Ecuador.

Ambiance/environment…There’s no denying it.  Especially the historical district, Cuenca feels like you’re in Disneyland.  If one has an adventuresome spirit, the differences in ambiance can be a welcome change and a medicine for boredom.  If you can laugh at things and remain flexible in your attitude, you can enjoy all that the culture has to offer, something you can’t do looking out of a window of a condo building however.  

In that sense, Hutchinson can seem, well, a bit small and boring.  But again, not terribly so, especially if you enjoy everything else about it, and can keep yourself entertained, especially at the library.  For us, Cuenca wins on this one…

And last but not least...Politics... this is a hot button topic and it's important to say that our position is A-political.  Just like in biology class, we learned of beings that were A-sexual, i.e. reproduced without sex, we reproduce without politics. (joke) We don't care to discuss political parties and argue politics with people. We don't participate in politics.  

Having said that, politics stink to high heaven in the u.s. unless that is, you're within the class of politically correct, highly exalted groups that subsist on benefits from those politics. In that case, politics for you are sweet.   Translation:  politics exalts one group while vilifying another group.  It pits people against one another. 

Politics is what's happening when a seemingly nice person comes to your house and is nice to you, and then they make public statements that they don't agree with you.  You can always tell a political person, they are looking at you through their political spectacles.  Politics creates smoke screens, and smokescreens create confusion.  A confused person always says no--to the truth....that we should be spending our time loving one another. 

In that respect, it's nice to be in Ecuador and away from all the noise.  There has only been one case of attempted political dialog here in Ecuador by Ecuadorians.    It was when myself and another gringo got into a taxi.  The taxi driver asked us if gringos are a proud people and if we were pro current administration.  I proceeded to adamantly explain that we don't get involved in politics.  We say no to politics. 

Please, if you are trying to be our friend, leave your politics at home.  Just say no to politics.   Here  in Ecuador at least, we're not surrounded by all the noise, that is, as long as we don't turn on yahoo news.

Well, that sums up our main reasons we appreciate Cuenca Ecuador over Hutchinson Kansas.   We could say more but we’ve said enough about us…what about you?  What would make you choose one or the other?  Cuenca Ecuador or Hutchinson Kansas?  Would you give Hutchinson Kansas any serious thought?  Let us know what you think.  And thank you to all of you that have purchased the Do It Yourself (DIY) Cuenca Landing Guide.  Thank you for your support…

To see part 1 of this article click here

March 29, 2012

Best Retirement City in the World: Cuenca Ecuador or...Hutchinson Kansas??

Yes, Hutchinson Kansas.  Why?  Before you click away from this article consider that we know of retirees in their 70s that live well on less than $1000 a month in Hutchinson Kansas.  We know this because they are long time friends.  We have personally spent time in Hutchinson Kansas so we know the city personally.  And finally, we considered moving to Hutchinson Kansas before coming to Cuenca Ecuador, so we investigated a lot of the important things people want to know before moving to a new place.

There are many North American Cities that would make for great retirement. We are not singling out Hutchinson for any particular reason except for the fact we have personal knowledge of and believe it would make for a low cost, low stress, peaceful retirement.  It would be one of our cities of choice to retire in if we had stayed in North America.

22 reasons why we might have chosen Hutchinson over Cuenca:

1. Hutchinson is flat, so it’s easy to ride a bike.  Even a three wheeled one.  Traffic is manageable.
2. Our 70 year old friends ride a “recumbent” bike.  It’s easy on his back. No car expenses.
3. Downtown is easy, you can walk to:  American style coffee shops, (with good coffee, ahem) small stores, grocery stores, familiar franchise restaurants such as Taco Bell and also buffet restaurants, even Mexican restaurants.  And yes, even the goodwill stores are well stocked, for low cost living. Do I need to say it?  Don’t need to worry about gas prices.
4. Organic stores are common with E Z access to all our favorite natural foods.
5. If you don’t want to pay for internet, there’s a very large library, within walking distance, and the books are all in English.    
6. Utility costs are low compared to many areas, we know, we called them and asked their rates.  Free wood for your wood stove from branches falling off trees at each snowfall. 
7. The downtown actually has benches on the intersections and corners in case you get tired of walking and no drunks to bother you while sitting.
8. Everybody speaks English.  You can make jokes and people laugh.
9. Large chains like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s.  (Guys, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone-wink)
10. Extremely low crime rates.  Violent crimes very rare or unheard of most years.  Can walk alone on the streets without worry.  Safe even at night.
11. Family oriented, farming communities outside the main city center provide access to low cost farming staples, such as wheat, corn, gourmet goat cheese, raw honey, etc.
12. Low rents, average $400-$700 a month, and this is for large new or older houses, 3-4 bedrooms with yards etc.  Lower prices from $300-$500 for smaller houses.  Single apartments from $250, that’s not a typo.  You can spend more if you want to and get luxurious American standards.
13. Owning a home in the center is easy, usually under $50,000 for an older home with charm; some fixers for less than $30,000; median brand new homes at $85,000.  Lower prices means, aha, lower property taxes.
14. No smog. 
15. Four seasons.  Some people prefer seasons to bland and boring 365 days of the exact same weather day in and day out. Can grow different types of vegetables depending on season.
16. It’s easy to shop, because all the packages are in English!!! And if you need help, guess what, English is no problem.
17. Easy to blend in.  You will not be profiled, or assumed to be rich and therefore overcharged because you’re a North American.  No real estate bubble.
18. North American Disability access etc.
19. Peace and quiet.  No noise pollution like in Cuenca, even in the city center.
20. You can buy your favorite stuff off Ebay, craigslist or online auctions without worrying about excessive shipping costs, customs duties, etc.
21. Your family can visit you whenever they want, and even move there without concern over immigration requirements.
22. No dadgum almuerzo hour, you can still get stuff done between 1pm-3pm.

The city of downtown Hutchinson is pleasant and practical, trying to be artsy, in a small town way and is quaint and even charming.  It is clean and feels very safe.

Would you like to live there?

Things to Do 

Hutchinson boasts a nice mall, and movie theater.  There is also a Dillion Nature Center; and a very neat park called Carey Park and a pretty good-sized zoo. The downtown shopping district has a nice feel. Hutchinson has some nice parades and festivals and of course the state fair.

The city keeps the downtown area very clean and there are benches and tables all over the city center for sitting and enjoying the outdoors, weather permitting. Hutchinson is geared for retirees and walking around and enjoying a leisurely pace of life. For families with children, the city of Hutchinson has two community colleges and there are several more Universities within driving distance of Hutchinson in the cities of Wichita and Kansas State University.

Hutchinson has a 40,000 population but still boasts all of the above stores and franchises. It’s a clean city, with nice folks, organic food, low rents and real estate prices. 

It probably won’t ever make the retirement press but we think that’s actually a plus, so if you are thinking of an E Z retirement to a low cost, low stress peaceful lifestyle, why not consider North America.   We recommend you consider taking a look and do your own due diligent research about the practical and peaceful city of Hutchinson, Kansas.

So why didn’t we go there?  Read part 2 and find out!

March 27, 2012

Two Musical Guys in Pollo Restaurant in Cuenca Ecuador

When living in Ecuador you never know what to expect. On this day, while eating in a a pollo (chicken) restaurant, two guys with their musical instruments began playing a couple of traditional songs. It is customary to give them a little monetary donation for the entertainment.


March 26, 2012

San Vicente Ecuador -- Hotel Vacaciones

A short video on one of the hotels in San Vicente, Ecuador. This is one of the hotels we looked at which is across from the river estuary which separates Bahia de Caraquez and San Vicente.


March 25, 2012

Answering Readers Concerns, about Living 10 Minutes by Taxi, from Downtown Cuenca (Part 3)

Comment from a reader: Then there's the language issue. If one can't or won't learn to speak Spanish, perhaps finding the gringo-bubble area makes more sense from a safety and convenience standpoint.

Frank and Angie answer: That’s the whole point of what we talk about on the Discover Cuenca Blog. You call it the gringo–bubble area but the gringo-bubble thing is why there is gringo targeting; gringo inflation; and gringo resentment in Cuenca Ecuador.  

If you ask us, the gringo-bubble needs to get popped and the new set of gringos coming here if they will, should find a nice home or apartment to rent for $300 or less, if they will, they need to say no to being over-priced when they know what the actual price is, if they will, they should patronize the Ecuadorian run shops, stores and restaurants, and, if they will, they should learn the language and enjoy being a new part of the Ecuadorian culture, if they will…of course we can’t tell anyone how to live or what to do.

Now we hope that most of our readers are willing to do that; you just have to stick to your guns or else everywhere else in Cuenca will get expensive too. We are now seeing a lot of ads from locals needing a place to live for their family at the $180 to $250 Ecuadorian price, and sadly they can’t find any!!!! 

On another note, not knowing the language makes you more vulnerable to over-paying, to getting robbed, to not making any local friends, to gringo targeting and gringo isolation which leads to more gringo inflation. Now is that any way to live happy, frugal, healthy, and free?

That’s the whole niche of this blog isn’t it?  If gringos want to move to a foreign country, pay U.S. prices, not learn the language, trip over themselves and outbid each other on everything especially property, and be part of or the cause of a gringo bubble, well then, guess who’s going to get hurt when the bubble pops? 

There is a saying in the alcoholism community:  you can’t become an alcoholic if you don’t drink.  Likewise, we say:  you can’t get hurt in a gringo bubble if you don’t participate.  We’re here to be an example to those that decide not to participate.  After all, we’re certainly not asking those very same people to come out and engage in those very same behaviors in the rest of the city and simply expand that bubble, which by default creates the very dangerous and inconvenient for the rest of us, perception, that all gringos are rich and stupid.  By the way, we didn’t say rich and stupid first, the locals did.

March 22, 2012

Answering Readers Concerns, about Living 10 Minutes by Taxi, from Downtown Cuenca (Part 1)

Comment from a reader: Other than El Centro, are there neighborhoods in Cuenca that are somewhat vibrant with a bit of their own personality that might hold some appeal to expats?
Frank and Angie answer: Sure there is; in fact each neighborhood has it's own charm and appeal from the locals who do business there and live; from quaint cafe's to mouth-watering panaderias, We find the Ecuadorian neighborhoods more appealing to live in than the gringo gulches, for the simple reason “this is an Ecuadorian country”, and we feel the best way to truly experience the culture and be a part of it is to integrate yourself into the country you live in. You can segregate yourself from the Ecuadorian neighborhoods if that is what you want, but why isolate yourself? 

However, we think you would be hard-pressed to even find an ONLY gringo enclave in Cuenca; if they are here, we don't know about them and we don't want to know about them.

Update 2014: The areas or neighborhoods that have the most gringos are: Chalubamba. El Vergel, Gringolandia, and El Centro. But they also have Ecuadorians living in these neighborhoods. Also, don't be fooled and think they are the best neighborhoods in Cuenca. In fact, quite the opposite. More home invasions occur in these areas or near these neighborhoods. That is just one of the costs you have to pay if you want to be near other gringos. 

UPDATE 2014: Also the price of rents in these areas is more pricey for obvious reasons but they are not better neighborhoods. In 2011 you could easily rent a beautiful home in Challubamba for $300, today, you are lucky to find one under $900 dollars! 

We feel that anyone who decides to live the North American lifestyle in Ecuador would be doing themselves a big disservice financially and culturally speaking. There is nothing appealing about eating out for dinner at North American prices when right next door there is an Ecuadorian managed restaurant for half the price, nor is it very appealing to pay North American rents, in Ecuador, when you don’t have to.

Ecuadorians are an energetic, talkative, curious, and often vibrant people. Since this is Ecuador you will find that the Ecuadorian neighborhoods are pretty much the same, whether it is downtown area or a neighborhood 15 minutes away. Ecuadorians love to eat, listen to loud music, go to festivals, shop for stuff, enjoy being with family and do fireworks, play in the parks with their children, and socialize in all the areas of Cuenca, in the restaurants and at home, and on the streets. This makes all of Cuenca vibrant and alive!

Comment from a reader: Living outside the action could be quite lonely for someone arriving by him/herself -- or with just one other person.

Frank and Angie answer:  This comment doesn’t apply.  You’re in the city of Cuenca regardless of where you are.  That is our whole point.  Aside from the fact that international expats are tripping over themselves to outbid themselves for the 2 x 4 square mile area referred to as the “historical center”.  Living outside the action? Not sure what you mean by “action”.  

It’s true that the density of people is higher in the “historical center” but everywhere you go in Cuenca, whether the “historical center” or the rest of the city, there are people walking around and shopping all over the place. 

Everywhere in Cuenca there are people enjoying the outdoors of Cuenca and they come equipped with umbrellas too. Even when it rains there are lots of people out and about on the streets. And even though the density is not as high, there are just as many and similar types of stores everywhere else in Cuenca, and some you can’t find in the center, like wood supply, hardware stores, malls, and major grocery stores.

If you’re the partying type and that is the kind of “action” you are referring to, if you move to Ecuador you’d better have a body guard.  Many of the expats that get robbed here are coming out of bars and nightclubs intoxicated, with their guard down, in downtown Cuenca.  Don’t think we have to explain this one. 

If the “action”  is festivals, free symphonies, going out for ice cream, or eating out in restaurants, or taking a tour, and you want to go downtown to do these things then by all means, call yourself a taxi; it will cost you all of $5 bucks both ways, $6 at most.  

There are not daily festivals, these are only occasional, so it’s a misconception that you are “in the action” because most of the time the center is very quiet in that respect.  And once you’ve taken a tour, then, you wouldn’t be taking it again right?  This is what tourists do; permanent residents don’t concern themselves with such things.  Permanent residents can do whatever they want whenever they want, because they don’t have the “tourist” time constraint.

Comment from a reader: Some expats feel vulnerable due to age and the related physical problems that can accompany aging. A secure building is a reasonable solution for many because of this.

Frank and Angie Answer: The high rise secure condo buildings that are geared to older people and physically challenged are not downtown; they are about a 20 to 30 minute walk from downtown on Grand Columbia, and all the way up to Avenida las Americas and Ordenz Lasso.

The State Travel website states that those with disabilities (or age related physical problems) thinking of moving to Ecuador should think twice. Ecuador is not really set up with U.S. style infrastructure to service the disabled or physically challenged person very well, at least not at this time. This may change in the future. But for now, we see this as a fact because we live here. 

Many times you have to walk over big rocks on the cracked up sidewalks, sometimes there is no side walk at all, the bus system also is not set up properly to chair lift a wheel chair it must be manually put on the bus. 

The downtown area has very narrow sidewalks, usually when two people are walking together, one has to get off the side walk or go behind the other just so other people can get by; curbs do not have ramps for those in a wheel chair or for those who have difficulty lifting up their legs and some of the curbs are two feet high! Sidewalks are narrow and all broken up, and quite a few businesses and restaurants have a foot curb that one must step up to get inside. 

So, while the secure building thing may apply in some respects, it really doesn’t erase any of the above mentioned concerns for them.  And following that train of thought, we don’t see that particular minority of people as being the cause of the gringo gulch/inflation going on in the center.   

We do see however, irrational fear among the expat community and a correspondingly irrational sense of security from being in the center.  Again, the facts show that there is just as much if not more petty crime against expats in the center (and the other neighborhoods we mentioned) as anywhere else in Cuenca.  They’re putting a bulls-eye on themselves.

Stay tuned for part 2 where we address more readers concerns about living 10 minutes by taxi from downtown Cuenca.  

UPDATE 2014: We wrote this article in 2011; a whole lot has changed in Cuenca since the first publication of this article. The new Cuenca has expats living all over the city now and are not just confined to the downtown area. As a matter of fact, most expats prefer to live outside of the downtown (el Centro) area as there is less smog and noise pollution away from downtown. So there  you go!  The tourists/visitors are the ones that temporarily live in El Centro.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you are moving to Cuenca or just visiting, the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide will make your experience more fulfilling and relaxing. Let the guide do all the work!

March 21, 2012

Alex Says Healthy is Happy...We Think Alex is Right!

Alex is being funny in this video...just another healthy day in Cuenca Ecuador. BTW, Alex's secret ingredient in his banana shake was...vanilla extract (just a drop) and a tablespoon of dried sugar cane sweetener. 


March 20, 2012

7 Ways to Make Your New Life in Ecuador More Enjoyable

Moving to a new country does not have to be too stressful; in fact if we follow a few strategies for de stressing our lives, moving can be fun and adventurous, with only a little bit of stress, which realistically speaking is inevitable. As most of us know, even moving within the same city into a different house can be stressful, imagine how much more stressful moving to another country! 

It is far more pleasant to be healthy in all areas of our lifestyle when making a major change in our lives, such as relocating to another country! Having physical, emotional, and spiritual health is wealth beyond belief. There is so much more you can feel, see, do, and enjoy in life when you are healthy in all aspects of your life.

So with that said, here is our “7 ways to make your new life in Ecuador more enjoyable”

Physical Health

Walk more: Start a walking regime and maybe even an exercise program before you move to Ecuador; it will make it that much easier for you to do things such as walk around once you get here. There is no reason why 40. 50, 60, and even 70 year olds that are thinking about moving here, can’t improve on their health if they need to. We’ve met both types of expats here, some have heath issues and some are healthier and more fit and can do more; it really depends on how healthy a person is before they come here if they will truly enjoy all that Ecuador has to offer.

Yes, the medical care system is good in Cuenca and less expensive. We know that some retirees come to Cuenca because of the good health care system but let’s hope you will not have to use it for many, many years, or never for that matter. Our attitude should not be, “I’m getting older and my health isn’t getting any better and Cuenca has inexpensive health care so I’ll move there”. Our attitude should be, “I want to enjoy my latter years in good health and Cuenca, with all of the fresh foods and mountain air, might be a great place to start walking more and improving on my health”.  

Anyone can get healthy, no matter what age they are, or what kind of health afflictions they may have.  Health can improve if we make an effort.   If we can do it, so can you.  If this sounds intriguing see our other website at:

And the fact of the matter is being healthy does make life more enjoyable. We have talked with elderly folks when we lived in South Carolina and they didn’t want to continue living because they were in pain every day.  This is really sad because it can be avoided; we allow ourselves to have 99% of the health problems we have through the lifestyle choices we make starting at a young age!

Eat Healthier:  It should be easier to eat healthier when you move here because the food is cleaner, and that is a fact!  The meat does not have the hormones or antibiotics in it like in the states, but there is a lot of junk food here too. So it depends on your lifestyle choices. We think it is far better to start eating a good diet before you arrive in Ecuador so you’ll want to continue improving your diet with the abundance of fresh food at your fingertips here in Cuenca. 

BTW, imported junk food items are REALLY, really expensive here; try a three times markup in price. A Hershey’s candy bar cost $4 and a can of Pringle potato chips is $3.50 here.

You will lose weight when you move to Ecuador because without all of the hormones in the meat and dairy it just comes off.  When we first arrived here we were like eating pastries every single day, no kidding, but we were still losing weight because of the fresh food and the prices of fresh produce allows for you to eat more of it at the dinner table. You don’t have to fill up on meat and potatoes; there is such a wonderful variety of foods here and the prices are not prohibitive.

Emotional Health

Bring Family with You: If at all possible, if your children have not already made a family for themselves or even if they have, invite them along with you to Ecuador. Why? Missing your family (children and parents) is one of the main reasons that expats leave Ecuador and move back to their home country.  If you move before your children begin their independence from mom and dad or when your parents are still willing and able to move, then the move is well timed. 

We’ve talked to many expats who have already made the move here or are going to, and they are like “Yippee my kids are out of the home now and we can now do what we want”. But after a year or two that sentiment changes, you miss your children and your grandchildren. It’s reality. 

Ecuador is a great place to raise your children. Really, you don’t need a bilingual school for your children—they will pick up on the language quicker than you; it’s good for them and teaches them discipline. More and younger families with children are contemplating a move to Ecuador and we think that’s great!

After You Move Here Do Things You Enjoy:  Many people when they retire they don’t just stop working, they stop living. That’s not right. Now is the time to do all the things you couldn’t do before because you were working too much!  You could even brush up on some skills online and work part time once you get here.  Perhaps you can join a club, or volunteer, take Spanish classes, teach English, or start a garden. These are just examples, of course. You do whatever it is you like to do. Staying active really does prolong our life and that’s because keeping our brains and body active brings us purpose in life. Sitting around watching TV all day does not. 

Make Ecuadorian Friends: This is something that comes very slowly if you do not speak the language. This is why it is important to learn the language so you can interact with the community and make friends with not just other gringos but with Ecuadorians.  We have met some wonderful Ecuadorian friends; some of them speak English, but some don't, but that's ok because it helps us want to learn Spanish even more. “Spanish for Dummies” comes in handy and I’m a pretty big dummy when it comes to learning a new language. They say that children pick it up at a much quicker rate than us older folks. LOL

Spiritual Health

Be Content and Happy: If you think that moving to a new country is going to somehow bring happiness into your life then it is a poor reason to move to a new country. Joining a church when you get here isn’t going to make you happy either. Happiness is not about religion, actually far from it.  Reading (studying) the bible and asking God’s direction for your life and seeking fellowship with others that do the same leads to contentment.

We’ve seen it over and over again, expats move here for the wrong reasons. At first, it’s all euphoric because of the newness of everything. But then, after just a few months they begin to let things around them bring them to the place they were before they moved here—unhappy with their lives. It’s true, there are some things of discontent everywhere you go and live, even in the U.S but things that are beyond our control to change we should not fret over because it is unhealthy; it really is!

People think our 12 annoyances video are things that truly bother us and we are sitting here stewing over every day, but it’s not about us, it’s about you and if you are going to be able to handle the annoyances. The purpose of making the 12 annoyances video was for YOU! It was to show that what you read and hear about in newsletters and reality television shows is publicity—this is a third world country, full of things that some people cannot handle, such as not being able to buy Skippy peanut butter or their favorite brand of baloney, or the having to be surrounded by tall metal bars at their residence, or guards at every corner with sawed-off shotguns. 

If a person doesn’t adjust well to change in their environment or if they are picky and fussy they may want to reconsider staying put where they are. (The above reasons why expats move from Ecuador are real).

We have read on blogs and forums how people want to bring all their furniture, dogs, and other farm animals to Ecuador with them because they can’t give that stuff up. Uh? I don’t think people realize how much trouble and stress they are making for themselves. Our furniture should not be what fulfills us in the first place.  In the old ancient writings, when Jacob traveled to a far country to seek a wife, what happened?  A thief stole all his stuff…this caused Jacob to renew his wits about him and strengthen his commitment to God.  This is ancient wisdom.

Having a pet to love is nice and should be an added enjoyment to our already positive outlook on life. If you want to bring your pet, go for it; it’s filling out a little bit of paper work, pet vaccines, and putting the pet in the cargo area of the plane, etc.  But lugging our furniture across borders so we’ll have it in Ecuador is another thing.  If a person is that attached to their stuff then we feel that for them moving here may not be a good idea. And here’s why?

When we attach ourselves to our stuff we believe it is our things that make us happy. It’s partly a comfort thing but mostly an attitude thing. “I’ve gotta have my big screen television, can’t be without my oak desk, definitely need to have my mattress, I can’t live without my living room suite, dining room set…” so on and so forth. If you have this attitude, you may find many reasons why you will NOT like it here. It’s not that you cannot find nice, quality furniture here, because you can, but it’s because you can’t be without YOUR furniture you already have…you see that’s the key. 

You have one leg hanging over the fence, not sure if the move is the right thing, but at least you’ll have your stuff with you; your pet, your furniture, your car, you know your stuff! You want to leave but in your heart you don’t want to leave your stuff. Think about what we’re saying here. Contemplate it carefully in your mind and then ask yourself, “am I really ready to make the move without all of my stuff?” If the answer is still no, then you probably won’t like it here in the long run.

Happiness is something that we must search for through our internal spiritual self and when we find it don’t let it go…nurture it…baby it…because no amount of stuff, animals, or different country is going to make us happy.  When we see retirees living here that are happy, content, and not attached to their stuff, they are the ones who were happy and had a positive outlook on life before they moved to Ecuador. They did not move to Ecuador to find happiness they already had it. That’s who will thrive here.

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