A few months ago my family and I decided to go to Ecuador for six months. This obviously brought about a lot of questions from family, friends and anyone who heard about what we were doing. Most people wanted to know “WHY??”. I figured what better way to start the blog than by answering most of these questions (This will likely span multiple posts. You have been warned!).
Question #1 – Why are you leaving?
There isn’t really a simple answer and truly there are multiple reasons. Earlier this year our family went to Mexico. The weather was amazing. We spent a lot of time together. We were able to just relax. We started talking about simplifying. We discussed how our society is so built around consumerism and the building of wealth. I understand that we need money to sustain our basic needs. However, research has shown that money doesn’t really buy happiness (Shocking, I know).
Mike and I watched a documentary on Netflix called ‘Happiness’ a few months ago. It echoed so many of the sentiments we had voiced. The documentary interviewed people all around the globe. The recurring ‘theme’ that stuck out to me was that people who were truly happy had good relationships and enjoyed what they did in life. They were not supremely wealthy, but all their needs were met. A study in the documentary showed that once people hit about $50k a year in income, their happiness started to plateau. Then the more it went it up, their happiness actually declined. So what happens when we get more money? We tend to buy more ‘toys’, bigger homes, better cars, more stuff for our bigger homes, etc. We don’t always have the cash to pay for these things up front. So, we go into debt for them. This causes us to feel the need to work more to pay for this stuff. We get raises. Buy more stuff and so the vicious cycle goes on and on.
I digress a little
One of our desires in going to Ecuador was to have our children realize that there was a lot more to life than ‘things’. We are constantly being bombarded with ads and billboards trying to entice us into our next purchase. We wanted to give our children an opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture, learn a new language, and help them realize that the world is so much bigger than just their little corner of it. We talked about how much stuff we had in our house that had not been touched in months (or longer). Thus the reason we decided to ‘cleanse’ our home. Trust me…even with this cleansing, we still managed to fill up a 10×10 storage unit top to bottom (that is not including all the stuff we stored at my parents). For the record, we aren’t leaving forever. Three months, six months tops. However, there is always that possibility that we get there and never want to leave lol! So, I’m not making any promises.
Question #2 – Why Ecuador?
In the midst of all these sporadic discussions, Mike read an article about the top places to live abroad and Ecuador always ranked in the top 10.
Question #3 – Is it safe to live there?
Ecuador is ranked 83 out of 162 on the Global Peace Index. Whereas the US is ranked 99. (http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#/page/indexes/global-peace-index). Like any place you live, there will be parts of town you don’t go to. There will be places that have more crime than others.
Stay tuned for Part 2!