Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Second Step

Am I dreaming, or is this really happening? Kelli and Terry are driving down from Missouri to help us pack and downsize, so that in six months I can officially leave for my new home in Ecuador and begin writing (Pauline you better hurry or I will beat you to the finish line and publish first!)!

Tracy is filled with positive vibes for the first time in quite a while (Trust me young lady this experience will make you forget your problems in California--I will personally see to that!). We actually had a great conversation for almost two hours, in regard to our move to Ecuador. Tracy, you just need to bear in mind that we have "limited" funds and will have to prioritize our cap-ex expenditures (Ha! Ha!).

Everyone has a ton of creative juices flowing and ideas are bouncing around like tennis balls. A conversation initiated with the great patrons of "The Voices of Cocoa Beach" have displayed a keen interest in the organic farm idea (Build it and they will come). Omar and I will design our first exploratory trip in October, this coming week. Hopefully our great government can get my passport back to me in the 10 weeks I am allowing. If not, I will be rather upset and more than likely unkind with my communications.

I have grown attracted to Cuenca (even though my first desire is Salinas and the beach). I hope Jimmy Buffett is listening-Ha!--Maybe he can add a Margaritaville Cafe in Salinas. Unless Omar objects, I plan to start in the direction of Cuenca (after spending our obligatory evening in Guayaquil), visit the coast and hit the Santa Rosa and Machala area (debating on a side trip to Vilcabamba) and return to Guayaquil for a night or two.

The next day we can head out to Salinas and hopefully spend several days with Amy and see if there are any desirable and affordable properties "On the Beach". From there we should head up the coast and hit Montanita, Puerto Lopez, Manta and the Bahia de Caraquez area. We will hit Jama if we have the time. I think Gary dominates this area if I am not incorrect (or Pablo).

Regardless, I also want to look at small farms available for organic crops that are in operation and have some system of guaranteed contracts, that will at least provide a limited income to start with. The last perspective is looking at bed and breakfast operations or small hotels that have restaurants, bars and any other amenities and will not require "Too Much In Upgrades".

I mention these locations, as there is a wonderful ex-pat community in Ecuador, that treats each other like family. I cannot join these individuals fast enough. I know that by issuing this post I will receive varied feedback, that is actually "helpful" and will accommodate our needs. I also have to bear in mind that I need enough choices on the table to ensure that the family has options, when they visit for the first time in December. Everyone will be on this tour, including our Grande Dame or Matriarch Marcy (possibly the greeter at the bed and breakfast, if this materializes)!

In addition I now have to acquire a realtor and lawyer, that come highly recommended by large contingency of trustworthy ex-pats, as it is the hugest portion of the formula. I will welcome all recommendations and references. I do not want to contribute to some bandit's lifestyle and have my funds used for his or her vacation.

Lastly I have to thank Dr. Jane Lyons of Mindo Bird Tours ( ). Dr. Lyons has lived in Ecuador after graduating from the University of Texas in Austin (Hook 'em) and is an aunt of one of my son's significant other. She has persevered my incessant emails and question about Ecuador and has been a tremendous aid. If you read this and are a bird watching fan, please join her and allow her highly trained staff to guide you through tours in various countries. I am trying to see if we can visit her for a night or two and meet her face to face. Muchas Gracias Jane.

October cannot get here soon enough and I welcome any comments, suggestions or options of individuals to work with as the process begins.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A New Chapter

Dear friends and family,
It is time to turn the page and start a new chapter in our lives. I have been unemployed for around four months and have diligently completed applications, worked with a vast array of recruiters and suffered monumental discrimination from my age, my lack of a degree and my disability with my back. It is most obvious that after forty years in retail and twenty in an executive position, that my appeal has been voided. We have come to the conclusion that I should retire and collect Social Security.

Now comes the fun part. Can Kim and I survive on this meager stipend in the good old USA. The answer is no and an emphatic one at that. Trying to go into business a couple of years ago, exhausted all retirement monies and we simply cannot live on the monthly funding from our government.

Therefore I have researched a location that we can survive, with low medical costs, inexpensive food and a cost of living that is almost criminal in nature. Ecuador will allow us to live on the beach (a passion we both observe), eat fresh seafood and retire in semi comfort. I know this will startle most of you that have known us over the years and realize how important family has been.

Kim will remain in Texas and work until she turns 62 and we will have a long distance relationship (Not the first time. We actually lived 3,000 miles apart when we started dating in 1976). The real truth is that our family is spreading out. The boys are creating lives of their own and it is time that Kim and I settle down where we can be happy, relieve stress and I can become a writer.

I have had a passion for writing, gained from my journalistic father and some say I am fairly talented at it. Who knows? In the end the public will tell me if I am full of garbage or have an ability to scribe my thoughts in a manner that will produce income for us.

The thing is that when I mentioned this to members of my immediate family and a close friend, their feedback was positive and some wanted to join in on the escape! One of my dearest friends is actually accompanying me the first time I venture into the unknown.

Kim and I have discussed trying to purchase a small bed and breakfast. My sister-in-law and husband have brought the prospect of running a small organic tomato farm (already operational) to the table and the possibilities are endless (as long as everyone understands my immediate mission is to write).

I am in the process of placing my thoughts together and have already started three books (It was two until my experience with age and the other discrimination faced recently). I do have a new energy and am more excited about this chapter of my life than I have been in some time. I will add blogs from time to time (if you care to follow then feel free to add yourself to my "followers") and try to keep everyone stateside up to date.

I wish each and every one of you a prosperous, blessed and happy life. I sincerely thank each of you for your friendship and support over the years. May you find peace and may you remain blissful and full of life as we head into our golden years.