By Cathy McKay
OK, I’m here! I’m living in Ecuador! I must say I would have never thought I would be retiring abroad, especially as a single woman. But here I am and what a journey it has been. And after four months it just continues to surprise and challenge me daily.
Everyone’s reasons for moving abroad vary. My decision to make the move started over a year ago with the stark realization that I was most likely not going to be able to retire in the States and have any quality of life.
So now what? I had heard about others retiring for less abroad but never pictured myself being able to do it. After much fretting I went online and Googled “affordable retirement abroad”. Of course there were many options that came up and after reading numerous articles I found that Ecuador seemed to have quite a few attractive options. One, of course, was affordable living.
I honestly can’t remember how I found them but before I knew it I had stumbled on some of the Ecuador Facebook expat exchanges. I have to say that for me, I would not have made the decision to move here without the help and information I received from other expats living in Ecuador.
I was astonished at how eager and willing they were to answer my countless posts asking for information. I often got many differing opinions about issues, sometimes ending a day being totally confused. I started what I called “my perpetual list” and made notes of everything I thought was pertinent for me and believe me, those notes came in handy when the time came to act. Many days, I just read the posts from other expats about issues I had no idea were a part of their daily lives in Ecuador and the solutions offered by their fellow expats. I have to admit that is still a part of my daily life now as I am learning how to adapt to living in this beautiful country.
Moving abroad is a very personal decision. I mentioned that cost of living was an important one for me but there are many other factors that came into play in my decision. It is also a major life-changer. I believe the more practical knowledge you have about where you are moving, the better your chances are of making a smooth, happy transition.
Many expats recommend making a scouting trip and that is a great idea especially if you have not traveled much or lived abroad before. I have mentioned that “cost of living” was a big factor for me as it is for many. I also believe that if you like to travel, enjoy and embrace different cultures, and are willing to adapt you will have a better chance of loving it as opposed to just liking it.
Also read about Cuenca’s expat assistance network.
Cathy McKay hails from Southern California originally. She is a recent addition to Cuenca after retiring from a thirty year career in banking.