F'ing Ecuador

Sept. 19, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Expat Theresa Rall relocated to Quito, Ecuador, 14 years ago and loves everything about her new life.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The goings-on in Quito continue. Among those addressing the attendees at this week's Live and Invest in Ecuador Conference today was American expat Theresa Rall...

"I'm from Nebraska," Theresa began. "I first came to Ecuador 30 years ago as an undergraduate student. Fourteen years ago I came back to live here, and I've been here ever since.

"I'm in the golf business," Theresa continued. "I own pro shops here in Ecuador, and I'm the Titleist distributor.

"How can I help you understand all that Ecuador has to offer and why I've been so happy I've made my home here all these years?

"I've put together a presentation to that end titled:

"'The F-words of Ecuador'...

Starting with: Fun.

"When I first came to this country as a 19 year old, I spent seven months working as an intern. That was a lot of fun. There are all sorts of activities and outdoor things to do here in Ecuador. Ecuador is about as different from Nebraska as you can get. Everything I encountered and experienced way back then as a young girl was new and exciting.

"It's easy to enjoy all the outdoor experiences this country has to offer because the climate here can't be beat, even on our worst days. Some locals will say 'Que frio' when it's 50 degrees or 'Que calorzaso' when it's 78 degrees and sunny. All I can think is, 'Wow, you guys have no idea...'


Day One Of Live And Invest In Ecuador Conference

Taking The Bus And Other Impossible
Misadventures In Ecuador

Sept. 18, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Kali Kucera shares her story of reinventing her life from Seattle, Washington, to Quito, Ecuador.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Kali Kucera is a full-time Quito expat who addressed the group assembled in that city this morning for this week's Live and Invest in Ecuador Conference, making a presentation that he titled:

"Taking The Bus And Other Impossible Misadventures."

"Welcome to Quito," Kali began, "my beloved city that adopted me.

"Welcome to the middle of the world, which on certain days can make you feel like you're on the edge of the planet.

"This is a wonderful city," Kali continued, "of about 27 cities put together. If this is your first time here and you're walking around in Mariscal and feeling overwhelmed, multiply that by 27 to begin to get a real sense of this energetic capital.

"You may be wondering why I chose to title my presentation the way I did. Don't worry, I'm not here to convince you to take the bus or to sell you bus tickets. I'm not even here to convince you to move to Ecuador. Taking the bus is a metaphor that I use for the process of adapting to being an expat.

"And that's what this experience is all about—adaptation. Taking this bus, as I've chosen to do, has been for me a delightful experience that has allowed me to reset my expectations and assumptions about life and living and redefine my understanding of the difference between assumption and reality. Taking this bus has been a catalyst for me to reconsider everything.


Why Retire In Cuenca?

5 Reasons Cuenca Remains A
Top Retire Overseas Choice

Sept. 17, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Five reasons that make Cuenca, Ecuador, a top overseas retirement destination.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Cuenca, Ecuador.

You have heard so much about it. The experts recommend Cuenca, Ecuador, as a fabulous choice for living abroad. The country is mentioned time and again on all the short lists of places to ponder, with Cuenca being the customary crown jewel choice both for retirees and anybody at any age just hoping to escape to a fresh start.

It sounds so exciting, but is it right for you?

Here's your opportunity to hear about what Cuenca has to offer from somebody just like you, rather than another seasoned expert.

I still live in the United States, and, like you, I have been doing research trying to decide if I want to move abroad...and, assuming I do, to where?

Ecuador is currently the top contender on my list, so last month I traveled to Cuenca with one of my daughters and her husband for an initial reconnaissance expedition. My husband and other adult children did not join us; we three were the family's boots-on-the-ground scouts. If we liked what we saw, plans would move forward. If not, it would be back to the drawing board. And the verdict?

We loved it!

So what is so great about Ecuador, Cuenca in particular?


Granada, Nicaragua, Is One Of The World’s Top Travel And...

Playing Hooky In Granada—This Place Gets Under Your Skin

Sept. 16, 2014, Granada, Nicaragua: Granada, Nicaragua, is returning as a top travel, investment and retirement choice.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I felt like a schoolgirl playing hooky. We awoke early Friday morning, dressed, ate, and then, instead of heading to the office, we took off for the airport to catch a flight to Managua. Just Lief and me. No kids. No checked luggage. Not even our laptops. We had planned this quick escape weekend to Nicaragua spur of the moment. We needed to do some scouting in advance of our Live and Invest in Nicaragua Conference in November and rationalized that into a romantic weekend for two in one of our favorite countries, a place where we spent a lot of time early on in our marriage but hadn't returned together in years.

Almost immediately upon arrival, it all came back, all the reasons I like this country as much as I do. Nicaragua is naturally and dramatically beautiful, but lots of places are beautiful. What sets Nicaragua apart is its heart. You get the feeling, spending time here, that this country is always trying really hard to pick itself up and carry on...to make things better.

Nicaragua and its people have struggled in ridiculous ways over the past 100-plus years. Pre-1900 Nicaragua was on a track to prosperity. Then a series of events took place that, when you study them now, in hindsight, defy understanding or explanation, leave you shaking your head in despair.

That's the effect Nicaragua's story over the past century has on me anyway.

Not the Nicaraguans, though. Their collective struggles haven't left them bitter or despairing but resilient and resourceful. They are also, I was reminded all weekend, surprisingly when you think about all that they have lived through, big-hearted, friendly, and quick with a smile. Gatekeepers and waitresses, taxi drivers and street vendors, businessmen and bankers...they are all cheerful and pleasant with a sense of humor that helps them, I guess, to keep things in perspective. When we passed one of the many posters around Managua showing President Daniel Ortega promising great things in 2014, I asked our Nicaraguan driver what these billboards were all about. What's going on in 2014, in particular, I wondered.

"Nada," he replied with a chuckle. "It's just propaganda."

Speaking more practically, what's the scene in Nicaragua today?


Living, Retiring, And Investing In San Juan Del Sur And Granada...

Nicaragua Is Cheap, Yes, But
It's Also So Much More...

Sept. 15, 2014
Granada, Nicaragua

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I traveled to Nicaragua this past weekend for the first time since 2006. That's the year, coincidentally, when Daniel Ortega was re-elected this country's president. He's since been elected for a second consecutive term in 2011 and sits as Nicaragua's president today.

It was lack of time that kept me from returning to Nicaragua these past eight years. Just too many other places I had to be. For many, though, Ortega has been the deterrent. He was, after all, the leader of the Sandinistas, the group that ousted the dictator Samoza back in 1979, and the same guy who, then, once in power, confiscated land and redistributed it to the poor. Investors had concerns.

Then came the global downturn that started in 2008. In its wake, both investors and tourists were even thinner on the ground in this country.

Seeing the volume of traffic in Granada this weekend, I think it's safe to say that the tourists have returned full force. A new (well, new to me) pedestrian street lined with restaurants extends now from Granada's main square toward Lake Nicaragua and was crowded with people every time I passed. Many new hotels have opened in this city in the last eight years. However, more important, the hotels I remember from 2006 are still there. They survived the downturn.

I don't think this little colonial city has seen as much activity as it is seeing right now at any other time during its almost 500-year history. Based on my conversations over the three days, it's not only tourists who are feeling comfortable enough to give Nicaragua another chance. It's investors, too.

Everyone I met with—expats, business owners, and those in the real estate industry—assured me that the market is returning. Sales are being made at greater rates than at any time since 2008. After almost eight years in office this time, Ortega hasn't made a move against anybody's property. As the book I'm reading on Nicaragua's history over the last 100 years puts it, today's Ortega is not 1970s Ortega. Ortega today is the capitalist version of a Sandinista, with an appreciation of the importance of personal property rights.


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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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