moving to cuenca ecuador

Why I Left: My Journey To Cuenca Part 1

[color-box color=”gray”][dropcap] Join[/dropcap] Ed O’Connor or Eddy The Ex Pat as he retells the story behind  moving to Cuenca Ecuador. Ed writes a monthly column for his hometown newspaper in Middletown, PA – The Press & Journal.  This article is the first in the series so stay tuned for the continuation. [/color-box]

An Idea Was Planted

In retrospect the journey “HERE” really began in 2010 when a friend from church, Bill, mentioned that he was thinking about traveling to another country and possibly buying a home. We were both very disenchanted with the United States and the oppressive government which we saw as only getting worse. In fact my wife, Olga, who was born in Siberia, raised in the former Soviet Union, said that she felt she had more freedom in the Soviet Union than in the USA – a very eye opening statement for me to hear.

Bill went to Panama and indeed purchased a beautiful property in a most exclusive area of that country. He and his wife invited us for a visit and in March 2011, we winged our way from Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg International Airport to Panama City, Panama. After a 90 minute commute from Panama City we arrived at Bill’s new home, a large, beautiful complex complete with pool and swim up bar in a gated community in Coronado Beach.

[pullquote]  We spent 10 days in Panama and after returning to the US really had something to think about. [/pullquote] We knew we could not afford anything near that lifestyle plus the weather was hotter than the hinges of hell there, so we searched online for an alternative location in Panama and found Boquete. It was in the mountains hence the climate was bearable and it was also was much more affordable. We bought books about Panama, books about retiring abroad, and studied what we could find on the Internet.

We both had jobs so there was no real urgency to do anything or make any plans, but it was fun to dream.

The Start Of Moving To Cuenca Ecuador

Then came April Fool’s Day.

On April 1, 2011, the supervisor where I worked said that he needed to see me. I was told that the company no longer required my services. I thought it was an April Fool’s joke – it definitely was not. At age 64 I was unemployed.

To put the proverbial icing on the cake, the Tuesday after Labor Day, September 6, 2011, 5 months after losing my job, we lost our home and possessions in the flood waters of Tropical Storm Lee. After applying for 101 jobs and receiving but one interview I figured that there had to be something better somewhere. So back to the books and the Internet. We noticed that the cost of living was rising in Panama and since we would have only one income, my social security, Panama was no longer an option. Now what do we do?   After months and months of more research we decided on moving to Cuenca Ecuador.

We departed from Harrisburg International Airport on December 11, 2012 with nothing but faith and nine pieces of luggage. 2989 miles later we were “HERE” in Cuenca, Ecuador. Ironically we arrived on 12/12/12/ at 12 noon.

Cuenca has been consistently named as one of the top locations in the world in which to retire and after living here for almost four years I must whole heartedly agree.  In moving to Cuenca Ecuador many people have said we were foolish, insane and other adjectives I cannot use. Probably the biggest response and question we have heard is,

Why would you leave the number one country in the world and move to a third world country, Ecuador?

I have been asked that by friends, relatives, tourists, print and video journalists. What an easy question to answer!   After working for nearly 50 years, including four years in the military, I was totally disillusioned with the US regimes at every level telling me how to live every aspect of my government regulated life and being taxed into poverty.

Whats In A Number?

Is the USA Number One – you bet it is- it ranks number one in the world in:

[color-box color=”green”]

1.) Largest prison population on the planet

2.) 2nd highest percentage of obese people of any country (Mexico has surpassed the US and is now  #1)

3.) Highest divorce rate in the world by a large margin

4.) Most hours of television watched each week

5.) Highest use of illegal drugs on the planet

6.) More car thefts by far than any place in the world

7.) More reported rapes than any place else in the world

8.) More reported murders than any other country

9.) More reported crimes than any other country

10.) More police officers than any place else in the world

11.) More money spent on health care as a percentage of gross domestic product

12.) More people on pharmaceutical drugs than any other country

13.) More women on more anti-depressants than any other country in the world

14.) Americans have more student loan debt than any other country

15.) The USA created 89 per cent of all pornography

16.) The USA has the highest trade deficit in the world

17.) The USA has the most complicated tax system in the world

18.) The USA has the most lawyers in the world

19.) The USA has far more military bases than any other country

20.) The USA has the largest debt that the world has ever seen[/color-box]
Yes, the USA is NUMBER ONE!!!……………and it is no longer for me!!!  I didn’t leave the country, the country left me!

Since leaving the US and moving to Cuenca Ecuador, I now know how it must have felt to be on a life boat as the Titanic sunk…

[color-box color=”gray”]Stay tuned this Thursday for the next instalment of  Ed O Connor’s Journey in moving to Cuenca Ecuador.  Have something to add?  What was behind your move to Cuenca? Let us know in the comments below.[/color-box]

45 Responses

  1. Happy to comment. Another economic refuge who hates his home country. Hard to read and take. He has gone to Cuenca for what I consider the wrong reasons. He did not come for love of Cuenca, new adventure, experiences, family, or otherwise. No country is perfect including Ecuador.

    1. How pompous, arrogant and condescending. If your reasons for immigrating to Cuenca aren’t on Bill’s approved checklist, well buster, you should just turn around and go home.

      Using Bill’s criteria, the Pilgrims should never have left England, Jews should never have left Germany, and all the _____ [fill in any flavor immigrant nationality you like here] should just stay in their own country regardless of how they feel about its government, economy, morals, ethics, politics or principles.

      The old aphorism certainly applies here– it definitely takes all kinds.

      1. Comparing this to Pilgrims, Jews, is comical at best. How do you arrive at 65 with nothing but social security, and then, as another poster suggested, you take it when you openly admit you hate your home country. Please.

        1. Do a word search in Ed’s article and you won’t find the word “hate” anywhere. It is you and Mary who introduced it to the conversation.
          So I guess if we’re to follow Bill and Mary’s Eleventh Commandment, if you don’t like the way things are going in your home country, just shut up, stay where you are, don’t do anything to improve your status, don’t accept any government benefits regardless of your entitlement to them, and just sit back and admire the nice sewer system you paid for. Oh, and by all means, don’t forget to show your appreciation for all the thousands of bombs that your tax dollars also bought and have been used to kill and maim hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians all across the Middle East. Makes ya’ proud to be an American, don’t it?

          1. Social Security is not an entitlement, it is paid for over a life time of work, it is earned

      2. I’m not sure what upset Carlos. I’m 5 years older than Ed and the US has changed drastically over my lifetime. I moved to Cuenca a year after he did and totally agree with everything he is saying, both about Cuenca and the US. Actually, he has stated why the US is number 1 and what it’s number 1 in with an itemized list. I love Cuenca. Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to return to the US, but then left for Canada, as the US has become a police state always looking for anther war, which is not the US I grew up in. Three cheers for Cuenca and any American who wakes up and does something about it.

        1. Bill Easley, There is no question the US is less than perfect. So is Canada (health care), Ecuador (freedom of speech, economy), I could go on. I do love Cuenca, but I love the US for all it offers too. I like Canada too. But none are perfect, and I am not defending the bad things that happen in the US, only that it is still one of the best countries in the world. What scares me a little is your statement that you want to go back to the way it was years ago. So does Trump. I want to move forward not backward

        2. Note to Bill Easley: Please re-read my comments. They were not directed at Ed (the author of the piece) but rather at Bill Fox’s criticism of Ed found in the comment immediately above mine. FWIW, I generally agree with your sentiments about the United States and the direction it has taken for many, many years.

          To Bill Fox: I don’t believe I ever indicated that I thought you were retired. In fact, my impression has always been that you divided your time between Cuenca and Vermont and that you probably were not retired. As for your comment about **** happens and disliking the US, please try telling that to the millions of innocent civilians we have killed, maimed or ruined for life due to our insane and completely illegitimate wars in the Middle East, Viet Nam, Somalia, Serbia, the Levant, Maghreb and dozens of other locations around the world.

          Try reading Stephen Kinzer’s book “Overthrow; America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq” and then tell me again why I shouldn’t be ashamed of the despicable interventions we have conducted across the globe for no reason other than empire building and corporate greed. All while printing money like crazy and saddling our posterity with mountains of debt.

          Just as one small example, in May of 1996, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Madeleine Albright, who at the time was Bill Clinton’s U.N. ambassador. Correspondent Leslie Stahl said to Albright, “We have heard that a half-million children have died [in Iraq]. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And — and, you know, is the price worth it?”

          Albright replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”

          Gee, why should anyone in the world dislike the USA? Maybe we should have just sent Bill over there to tell the parents of all those innocent kids, “Gee. tough toenails, guys. **** happens.”

          Not in my name please.

          1. By no means am I defending the stupid things that the US has done. lets get that clear right off the bat. I hated those wars, but they do not define the US in and of themselves. Frankly this has been an interesting discussion, but I am tiring of it now, and in the minority anyway, no need to argue anymore, someone implied I was retired and I do not have the energy to go back to the long thread and find out who. For me time to move on.

          2. Bill Fox:

            You said, “I hated those wars, but they do not define the US in and of themselves.”

            Try telling that to the millions upon millions of people abroad (and in the US) who suffered unconscionably because of those inane wars. For many people in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia, that is all they know of the US. But they hate us for our freedom, don’t you know.

            You also said, “Frankly this has been an interesting discussion, but I am tiring of it now.”

            Me too. But at least it’s been a welcome respite from the total clown car parade they call a presidential campaign. What an embarrassment. And what a choice– a pathological liar and dangerous warmonger [Clinton], a narcissistic egotistical ignoramus [Trump], a clueless doper [Johnson], or a socialist dreamer who at least eschews war but stands zero chance of being elected {Stein]. Can I please vote “none of the above?”

    2. Hey Bill, I’m not here to judge, I’m here to LIVE! I absolutely thrive here in Ecuador. My life is peaceful and calm. I don’t rush to get anywhere and I absolutely love it here. I guess some would say that I too, am an economic refugee and that doesn’t really bother me. You are right that no place is perfect, but Ecuador seems to be as perfect as can be (for me and my husband). However, Ed is also right. You can’t deny the things he listed about the USA. He came here for the “otherwise” reason you listed. I hope you are happy here and are enjoying the reasons you gave for moving, ie. new adventures, experiences, family, etc. I didn’t come here for those reasons, but I certainly enjoy them!

    3. Your take on this couple’s situation is quite myopic, not to mention absurdly judgmental. Who knows what sort of life circumstances that he and his wife were faced with financially or otherwise? Why is it that you feel qualified to judge? Is because you are “hurt” by his honest appraisal of the current state of affairs with the U.S? Get over it. If you can’t see that there has been a growing confluence of problems with our system, then you are clearly part of the problem. People like you are bound to eat whatever is shoveled your way simply because it’s “the patriotic thing to do.” You should understand though, any legitimate status as a patriot, does not preclude you from the status of “fool.” No country is indeed perfect, but I can’t remember the last time I heard the phrase, “Ecuadorian Exceptionalism.” Now, that’s probably for good reason(s), but I’m sure that not the least of which of those is a national sense of grounding and humility and also, the lack of compulsion to perpetrate a notion that has become a lie over the last 40 years. How could you be so complicit with American Exceptionalism when we are told that we can’t afford a national health care initiative and yet, seem to raise military spending every few years? We are being gaslighted upon a monumental scale and this is but one of the conditions that Ed is referring toward. Mark Twain once quipped, “I am loyal to my country always, and loyal to my government when it deserves it.” You could take some lessons from Mr. a great a figure of American literature as there ever was.

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventure to Cuenca and look forward to hearing more! The 20 Points were eyeopeners and you did not even mention the gun problem and all the mass shootings

  3. Have to disagree with Bill. I’ve lived in a lot of places, and sometimes it’s not for love, but because it’s better. In my younger days, the definition of “better” changed. Early on it revolved around a better job, then better schools and neighborhoods. Did I “love” each one…nope. But it was better than the last. And if it turned out it wasn’t, then I moved again.

    Ed’s journey is about survival, pure and simple. Sometimes survival and love don’t mix, but let’s ask Ed:

    Ed, forgetting the reasons you moved to Cuenca, would you say that you now love it or are you just surviving?

  4. You hate the USA but you still collect your social security check? Many of your points are very true (prison population, weird tax laws, obesity) but ‘reported rapes’, ‘reported theft”, reported, reported…………many, many countries a woman would NEVER report but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Yes, medical care is insanely expensive, university debt is huge……..but if you were afraid you had a fatal illness, would you go to IESS or would you go to USA and use Medicare?
    Don’t trash the USA and then collect your social security……..yes you earned it but your taxes also built schools, repaired roads, upgraded the sewage system……..and, as an aside………when your home and belongings got trashed by the storm I bet you collected on that insurance you bitched about paying all those years.

    1. the Magic word is “paid”. he and his employer paid for SSA (and the USA government did not pay for his service time back in those days). he also paid for property insurance, assuming he had it. his employer paid into Unemployment as part of his benefits (whether they wanted to or not). and so, why would he not collect what he paid to receive?

    2. Mary, so many areas to correct your line of thinking. Look, your point is taken about reports of rape and crime in general..but look, the numbers out of the U.S. are nothing to sneeze at. The U.S. is a country that is supposed to be lower on Ed’s list of infamy. The idea of “American Exceptionalism,” is simply and plainly over wrought. This is a lie that the establishment uses on the indoctrinated citizens of the U.S. in order to counter those who might…like…you know…make America better. The U.S. is run by an established political duopoly, which in turn, is run by the aggregate collection of big business oligarchies. This is a problem for most who wish to work and live in America. Much has been made of the 1% and the 9.9%. This is for a reason. Because it exists. This is not “American Exceptionalism.” The need for constantly fortified (funded) military bases all over world is not “American Exceptionalism.” It is American Imperialism. Please wake up. Our nation has been hijacked. The least you could do is commit respect to those like Ed and his wife; people who refuse to abide by the terms of this govt. takeover that is 4 decades in the making.

      And btw, you DO realize that social security payouts are an annuity of OUR MONEY, don’t you? Ever since I’ve had my first job at age 15, I’ve paid into social security. The LEAST that the govt. can do is give it back to me when I’m in my 60’s…after 4 plus decades of using it! When conservatives label social security payments, “entitlements,” I don’t have a damn idea what they could be talking about.

  5. Wish both of you all the best in your new life in Cuenca, Ed and Olga. I now hope you fall in love with Ecuador!
    We have been here 5 years… and keep discovering its soul and beauty. Nope, it’s not perfect, but it’s really
    wonderful — especially if you can see beyond surface appearances (as North America is fixated on). If you
    embrace it, it will embrace YOU. If you learn Spanish, ask lots of questions, and look with your hearts… you
    won’t be disappointed.

  6. IMO, the cost of LIVING is an important and viable reason for moving to Ecuador. I left the states on 3/28/14 to move to Ecuador and my main reason was financial. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard or read that this is the wrong reason for moving to Ecuador. All I can say is, who are YOU to judge my reasons (or anyone else’s) for moving here? I wasn’t LIVING in the States… I was surviving. I wanted early retirement, a relaxing life, a beautiful place to live, and no financial worries. I got that and more when I moved to Ecuador. I’m currently living just on the outskirts of Cuenca, in a little town called El Valle. I “work” one day a week teaching English and I absolutely love my life now more than I have in a long time. My husband and I have been to Olon, Manta, Machala, Guayaquil, Loja, the Cajas National Park, Vilcabamba, and many other places I can’t remember the names of. This is what I consider LIVING! We could not afford to do this while we were in the States and our lives became the “rat race” that we all hear about. In the States, we would go somewhere for vacation ONCE a year, but now every day feels like a vacation and being able to explore Ecuador every other month is a huge part of our LIVING. We splurged on a vehicle to accommodate the way we want to live and we couldn’t be happier. I flew back to Texas this past July and all I could think about was getting back ‘home’ to Ecuador. Thank you for the article, Edy. It seems that you and Olga, regardless of your reasons for moving here, are very happy and have made Cuenca your home. I look forward to your next article.

    1. That is fine, but when expats trash the US I get angry, and to take SS adds insult to injury. How bad was living in the US, were you persecuted, live with crive, did you get an education, have a job, family ?? You obviously accumulated enough to have the freedom to move, look around you, a lot of Ecuadorians will never have that. When people trash the US I will defend, it is not perfect, but then neither is EC, or any other country for that matter.

      1. First of all, if Edy had left out the list of the so called bad things about the US, I would probably not have bothered to comment at all. Whether they are true or not makes o difference to me, we could come up with bad things about Ecuador too, we could start with free speech, or lack thereof,,,,, but I will not go there, I like both EC and the US. I knew my post would be unpopular, but I do not care one bit, I think that both countries have issues and we should count our blessing either way.

        I am not defending the bad policies that are in the US, such as bombing in the middle east there Carlos. But I will defend my home country which is a diverse mix of people and do not forget people from around the world come there to live a dream, and that includes Ecuadorians too, some of whom have or are returning with pretty fat wallets, thanks to the opportunity in the US.

        1. I don’t see where anyone is trashing the USA. the things listed are real. don’t have figures, but I kind of think teen pregnancy is up there too. you can’t make a country better by ignoring its faults. the absurdity of refusing SSA for which he and his company paid because he finds fault in the government compares to refusing to accept pay for work done if you don’t like the company.

      2. I was just talking to my hubby about this the other day. I said that it seems like Ecuadorians must really thrive when they go to the States because they are so used to living in poverty that they could handle living in deplorable conditions in NY (seems that’s where they usually go) AND still send money back to family in Ecuador. After about 7 years (seems to be the average from those I’ve talked to), they return to Ecuador in a much better financial situation. I say good for them! But for me, that’s just not living. I was driving an hour to get to work and two hours to get home, 5 days a week. Then on the weekends, I was grading papers and making lesson plans. It just never seemed to stop and I didn’t see it changing anytime soon. Our house was paid for, the kids are grown, and we just wanted an easier life sooner rather than later. I’m not eligible to collect SS yet, but when I am, I will definitely accept it. I won’t get much because teachers in Texas don’t pay into SS and don’t collect SS. Living in the US means you HAVE TO work. Here in Ecuador, I CHOOSE to work (and only 1 day a week). I wasn’t persecuted, but I did live with crime (2 cars broken into, 1 car stolen, purse/ID stolen, held at knife-point when I was younger), I paid for my education after high school (no gov’t loans), I worked at fast-food, sales, banking, and of course the schools. Yep, I have a family and I have scrimped and saved, cut coupons, bought groceries only on double- or triple-coupon days, prepared meals at home, kept cars for minimum 15 years before even thinking of buying another one and I have definitely been blessed to have been able to afford a roof over my head, food in my belly, and clothes on my back. I’ve also been blessed that I’ve never lost everything due to flood, fire, or hurricane. I know plenty of people who have, and to see all their belongings either charred from fire or ruined by water is devastating. I have never walked in those shoes, but I have empathy for those who have. I think this may be what Ed’s story is about. He lost his job (and it’s not easy getting a job at 64 yrs old), he lost his home and belongings, and those two things right there is enough to make your mind think some pretty negative thoughts. People get desperate when there’s no income and they see their life savings quickly dwindling down to nothing, until they HAVE to make a decision about what to do. I don’t really know, becasue like I said, I’ve never walked in those shoes. I love the United States, but I also love Ecuador. I am a permanent resident of Ecuador, but I haven’t given up my US citizenship and probably never will. So I will continue to pay taxes to the US and hope that it keeps the neighborhoods where I have rental property safe 🙂

        1. Deplorable compared to what ? Nobody forced people to go to the US to make a living. People move and send money back to the home country all the time. It is called making a sacrifice short term for the long term benefit.

          The level of crime you experienced was pretty much nothing. Your choice of career was yours alone. It is hard to empathize with teachers who work 9 months a year on average.

          So with all due respect, not sure what your point is. But I will tell you, breaking a long post into paragraphs makes it much easier to read. Simply use control return to do so. Good luck in EC, I too love both, and although I might be critical of certain things, I would never trash it like the author did.

          1. Bill, I don’t know you and I can only guess at your personality based on your comments. You began by name calling (economic refugee). I suppose this was due to your anger because you felt like Ed was trashing the US, from your perspective. From my perspective, he was just pointing out some negatives about the US. He only listed 20, and we all know there are many more.

            Then you were “insulted” that he takes SS. He paid into a system and has earned that money. He has the right to it no matter where he lives. I’m not sure why that added “insult to injury”. How does that affect you?

            “The level of crime you experienced was pretty much nothing.” Maybe not to you, but it was emotionally traumatic for me. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I was also held at gunpoint during a bank robbery. It seems that you don’t have empathy for others. Maybe you do, but your comments don’t reflect that.

            “Deplorable compared to what?” Well, I have seen houses here that are made of mud with a corrugated sheet-metal roof or worse, with no running water or electricity and families are living in them. I consider that deplorable and I would not live like that if I didn’t absolutely have to. So when an Ecuadorian in those living conditions can somehow make it to the States, then they are not looking for a hi-rise apartment to spend their money on. They can live anywhere cheap, pay very little for their expenses, but make good money and send the money home. I was just posting that I did not consider that living.

            I know that you find it hard to have empathy for teachers who you think work 9 months a year on average. Maybe some do, but we work 7 days a week and we bring our work home with us. Yes, we get to take off from teaching during the summer, but trust me, we are not ‘off’. We are required to attend seminars and continue our education to educate your children (if you have any).

            You are “not sure what your point is”, well Bill, you asked about me being persecuted, living with crime, getting an education, etc., and so I was responding… that was the point.

            Thanks for pointing out that you needed an easier format and that I, of course, was doing it wrong. I guess everyone has to be good at something and you are very good at criticizing.

            Have a great day, Bill! 🙂

          2. Michelle-
            Touche! Your parting comments did an excellent job slicing and dicing Bill’s snark with surgical precision.
            My wife and I read your comments and absolutely loved them. And, for what it’s worth, we had no problem whatsoever reading them regardless of the format. 🙂
            We particularly identified with your comments about visiting Texas and being eager to get “back home” to Ecuador.
            We are also campesinos living just a little further down the via El Valle from you in Santa Ana and are also from Texas. Maybe we’ll cross paths one of these days–we always enjoy meeting kindred spirits!

      3. Ecuador es un pais mi pais demanos abiertas y de respeto a los migrantes de cualquier parte aqui uds no veran a un fanatico cogiendo una ametralladora y matando a cientos, aqui ud encontrara a gente trabajadora sencilla y sin mayores oportunidades de las cosas que si posee USA y que nosotros carecemos. No hay pais perfecto lo se, pero si no hay dinero del trabajo, abundara la pobreza y la delincuencia. lo unico que me irrita a mi es que uds hagan listas de descredito contra los ecuatorianos que les sirven buscandoles apartamentos a uds, muchos sin referencias , algo que no ocurre en USA, alla nadie les abre las puertas como nosotros, yo no entiendo la razon de esas listas mal intencionadas con el unico deseo de desacreditar, sin conocer la historia mas alla del nombre, Por lo demas uds no son culpables de las politicas migratorias de USA, y que existen, pero solo les recuerdo aqui cualquiera puede aplicar y tener su estadia legal, y no ser inmigrante indocumentado Algo de lo que no ocurre en USA, porque solo la aplicacion supera los mil dolares, sin contar con todos los money order por cada tramite en cantidades que ascienden a cerca de los usd 7000 que se necesitan para regularizarse en su pais, ademas del abogado que sin contemplaciones les piden por honorarios a los compatriotas ecuatorianos hasta de usd 5000 y todo eso conlleva anos de trabajo con sacrificios de gente pobre y sin mayor educacion.
        Uds agradezcan a su seguro social o a sus ahorros , que les da la vida facil que llevan aqui y agradezcan a la vida o a Dios si en el creen que a su vejez un pais pequeño y su gente los acoge sin perjuicios y sin mayores requisitos. Aqui hay paz y alimentos sanos y si esto no es la gloria es cerca de ella. Ecuador es la mejor opcion sin duda!

  7. Hey Carlos, that’s pretty cool! What part of Texas did you live in? We lived in Katy, Texas which is just 15 miles west of Houston. I had to drive from I-10 to 45N to get to work and the traffic was pretty bad. Also had to leave at 5 am to get to work on time and usually stayed late at work to try to let traffic die down. So glad I’m not doing that anymore!

    Glad you liked my comments and I appreciate the feedback. Sometimes I get carried away when I get on my soapbox, but I try not to offend others when I’m doing so. As we say in Texas, “Y’all take care, now”! 🙂

  8. <hi — I just got here and need info on the possibiity of altitude affecting sleep apnea, or a doctor{s name who can deal with it. hope to hear from you.
    i like your comments –no place is perfect, for sure, but i feel like i have a better chance of living well enough here than i did in california. cost of living was astronomical and getting worse all the time. i am happy to miss the preelection debates too.´plus i have old friends here in ecuador and am glad to see them. Your Comment

  9. Thank you for the various comments in response to my article. I don’t hate my country of birth. Do I have disdain for the government that has ruined what was once the greatest country on earth? Yes, I do. Was I, am I disillusioned and disenchanted with the USA? Yes. I have never enjoyed living anywhere more in my life than here in Cuenca. I love it. Every day is another adventure. By the way, Mary would have lost her bet. We bought our home in 2009 and lost it in 2011. We had paid two years of our 15 year mortgage. The only insurance we received was the amount to satisfy the mortgage company, and I never complained about paying the premium. It is interesting how some of the respondents know more about me and my life than I do – and they never met me. I will have to borrow their crystal ball……….Ed

    1. Ed, I’m so glad you came back to the post to give us, even more, details about your life (even though for most of us it wasn’t necessary). Like you and Olga, my mom came for a one-month visit and fell in love with Ecuador and the relaxed lifestyle we were living. She has a mortgage, which takes HALF of her SS, and could not find work so she resorted to cleaning her friend’s houses for supplemental income. She is a very active 73-year-old. She saw first-hand that if two people could thrive here on a very modest income, that she could be living like royalty here and never have to worry about her finances again. So we made a plan for her to do what we are doing. She will rent her home for twice the amount of her mortgage which means she will collect her SS, PLUS an additional $700 a month from the tenants. Her mortgage will be paid and she won’t have to worry about the $400 a month (summer) utilities. She will be making more income than me and my husband do! She is currently getting her affairs in order and will be coming here next year. I can hardly wait!!

      Oh, and as a bonus, when she arrived her ankles were so swollen it was painful for me to look at them. Within two weeks, I could see her ankle bones. All the swelling had gone! She was going to have surgery in the States to reduce all this inflammation but has now decided to save the money and put it towards the move to Ecuador. Better health, better lifestyle, fresher food, beautiful scenery, (I could go on and on) what’s not to love about Ecuador.

      Keep the articles coming, Ed. I really enjoyed this one and look forward to the next installment. Last, but certainly not least, Thank you for your service. Men like your kept our country and our families safe. God bless 🙂

  10. Ed, first thank you for sharing your life openly and candidly with us as you did.
    As for the preposterous comments Bill made and to which I feel revulsion, they have elicited the perfect solution:
    All emigration requests to Ecuador should be pre-approved by that “Pundit”.
    We all have our reasons for coming to Ecuador, no matter what! That is our own business and no one else. Who is so mighty to judge another’s decision or state of affairs?
    Please, grow up, learn tolerance and harmony, most of us at this age (assuming you are retired) have long-learned to do it.
    As for me, I will shrug-off this morning reading and enjoy my wonderful retirement time in Cuenca.
    Carpe diem!

  11. People that think like Mr. Fox are intellectually bankrupt. How can one defend the indefensible? What is his defense, . . . acknowledging that all the items cited are true, except that one is “running away” but still accepting the benefits?

    People all over the world move (aka, run away) from a situation that is not acceptable to a place that is more acceptable or an improvement in their life. People in the US move from one neighborhood to another for a better school or house, move to a better town for a better job, move to a different state for a better job, or climate, or living conditions, or economics. It’s the same all over the world. Does Mr. Fox condemn the vast number of immigrants that came to the US in the last century, or are now being allowed to pour in unfettered, and for all the wrong reasons? The modern day expats are no different, . . . it just so happens that it’s a different country than his beloved USA. As such, I will ask, what is so beloved about the USA now that fosters this blind, naïve “patriotism”?

    From a conservative perspective, all of the reasons that made the USA into the world’s greatest country no longer exist, namely personal freedoms, economic freedoms, and most of all, . . . limited government.

    But now, due entirely to corruption in government, progressive ideology has taken over, dominating education and the press, taking advantage of human nature, resulting to its goal of subverting the individual and creating dependency on the government, while the personal greed of the people in power has allowed the personal greed of their chosen ones in the private sector that line their pockets to flourish (ie, Wall Street, the banks), have allowed jobs to leave this country due to corrupt trade deals, and has accumulated the insurmountable debt and deficits that has eroded personal wealth for most.

    The items cited by the article are just the consequences of the corrupt actions of the progressive government and the resulting lack of personal responsibility, accountability of the citizens, erosion of the rules that govern an orderly society, and the now blatant disregard for the rule of law. How can such conditions be defended?

    The normalcy bias in the US is a mirage, thinking that “things” will get better, just because it hasn’t happened. World history shows that all such societies that have diminished the way that the US has eventually collapse, as has occurred in a number of countries. Read and study history. The US is not unique in this respect. To make matters worse, much of the modern world suffers from the same conditions, so, there is no entity left to rescue. The data indicate that the situation will not be fixed. It will get worse before it gets better.

    The expats are the modern day pioneers, leaving the comfort and “normalcy bias” of the settled “east”, moving “west” for that better opportunity.

    I admire those with the objectivity to see the condition of their own situation and that of the country for what it currently is, rather than blindly hide in the “normalcy bias” of the past, recognize what needs to be done to improve their personal situation, and the courage to act to make that improvement happen, no matter what or where that may be.

    In spite of Mr. Fox’s personal attacks, I hope that he, too, will see the reality and, if he has not already taken personal action to protect him and his family, take such action while there is still time and opportunity.

  12. Two comments: 1. I mean this in no way to be judgmental but I wonder at the circumstances that resulted in having SS as the only source of income at 64. Isn’t that how some folks get “stuck” abroad if they decide they don’t like their new home country? 2. When making statements like the ones in your list, it would lend some credibility to provide sources.

    1. yup, agree, but if you read the thread, I have been thrashed for having a different opinion than most. This is a discussion board where I would think different opinions would be debated, not personal attacks. I happen to agree with you on what you say.

    2. Lisa–I’m sorry, but prefacing your comment by saying that you don’t mean to be judgemental doesn’t negate the fact that your question is, without any doubt, just that– judgemental. Although you sincerely may have not meant for it to sound this way, it comes across in a haughty, judgemental, “holier-than-thou,” condescending tone. Did you actually read Ed’s article? Do you and Bill not remember what happened in 2007-2008 in the United States?

      Money Magazine published an article earlier this year that offered statistics on the alarmingly large percentage of Americans who will retire with little or nothing more than Social Security benefits to show for a lifetime of work. You may be shocked at what you read. Here’s the link:

      And, oh, the article should meet with your stringent approval–the sources of the statistics cited there are identified and credible.

      As to your question about people with meager retirement funds getting “stuck” in a foreign country that they don’t like, what would have been their fate if they stayed in the US and found themselves mired in dramatically *worse* economic straits than in a country like Ecuador with lower costs of living? Would they not be “stuck” there too?

      1. This is not directed at Ed, but a general comment. If is fair to say many people simply took on too much dept, particularly for housing during that period of time, but then blamed the banks for lending them the money,,,, really ? Where is self discipline ?

        It is also fair to say that many Americans clearly live beyond their means rather than below their means, and treat themselves to things and a lifestyle they really cannot afford. Thus, the do not save, and then to blame the US for this misfortune is crazy.

        Sure, I have no problem where someone chooses to live, including Ecuador, my beef is blaming the US for the things that are wrong in their own lives. As most of us know, many many people see the US as opportunity and want to live there, yet cannot live there for various reasons.

        By the way, this is a discussion forum, and although most people seem to disagree with me here, I think that discussion should be 2 ways. Can we agree on that ?

        1. Bill– Of course, a discussion board like this one should be a place where all are free to express their opinions and all are free to critique the comments made by others. You’ll get absolutely no argument whatsoever from me on that point.

          Ed wrote an excellent article explaining why he and his wife chose to become expats and why they selected Cuenca. You began the discussion by very strongly criticizing his motives for coming to Cuenca and accused him of hating his country, something he never said in his original article and that he refuted in a follow-up post.

          Most of those who have submitted comments here disagree with you. The discussion–as you say–is 2 ways. The problem you seem to have with it is that the great majority of the discussion isn’t going *your* way. IMHO there is a good reason for that.

          I do not disagree with you that some people made very bad financial decisions leading up to the crash in 2008. But many more were simply innocent victims–people who lost jobs through no fault of their own, people who encountered huge medical costs, people who had to move but couldn’t sell their house, or those for whom the many vicissitudes of life presented an entirely unexpected or undeserved financial crisis. You, Mary and Lisa were quick to judge, to generalize, and to lump those less fortunate than yourselves into a “basket of deplorables”–coopting Hillary’s description–without any basis in fact. What you should have been doing is silently thanking your lucky stars that you weren’t included in that basket and–like several who have commented on this forum–instead expressing your gratitude for being here in beautiful Ecuador.

          Thankfully, I am not one of those who arrived at retirement with only Social Security to fall back on, although at age 60 I *did* lose many millions of dollars–more than 90% of my life savings– in 2007-2010 through absolutely no fault of my own. I’ll spare you the details– it’s a very long and incredibly maddening story. In 2007 I also lost my beloved wife of 36 years after an incredibly brave but absolutely horrific, decade-long battle with breast cancer.

          Like Ed, I have long deplored the changes taking place in the United States. I worked for almost 40 years in a number of non-partisan political action organizations to try to encourage sane federal monetary, fiscal, and foreign policy that would provide a more safe and secure future for my children and grandchildren. When the Wall Street collapse of 2008 was “resolved” with bailouts and nary a single jail sentence for its perpetrators, that was the last straw for me. My search for places to expatriate began in earnest.

          In 2011, I was fortunate to meet, fall in love with, and marry a wonderful woman who shared my philosophical views and my resolve to leave the United States. We honeymooned in Cuenca and she agreed that this was the place for us.

          Like Ed, we don’t hate the United States. It’s difficult to find the right words to describe our feelings about our former home. It’s a mixture of sadness, disappointment, frustration, disbelief, disgust, and even a little embarrassment. But definitely not hate. It’s more like the emotions parents might experience watching a child with great potential make poor choices and succumb to drug addiction. Deep and penetrating sadness–not hate.

          So please. Take a step back and count your blessings.

          Perhaps Marc Dullin, in his commentary above said it best:
          “Please, grow up, learn tolerance and harmony, most of us at this age (assuming you are retired) have long-learned to do it.”
          I could not agree more.

          1. I will accept the word hate was too strong, but strong dislike is not. Please do not assume I am retired or anything about me without asking. As for your wife I am sorry to hear of your loss and happy of your new find. Beyond that, as I stated, my main beef is the dislike of the US. Things happen, shit happens, I get that. But blaming the US does not cut it for me

  13. I actually liked all of Mr. O’Conner’s articles. They would have been a nice read had he not added the side-bar about USA Number One and how it ranks amongst the rest of the world. I assume he googled most of his stats and went no further, but had he looked a little deeper he would have had to pare down his America First List considerably. Yes, the U.S. does have the largest per capita prison population in the world; the most hours of television watched per week; the most car thefts (but then again, the U.S. has the most cars); more reported crimes; most money spent on health care and prescription meds; created the most pornography; more military bases around the world and the highest trade deficit in the world. We are not the fattest; most divorced; biggest user or abuser of drugs; not the biggest rapists; we don’t have the most police officers per capita in the world; we don’t have the most complicated tax system in the world – have to admit, that one’s hard to believe; and we don’t have the largest debt the world has ever seen – take a look at Japan and Italy. I admire Mr. O’Connor for what he has been able to do with his transition to Cuenca though after having lived and worked his entire life in the U.S. I’m happy for him that he was able to make his meager Social Security pension work for him there when it certainly wouldn’t have performed to the same level in the U.S. What I could not condone though was his bemoaning his birth country. Why? It took away from an otherwise good series and I do believe that had he the opportunity to do it over, he would have left the side-bar out.

  14. No one mentioned the U.S. Has the largest incarceration of people, in the WORLD! The Prison Capital of the world! Also one of very few countries with death penalty! Another nice stat to add!

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