[color-box color=”green”][dropcap]Join[/dropcap] Canadian Expat, Dodie Schadlich, in her first weekly column for “Off the Beaten Path”. Discover, in La Libertad on the south coast of Ecuador, paths rarely seen by expats, which Dodie’s life takes her. Read on as she shares her hilarious story of the “straw that broke the camel’s back” behind her “crazy” decision to move to Ecuador with her husband and 2 dogs [/color-box]
Well, maybe just a little crazy but……..
We made the decision to move to “somewhere south” in 2008, without a real destination in mind. Since I can never seem to do anything half-assed, by 2010 we announced that we were first moving to Florida and ultimately heading to Ecuador.
The reactions were mixed, to say the least. Amid “Are you crazy” to “That is so awesome” we heard just about everything else in between. Even with all the questions and the “what if” devastation scenarios, thrown at us from well-meaning people, we could not have stopped the ball from rolling at that point. Randy and I had already personally gone through the best and worst case scenarios, the “what ifs” and the “how to’s” long before we made the announcement. We were secure in our decision.
Now, I do need to add when I first brought up the idea, Randy said, “Yes dear, that would be nice” and I could tell he was hoping it was a short lived phase I was going through. He soon came to realize, it wasn’t a just a phase.
It is not every day you just up and liquidate every single thing you own and move to a whole other continent where you don’t speak the language.
We didn’t make the decision flippantly; first I had to convince Randy, then we had to make a plan. We researched, studied Spanish, did exploratory visits, and by Sept 2011 we were on our way.
Our daily mantra during that time period was “Keep Your Eye on the Prize”. [pullquote] Life continued to happen while we made our plans.[/pullquote] All kinds of reasons would come up to delay the move; people getting sick, people having babies… all these life events continue to come at you. Feelings of obligation and responsibility pulling at you, feelings that you will miss out on something special, and you may, but ultimately we had to decide, keep moving forward ,or quite possibly 10 years from now, everyone else’s needs will be met, but our own.
Someone very close to me simply asked “Why?” I replied;
I am not sure what the next chapter of my life will bring, but I do know that I see palm trees in the background; that is all I know for certain right now.
The quick answer could have been; the weather sucks up in Prince George British Columbia, Canada. Very few people would argue that point. But that is not the only reason. Wait, please notice the photo below showing Randy shovelling his way to the shop on March 2, 2011… so… maybe it was part of the reason!
Mac Leans Magazine deemed Prince George one of the most dangerous cities in Canada once, yet it was still home to us, with the most amazing people, friends, and family. We definitely leave a little piece of our hearts there to this very day.
Another easy answer could be how expensive the cost of living is. Often in winter, our monthly heating bill alone would be $400.00+.
We would plan for a year, and pay thousands of dollars, to take a 2-week vacation -just to put our toes in the sand. One day, laying on a beach in Mexico, I looked at Randy and said, [pullquote]I think we are doing this all wrong. It is like living our life backward to what we really want.[/pullquote]
As Randy’s 50th birthday approached in May 2010, I swear, I went through his midlife crisis for him. I grabbed a calculator, compared our monthly expenses to CPP payments (Canadian Pension Plan), and thought “Oh My God” as a wave of panic set in. It became very clear that we could not maintain our lifestyle with CPP and our current expenses.
The final event turning point was one April evening, with snow still piled high in Prince George, where I ran out to my vehicle in just my robe and slippers. I slipped on the ice, both slippers coming off my feet and sliding under my car. I found myself sprawled out on the ice partially naked with my robe bunched up around my head and my leg twisted unnaturally under me. I was lying between a 3-foot snow bank and my car. Had I broke my leg, no one would have ever seen me lying there…not that I would have wanted anyone to find me in that particular situation anyways. Damn what a sight that would have been! I picked myself up carefully and, in freezing bare feet, slipped my way back into the house and into bed. My first reaction was tears, but then I broke out into a fit of hysterical laughter. You know, the kind of laughter that only crazy people do.
When Randy got home and saw the slippers in the driveway, his first thought was “This can’t be good.” Upon finding me in the bedroom, he asked, “What’s up with the slippers?” I responded very simply, “We are moving, start packing.”
Did I mention this happened in the month of April? Yes, April which is supposed to be the month of “spring showers leading into May flowers”; well evidently, not in Prince George.
So, what we find ourselves doing now, during the month of April, is picking passion fruit from the vine and checking how big the bananas have grown in our little piece of paradise in Ecuador.
PS…I no longer own slippers, strictly a barefoot girl now.
[color-box color=”gray”]What was behind your move to Ecuador? Was it weather related? What did you friends think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below![/color-box]