I was telling a friend yesterday about our recent trip to Puerto Vallarta. I mentioned that I loved the warmth and the sun but not the relative lack of activity. He suggested I check out Ecuador as a possible winter destination, saying it's got a similar low cost of living but isn't so crowded and touristy.
So today, I did just that. Art and I belong to a home exchange club, and I looked up the Ecuador listings. There were half a dozen, but several of them allowed smoking or had pets. I sent an email of interest to two offerings. And within an hour I had a "yes" from one of them!
The couple are American retirees who moved to Ecuador a few years ago and have a second home there, in a rural area. They rent out the house but also have it available for an exchange.
Here's the website: www.casaquinde.com
As it happens, the couple have two children who live in the Seattle area, and they'd like to visit here in the fall of 2012. So, if we want to go to Ecuador for two to four weeks next January, we have a nice place to stay. I told them I'd get back to them in a couple of weeks with a decision.
Now I have a bit of traveler's remorse. Why on earth is that? After all my travels, am I afraid to go anywhere off the beaten path without a tour guide?
I have to look at this risk thing. I think, well, maybe by next year my back will be bad enough that I won't be able to travel. Or maybe we'll get hopelessly lost in the wilds of a jungle somewhere. Or I'll get bitten by a snake or a mysterious insect. I wonder if they have malaria there. I took malaria pills before we went to Vietnam, but that was different because we were traveling with a group and had a native guide.
On the other hand, I said I didn't want to be bored on vacation.
This risk business is scary. I've played it safe most of my life and so far I'm okay. But when I was evaluating my year on January 1, I felt regret for the things I might have passed up because they were risky.
Maybe risk is a personal thing. In 1986, after my divorce, I moved from small-town Oregon to a Seattle suburb, with my two young sons, to take a job. I didn't know a soul in Washington. Looking back, that was crazy risky. But it worked out.
So I'm pondering this Ecuador thing. And wondering why on earth it's scary.