Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ecuador next January?

I started out this year with the motivational word "release", which includes letting go of old fears and hesitations and being willing to take some risk.

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:

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.


Jennifer said...

What if... you got to enjoy the thrill of some travel risk and conquering your nerves while lowering your personal risk factor to some degree by adding a strapping young hunk (for security), his gourmet assistant (for snacks) and two court jesters (for entertainment) to your trip? Wait a minute... maybe we're adding risk with this idea. LOL! Ecuador sounds fabulous! And the Casaquinde looks pretty great too! I say do it. Kaela will enjoy seeing another pin added to your travel map. And I love to read about where you have been!

#1Nana said...

...and you've got plenty of time to learn a little Spanish before next year! Or, you could take me with you!

I've never seen the stars in the southern hemisphere, have you? That would be a good reason to go.

Arkansas Patti said...

House swapping sounds like a great idea and really opens up the world for you. I will book mark that site for the day, if ever, I am petless.

DJan said...

I went to the Galapagos Islands in 2004, spent some time in Ecuador and found it to be very intriguing. If I had a few weeks rather than just one, I would have explored Quito and many other places. I say go for it. Then write about it here for those of us who don't get to go. I love your travel adventures!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Oh so many good reasons to go and I'm sure if you did the old fashioned pro & con list you'd find they heavily outweigh the scary risk involved. This house exchange thing is absolutely fascinating to me. I can't wait to own our home in Arizona so I can promptly start looking for someone to exchange with! I selfishly hope you decide to go so I can read all about your adventure :-)

Linda Reeder said...

Doing a house exchange also means you have contact people from whom to get advice about where to go, where not to go on your own, and who you might hire to guide you to iffy places.

Tabitha Bird said...

all unknown things have an element of fear with them. But fear lets you know you are alive. so, go live. and enjoy! :))

Ms Sparrow said...

I can understand your apprehension, but at the same time I really envy the fact that you have the option to go. How exciting! What an experience! Take me with you!

Georgia said...

I love your willingness to try it all! I just can't imagine myself doing much traveling.

Meryl Baer said...

My husband and I have done one home exchange - we got to Panama! - and will be doing another one on the West Coast in the spring (we are on the East Coast). Go for it - we only live once.

Deb Shucka said...

I think the unknown scares us anytime we're willing to step into it. I love your courage and am inspired by your adventures. Just read your very first post - think how much you've grown in a year and then think about how much Ecuador might expand you in all the right ways.