When you do something you’ve never done before, sometimes, you just have to “feel” your way through it.
And it’s one thing to buy a new house, or a car, or change jobs where you are, but when you’re preparing to do all those things in a country 6,000 miles away, the concept takes on a whole new meaning.
Today, Dana and I find ourselves 42 days out from a move that includes all those things and much more.
For the last five months, we’ve worked long-distance with Gary and April Scarborough at www.laspalmasecuador.com to buy property and build a home from the ground up in Puerto Cayo. It’s a matter of days now, before the home is complete, and for the most part, it’s been easier than building a house where we were on site.
Funny thing is, the house building was the easy part. Now, with 42 days and counting, it seems now that our expat checklist for making the real move to Ecuador is a monster of its own and there’s not enough time in single day to do everything that needs to be done. And we’ve been told by other expats who’ve been in our shoes, to enjoy and savor the moment, because this is the fun part!
With the calendar moving quickly, these are the many tasks and questions we must complete and ask of ourselves.
- We have property here in the states: a house and two vehicles. How will those things be cared for in our absence? What about insurance on those real properties? What of utilities, cable TV and other services? Do we maintain the same levels of insurance or downgrade?
- How do we create income in a foreign land? (pretty important) What methods will we use to pay bills both abroad and in the states? What are the tax ramifications? For the marketing and expat service businesses we’ll be launching we find it important to start making contacts on the ground now, rather than later, and with those businesses, how will we promote them? There are websites to be built, blog posts to be made, mission and vision statements to create, cards to be printed, advertising to consider.
- Packing? Realistically, what will we take, what will we leave behind? There’s only so much you can put in a suitcase and two carry-ons.
- In Ecuador, what’s our mission for the church? It’s important to us, and we’re moving to a country that’s 95 percent Roman Catholic.
- What media is best suited to communicate regularly with family and friends back home?
- On arrival, there’s a brand new, but empty house to furnish. Where will we buy and how much will it cost?
- How frequently will we return to the states? It’s not cheap. And for our businesses in Ecuador, how do we set them up in such a way that we can manage them in either Ecuador or the U.S.?
- And oh, yes, we seriously need to brush up on our Latin American spanish.
Most days we find ourselves wondering when we’ll wake up and realize it’s all only a dream. It all seems surreal to be making preparations for a dream you’ve had since you were a kid with a pen pal.
And while it’s all overwhelming at certain moments, it’s also one of the most exciting times in our life.
We’re looking forward to becoming part of a new culture, learning new ways, making new friends and expanding our horizons. And yet, each day, the reality of the checklist grows, and the clock is running.
Now …. back to that to-do list. Talk about making a list and checking it twice!
Just a reminder to anyone who enjoys House Hunter’s International, or who’s dreamed about a beautiful home on the beach – check out tonight’s show featuring Gary and April Scarborough, two friends we made during a visit to Puerto Cayo, Ecuador last May.
The storyline: Natives of Atlanta, the Scarboroughs owned two thriving businesses in 2008 – a home construction company, and an electrical company. When the economy crashed, they did extensive research on “cheap places to live,” and were consistently pointed in the direction of Cuenca, Ecuador.
Gary, April, and their children, Peyton and Carson, packed up their two dogs and 22 suitcases and headed for a new life in Cuenca. When Gary received the opportunity to build a beachside community in Puerto Cayo, on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, they moved once again to the quaint fishing village of Puerto Cayo.
They live there today, and the development of www.laspalmasecuador is experiencing great success as a first-class expatriate community.
Dana and I know the Scarboroughs and count them as friends and partners, as they are now overseeing the construction of a home we’re building in Puerto Cayo. We were sold from Day One.
You can find a story I previously wrote about the Scarborough’s HHI behind-the-scenes experience here: http://wp.me/p2bjEC-Lq