Packing up your bags and moving to another country, for whatever reason, can be a daunting task. Many people spend numerous hours of their days towards making this decision, but is the research even accurate?
What is the crime rate of Ecuador?
Are their any Jobs in Ecuador?
What is the best place to live in Ecuador?
Can I drive there?
Do I need to learn Spanish?
Thousands of questions pump through your cerebrum, ricocheting throughout the depths of your mind as your fear and anxiety start to overwhelm you into possibly backing out, or making a decision without doing your due diligence.
I am going to give you a few non biased tips on doing your online research so you can come to your own decision on whether Ecuador (or any other country if you happen to be researching elsewhere) is right for you.
Tips to researching Ecuador as your living or retirement destination:
1. You can not just simply Google ¨Living in Ecuador¨ or ¨Retiring in Ecuador¨ and clicking the first page you see.
Companies pay heavily for you to click on their site after searching those keywords. Although these companies are doing exactly what they are supposed to do (promote the country they are selling in a positive manner), you must realize they will most likely paint Ecuador to look like a masterpiece from the distance of behind your desktop, only for your to arrive, take a Real Estate Tour that you already paid for, and realize in your eyes it is more of a monet. Please note I am not saying to avoid reading the information these companies put out. I am merely suggestion to broaden your search more.
Instead of relying solely on organizations marketing Ecuador to help furnish your final opinion, try to find some blogs, facebook forums, and places such as the ExpatExchange.com or Expat-blog.com to connect with expats in Ecuador directly to get their personal feedback. Be aware some of them may offer you more than just free advice, but also understand there are plenty of Expats here who have offerings that will genuinely help you.
2. When using Google to search for keywords related to Ecuador, format your search for the most recent results, or results written in the past year. That way you do not get OUT OF DATE information which may hinder your research efforts. Here is a screen shot I made showing you how to fine tune your Google search in Firefox.
3. This one should be obvious, but I have to state it anyways because I have seen it happen many times. TUNE OUT THE TROLLS.
Anyone who constantly posts negative content in the forums about Ecuador yet happens to live here for years, or anyone who thinks they know everything about Ecuador, but have never put their boots on Ecuadorian soil, are not good sources for research. Someone who can not put together a cohesive sentence on the internet is also probably not a good source of information, and more likely someone who has forgotten to take their meds.
Instead, if you are chatting in social networking communities find reputable people who are vouched for and give facts, or at least solid and well educated opinions about their life here. If you want to know who some of these people are feel free to send me a request in my contact form which goes straight to my email.
4. Include a 3 to 4 week trip (or as long as you possibly can) into your research efforts.
Book the flight and put your boots on the ground, using all the contacts you have established that you have confidence in to help you along your way. Really get a feel for the country and how your life would be. Go to the malls, grocery stores, mercados, a church, or whatever places you would normally need to go. Don´t dedicate your whole trip here to touristic adventures because your real life here will not be all about chasing butterflies in Mindo or walking La Ronda in Centro Historico Quito. You most likely will not be going on jungle Safari´s either so make sure you take time to research regular life activities.
You will need to shop, eat, pay bills, and do regular routine tasks you had to do in your former life. These routine tasks may be performed substantially different than what you are accustomed to in your home country so you must be aware of these changes, and determine whether you can adapt or not.
If I think of any more tips I will update this post, but I hope this gets you started on researching whether Ecuador is right for you.