Sunday, April 26, 2015

We changed our minds about Ecuador...

Today, we made another big decision. We decided not to stay in Ecuador for a year.

This might sound crazy to some, but the truth is, we can do whatever we want now, and we're embracing it. We're 28 and 32, we have no kids (yet), and we make all our money online. No desk job. No home office. No one above us to report to, and no meddling bosses.

Ben quit his job mid January to help me with ProofreadAnywhere. Our course launched on February 16 and we've enrolled 122 students in just two-and-a-half months. We are beyond grateful and excited about how the course has turned out and even more excited to be actually seeing it change the lives of the students who've enrolled. Especially 'cause when I first started, I was SURE no one would be interested. How wrong I was!

So much has changed in the last six months for us. turned into something neither of us saw coming. I've been able to cut back on my proofreading work quite a bit and while there is still plenty of work to do, the work is even more flexible and autonomous than before.

I taught my last fitness class on April 9, and took an 8-day trip to NYC from 4/14-22 with my old friend Kathrin from good ol' Germany. We hadn't seen each other in seven years and it was SO GOOD to reunite and catch up in person. Turns out we have a lot more in common than we thought and were a perfect match as travel buddies.

All the various decisions we've made in the last six months on top of the big decision to head south to Ecuador in July have really rocked our a good way.

In the last several months, we'd been thinking of all the other places we'd like to go "after Cuenca", as we'd say, and as time went on that list just got longer and longer. Then one night we realized OH, next year is our five-year anniversary, let's do something crazy (crazier?). We started talking about taking a two-week South American cruise -- and you guys know how much we LOVE cruising. Our travel agent issued us a 25% discount on our next booking due to some very irritating mishaps on the last cruise in December, and we definitely wanted to take her up on that deal. I started doing research on the different ports of call on the two-week cruise. Ben had been talking a lot in the last 8 months about how he really liked the idea of slow traveling: staying in one place 2-3 months, going to another for 2-3 months and another for 2-3 months and so on, and I echoed his thoughts on it, but we'd had our sights set on doin' Ecuador for a year and it thus far hadn't really seemed to be an option to do that until after we finished our year-long Ecuador-only adventure.

The mounting list of places we wanted to experience in South America was only causing our itch to get itchier, and we both knew a touristy cruise to hit some of those places on our list would be fun, but it wouldn't be enough to scratch it.

So we changed our plan. 

We've decided to stay in Ecuador for only three months. Then we're going somewhere else.

Then somewhere else.

And then somewhere else after that. For about 13-and-a-half months.

We'll still be back by late August/early September as planned, but in between we plan to see several more places other than Ecuador.

Here's our new itinerary/rough timeline. For those who wanted to visit, we say: "PICK ONE!" -- or a couple ;-) 

  • July 15 - October:  based in Cuenca, Ecuador.
  • Mid October: Leave Ecuador and visit Cusco, Peru and Machu Picchu
  • Late October: December/January-ish: Mendoza, Argentina 
  • January-ish to March: Santiago, Chile
  • March 12 (Our 5th wedding anniversary!) Leave on 14-day cruise from Valparaiso, Chile through the Chilean fjords, Patagonia, around Cape Horn, Falkland Islands, Uruguay, and disembarking in Buenos Aires.
  • End of March - mid June: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Mid June - mid August: MedellĂ­n, Colombia.
  • Mid to late August: home to Orlando for a while, 'cause on October 8 is our wonderful friends, Emily and Cole's wedding!!

By the time we're back home we will have visited seven countries and spent significant time (2-3 months each) in five of them. Maybe after this, then we'll be back to stay in Ecuador for a year. It just makes more sense to us to taste a few samples before committing to staying in one country for a whole year. 

We feel really, really good about this decision. It feels right for us at this point in our lives. We both said to each other when we'd made the decision to change our plans: "Well, I guess we'll definitely be taking less stuff!" 

Thank you for your love and support! We hope to see many of you visiting us in South America while we're away!

Ben and Caitlin