Comerford Dam, Vermont

Monday, December 20, 2010

The energy is flowing in the right direction now

Now that I’ve gotten rid of all that stuff that was hindering my progress (in the last blog), I can move down the path a little further. Just kidding, the stuff is still all here, and no one contacted me and offered to buy it, either. Never mind, the process has begun.
There’s no way that I’m not going, and just to prove that, I booked a reconnaissance trip to Cuenca for April. Watching the fare drop on for three straight weeks convinced me that it had gotten about as low as it was going to get, so I bought. And was totally vindicated, when the next alert came in with a mucho big price increase.  
So now I have a confirmed itinerary in hand, and I’ll fill in the spaces, like hotel nights, as I go along. I’ve found a couple of fantastic websites that will help with that information, and a lot of other information that I’ll want to have for my trip, like a map of the city. Also connected with the official website for Cuenca, which has a great promotional video. The more I see of the city, the more I feel like I’m going to the right place.
One of the websites,, is for people who live in Cuenca,  and emails notices for upcoming happenings; art exhibits, concerts, Christmas events. The restaurant review section is fantastic.
Right on the heels of buying my ticket, I started bidding for jobs online, preparing myself for a long period of proposing jobs and being ignored, until I finally got a small one. Incredibly, I got the first one I bid on, and suddenly my whole plan is actually looking like it’s going to happen!  I have a long way to go before I’ll be making what I need to support my Cuenca life, but I feel as though the energy is all flowing in the right direction now.
Wahoo – one day before the Solstice, typically the lowest time of the year for me, and I’m full of energy and looking forward to a 2011 full of changes! And happy holidays to you!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

For Sale: One Past Life

For Sale:
- Service for 12/Blue and White Rice pattern china with dragon design. Bought one dish at a time every time I went to the grocery store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and lovingly used for over twenty years as everyday china. Service includes dinner plates, salad plates, cake plates, cups and saucers (one small set/one large set), serving platters, three sizes of bowls, teapot, condiment dishes.  
- One rattan chest with black lacquered insets, used as a Christmas tree stand for Christmases spent in Southeast Asia. Then used as a coffee table in New Hampshire and Vermont.
- One collection of the works of Thoreau, including my own journal kept the first winter I lived by myself in New Hampshire, in the style of Thoreau.
- One three-piece set of Makkum porcelain – one ginger jar with lid and two vases, flower and bird design, bought on a day trip to the northern provinces of the Netherlands, where we drove across the sea causeway and marveled at the frozen waves of the North Sea.
- One collection of museum guides, all bought on site: The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia; The Pushkin Art Museum, Moscow, Russia; The Louvre, Paris, France; The Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France; Monet’s Gardens, Giverny, France; The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;  Kroller-Muller Museum, The Netherlands; and more.
- One batik representation of Ganesh, the Elephant Headed God, Overcomer of Obstacles, purchased in the main marketplace in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- One white cotton hand woven blanket, bought at a roadside store in the mountains of Greece, at the top of a winding road on the way to the Ancient City of Troy.
- Two small etchings of the Old City of Prague, purchased at a local artist’s stand on the bridge in Prague.
- One framed papyrus depicting geese and ducks feeding, bought at a souvenir shop near the Great Pyramid in Cairo.
These are possessions that reflect my life lived so far - so hard to let go, but impossible to keep if I want to move forward.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time to Do the Work

To my hundreds of readers, who probably wonder what’s become of me, I can sum it up in two words: FALL BACK. Or, Daylight Savings Time Ends. Or, wake up in darkness, go to work in darkness, come home in darkness, get in your pajamas.
That’s my experience, anyway. There’s some light in the far off distance this year, because I keep saying to myself, “This is the last winter, this is the last winter, this is the last winter.”
A lot of people ask me why, if I hate winter and have Seasonal Affective Disorder, do I live in Vermont?  Well, like a lot of people, I kind of got stuck in one place. But I’m moving now.
I’ve started telling people that I’m moving to Ecuador. Yes! I am moving to Ecuador! Just Google Cuenca, I tell everybody, and you’ll want to go, too. Lots of incredulous looks and questions  - and then people are really very enthusiastic about me going (not them).
I’ve found an internet site for brushing up on my Spanish language skills, and I added one of Cuenca’s newspapers to my favorites, so I can start (trying) to read the paper.
 I’m in a little bit of a hiatus right now, but next week I will start bidding on online jobs, beginning the work that I need to do to establish my income stream, so I can support myself wherever I am.
After countless hours of crafting my online profile, looking at the profiles of people who are already successful, consulting with my guru at Barefoot Consulting on how to break into the biz, I'm more than ready to start. 
If I’m indulging myself a little right now, it's because I know that once I start bidding on jobs, I’m going to be coming home from a full day of work and hitting the computer here for more hours.
I want to believe that I will struggle a little, but will, in the end, get what I need to keep moving with my plan. This is so important that I can’t allow even a wisp of self-doubt to appear.
So, picture me for the next few months in front of my computer, doing the work. Whatever it takes, doing the work.
I’ll be using this blog to vent my frustrations and celebrate my successes, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Put One Foot in Front of the Other. Repeat.

What was it that I said in that previous blog? Oh, right –
All I have to do is find a way to make $800 a month, sell my house and all my belongings, get rid of my dogs and cats, renew my passport, figure out how to move money around, and I’m gone.
This is not an offhand list that I just threw together – this is the essence of what needs to be done before I can hit the road. The big stuff that I try to make some forward progress on every day.
Here’s a report on how I’m doing so far:
-          No more dogs (sob)
-          Talking to someone who might buy the house
-          Getting rid of stuff weekly with the Three Box Technique (see previous blog)
And the really big one – finding a way to make a living overseas – I work on that almost every night after work. The world of online commerce is alive and well, and I am determined to find my niche – soon!
It’s all about forward movement now. Fortunately, I have a whole team of supporters behind me, rooting me on almost every step of the way. These guys have provided me with so much valuable information in the last couple of months – it’s piled up all around my computer and banging around in my head 24/7. As soon as I figure out how to create links here, I’ll start posting contact information, so if you catch the itch while you’re reading my story, you’ll be able to find answers to your questions.
In the meantime, I am putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward, getting a little done every day.
Hoy, 3 de Noviembre, es el dia de Independencia de Ecuador.
P.S. Better learn some Spanish, too!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some Days it seems like an Impossible Dream

I guess it’s inevitable that doubt creeps in every once in a while. I can repeat all the positive affirmations that I’ve created until I’m blue in the face, but some days, Cuenca seems very very far away.
These are the days that I ask myself – WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? Uprooting yourself from all that’s familiar to move into the unknown. It’s like Halloween – scary. Who knows what might be lurking out there. WAH HAH HAH.
I’m already lonely, and I haven’t even left yet. The process of clearing my life of possessions and entanglements is making me sad. I’ve started a Sunday ritual of going through the house and putting together one box of books for the used bookstore, one bag of clothes for the donation bin, and one pile of stuff to take to the Salvation Army.
I’ve been doing this now for a couple of months – at first, after dumping off the three containers, I would come home and discover that there was still a mountain of extraneous crap lying around. But today, after dropping things off and coming home, it felt a little empty.
Now it’s coming down to – what can’t I bear to let go. An interesting question, since two weeks ago, I let go of the two beings I loved most in the world - my dogs – which has created a sadness in me that is beyond description.
But even on the worst days, a small voice inevitably makes its way through the melancholy: how can you stop now, after having given up so much?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Ecuador?

That’s the question that everybody asks. So I’ll just say that, contrary to what most people around here think, there can be a better quality of life overseas. A better quality of life at less cost. And reasonably priced health care. Fresh food that hasn’t been radiated out the yingyang. Lots of other things appeal, but those are the biggies. Did I mention the Amazon?
Since I already have the itch, and I’ve lived overseas before (another blog entry), the prospect of moving to a foreign place is not as daunting as it would be for, say, the people living down the way who have never left Vermont.
Okay, my friend says to me, but why not Canada? CANADA??? I’m already living too far North, I say, watching the sun go down at 3:30 in the afternoon.
ECUADOR!! Twelve hour days ALL YEAR LONG! Apartments for rent for $350 a month, just a bus ride away from the Amazon, which I’ve been dreaming about all my life.
You might think I’m crazy, but International Living, a magazine/organization that has been scouting out overseas locations for 30 years, has just named Ecuador the top retirement destination in the world.
They say that a person can live pretty comfortably in Cuenca, a city in the Andes (no bugs) for about $800 a month. So that’s why Ecuador.
All I have to do is find a way to make $800 a month, sell  my house and all my belongings, except for a small air freight shipment, get rid of my dogs and cats, sell my car, renew my passport, figure out how to move money around, and I’m gone.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Now it begins

My travel itch was born when I was fifteen and my mother took an overseas teaching position in Medellin, Colombia. I didn't know I would get an itch - I was dragged kicking and screaming from my California teenage universe. I'd never been in a plane when I got on the flight to Miami.

On that flight from Miami to Barranquilla, an engine blew [chronological give-away] and my brother turned a pukey shade of green in the heat and humidity of the airport lounge where we waited while they repaired the plane. The delay meant we had to overnight in Bogota, because the Medellin airport had no lights for night landings.

The next day, a man pushed me down the escalator at the Bogota airport, as he rushed to get his seat on the plane to Medellin. Ruined my nylons and started a lifelong fear of getting on the down escalator.

So, okay, it might be hard to see how the itch to travel got started with this beginning scenario, but somehow, it did, and basically, I've been trying to get somewhere ever since.

After eight (8) years in rural Vermont, I'm getting pretty itchy, and have begun looking into how I can escape to another country. Today, my country of choice is Ecuador and this blog is going to take me there.