The Second Annual Gathering in Ecuador

ecua-doorWe did it last year and it turned out to be pretty incredible, so this year it is happening again.

This coming August, a new group of us will be returning to Ecuador to continue the fun that was started there in October 2013. The event is called a “Chautauqua”, and last year I estimated that the word means “A group of Fancy Adults gathering to further their mutual knowledge and success in life.” That definition turned out to be just about right.

From August 9-16, I will be joining our mutual friends Jim Collins (the Money, Life, and Business guy), Jesse Meecham (the charismatic storyteller who founded You Need a Budget) and Cheryl Reed (the happiness guru who actually lives in Ecuador and will be our organizer and host) for a week on the Equator.

The overall goal of this trip is simply to gather with a group of about 25 people to spend some time learning together in a new and extremely beautiful country. If we can get ourselves to the Quito airport, everything else will be facilitated by the hosts including transportation, accommodation and meals at a very sweet 15th century hotel in Otovalo. Our resort sits in a valley at 8000 feet surrounded by volcanoes and tropical equatorial vegetation, with hiking trails and and the traditional village immediately next door.

View from a hike around Otovalo last year

View from a hike around Otovalo last year

Now that I’ve been to one of these things before, I can tell you what it is like. Each morning, you rise and greet the sun, walking through the gardens or lounging on the stone patio outside the library with a laptop and a coffee.


One of our big group dinners in the dining room

Three times each day, everybody makes it to the large dining room where the restaurant staff feeds us an exceptional meal. Throughout the week, there are trips to the surrounding countryside for activities and a charitable project in the village nearby. But most of the time, the group just hangs out together, laughing and talking, buying too many bottles of wine from the town store and staying up too late by one of the fireplaces. Here are a few testimonials from others who took last year’s trip.

my_stoveThe fireplaces alone made this experience worthwhile for me last year. Although this is right on the equator in August, this part of Ecuador experiences a surprising climate with daytime highs in the 70F range and night lows in the 50s. Because of this, the hotel has dudes that sneak into your hotel room at 7:00 every evening to light a crackling fire in your personal woodstove, so the room is cozy for you when you return from staying up late with the gang.

On the more formal side of all this, each of your four hosts will be doing a presentation and available for one-on-one sessions for individual discussion.

Jesse, a sassy and well-dressed guest last year, returns as a host for 2014.

Jesse Meecham poses in his trademark YNAB apparel last year, when he attended as a guest. He returns as a host for 2014.

Sure, it sounds good, but I will repeat my warning from last year’s announcement:

A trip like this is obviously suitable for only a small minority of readers of this blog about living an efficient life. While the retreat is not designed to sell anything and I’m accepting no pay myself*, the price of $1900 is still a non-trivial amount of money to spend for a vacation. If you’re in debt or otherwise struggling, a trip like this will not solve your problems, and I don’t want anyone to ever feel they have to pay to meet me or ask for advice. I hope to continue to host less formal gatherings in various places that are more affordable and convenient to reach than Ecuador, plus you could always just stop by Longmont, Colorado to say “Hi” on your next trip through here.

Also, Cheryl is hosting a second round with J.D. Roth and David Cain (the Raptitude guy) right after this retreat. So if you like those guys better, you might want to consider the second one. Or both :-)

So who IS the trip for? It’s for people whose response to the proposal is something like this:

 “Hey! Ecuador sounds great, I’ve always wanted to see it. I’m excited to go with a semi-guided group to help me get around for the first time. And damn, that place we’re staying looks really sweet. Looking forward to some fine dining! I bet the other 24 people in the group will be really interesting to meet, and I’ll also enjoy hearing a bit from Cheryl, Jesse, Jim, and MMM, since they might be interesting people in real life. Overall, it might be a nice entrepreneurial / career / philosophy boost for my already-successful life. Since I can easily afford it, sign me up.”

With all this discussion aside, I now present you with the resources you need to get yourself on the list. Note that even last year when the blog was much smaller, this 25-person event sold out pretty quickly. So if you do decide to go, it would be wise to sign up fairly soon. See you there?


An Update: the event did fill all available spaces, and we had a great time. We may even do it again next year.

Register on Cheryl Reed’s Website: Above the Clouds Retreats

Jim Collins’ Post about this year’s event

My summary of the trip from last year

* Above the Clouds Retreats is a small business that attempts to make a living for its owner by organizing retreats like this one. She then uses some of the profits for charitable work in the area of Ecuador where she lives. She has named the effort “Project One Corner”, to acknowledge that while you can’t personally fix the whole world, you can do your best to help out in your own corner of it. In this case, the three presenters also agreed to donate any surplus from the budget to Project One Corner instead of getting paid ourselves.

  • Miss Growing Green March 7, 2014, 8:02 am

    Ugh! I can’t believe Mr. GG and I will have to miss out on this trip! I *really* hope it gets repeated for a 3rd time in the future. August is just a month after our first baby is due, so it’s out for this year.

    We have two “free” tickets we got to anywhere in Central America by utilizing one of the many credit-card signup bonus I’m always pushing ;) They should still be good in 2015!

    I’m sure it will be an amazing gathering- I can’t wait for all the pictures and updates. Have fun, those of you who are lucky enough to go!

  • Ryan P March 7, 2014, 8:04 am

    We’re already going on a super fancy vacation this year, but I think this is a great idea.

    1) you’re surrounded by people that will encourage you to be charitable, AND save…

    2) Outside of the US comfort zone.

    3) You’re in Ecuador! very cool.

    This may be on my list for future events! Though I could just scooter up to Longmont/Boulder and honk as you guys ride your bikes :P..

  • EL March 7, 2014, 8:16 am

    I keep hearing great things about Ecuador in the PF blogosphere. I hope to make it one day when I am financially free. Good luck with the organization’s fundraising

  • Will Murphey March 7, 2014, 8:36 am

    Beautiful place for a nice cause! MMM, any future plans for a family meetup of like minded financially independent families? We also have a youngster around your sons age. I’d love to network with families that are interested in year round travel with kids.

    • Andrew March 7, 2014, 11:45 am

      I second this thought. I’d love to go to Ecuador but I have a one year old and I can’t get this time back with him.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 7, 2014, 12:25 pm

      There is actually a secret plan to build a small guest house on Cheryl’s farm that might be used for future gatherings of a more informal nature. But in general we are ready to do more multi-family visiting with our son – especially in new places and countries. Those are my favorite kind of vacations, especially if we can find a way to do some work during the stay.

    • MoneyAhoy March 10, 2014, 7:48 am

      Now that’s a great idea – I’d definitely be interested in something like this for the whole fam :-)

  • Bailey March 7, 2014, 8:40 am

    Señor Mustache-
    Sounds like a great trip- wish we could go, but are still sprouting our whiskers. That being said, if you have any interest in tacking on a side trip to Peru to see the great Machu Picchu, you and your family are welcome to stay at the home of two loyal soldiers who have made mustaching a well-used verb (and mustachy a well-used adjective) on the streets of Miraflroes in Lima.

  • Mrs PoP March 7, 2014, 9:06 am

    Quito just keeps coming up in our lives! But this isn’t in the cards for us as we’ve already got most of our vacation days carefully planned out for the year. Can’t wait until we no longer need to keep track of their inventory so carefully…

  • La Tekama March 7, 2014, 9:32 am

    Oh my! This sounds incredible. Ecuador has been on my bucket list for quite some time! With the $60k of student debt I still haven there is not way I can go (that and the fact that both of my best friends are having destination weddings this year). First world problems, right?

  • Sue March 7, 2014, 10:10 am

    I would totally go if I were debt free! Sounds AMAZING!!! Maybe next time!! I’m really making progress!

  • Free Money Minute March 7, 2014, 10:51 am

    Sounds like an awesome experience. Maybe when we are totally FI we will be on our way down with you all. Have fun this year!

  • tom erceg March 7, 2014, 11:32 am

    My girlfriend and I were fortunate to be able to attend last year. It’s truly a marvelous experience on every level. We learned a lot, met really interesting people, had once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and just had a tremendous amount of fun. Cheryl is an incredibly gracious host. The speakers are all engaging, open, and accessible, and just as importantly, your fellow attendees and the collective energy of the group make for an unforgettable experience. And, no, I was not paid to write this. :)

  • James March 7, 2014, 12:07 pm

    My wife and I would love to join the group. We have been talking about a trip to Ecuador for a long time. I have lived in Costa Rica before, but we currently live in Portland, OR. We absolutely love Latin America. It would be incredible to experience the country with a group like this. How do we sign up?

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 7, 2014, 12:29 pm

      Hi James – we’d love to see you there!

      If you just look through Chery’s Above the Clouds page:

      At the bottom there is a link where you can choose the event you want to attend. She is a pleasure to work with, so once you send that first email everything is fun and goes smoothly.

      • James March 7, 2014, 12:30 pm

        Fantastic! Thanks!

  • AH March 7, 2014, 12:24 pm

    The trip sounds amazing and your picture of Otovalo is beautiful. I’m still making up for financial mistakes I have made as a younger man so won’t be able to join but would love to join one of your more local gatherings. I am looking forward to seeing some pictures especially of the project you guys do for the local town.

  • frank March 7, 2014, 2:00 pm

    This looks really cool.. Hmm, My Wife and I were just discussing what we should do for vacation this year.. maayybeee…

  • Lito March 7, 2014, 2:10 pm

    Yeah, hi. I heard about your Chautauquas from traveler here in Antigua, Guatemala. Just wondering if you’re planning on implementing your Safety Sessions again.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 7, 2014, 9:05 pm

      Yes, I’m sure it will be a VERY safe trip, just like last year ;-)

  • Jef Miles March 7, 2014, 4:39 pm

    Damn that is a shame, I’ll be in Peru until 1st August. Would have been excellent to catch up with some like minded bloggers..

    Any thoughts of having an Aussie blogger meetup? I’d be happy to recommend a couple of awesome places in Sydney’s Blue Mountains :)..

    Enjoy though MMM and others

    • Nudelkopf March 12, 2014, 2:03 am

      I’d totally go to one in the Blue Mountains! :)

      • Jef March 13, 2014, 5:45 am

        Where are you from Nudelkopf? Haha if you aren’t an aussie might be disappointed by the mountains not actually being blue :P

  • EarlyFI March 7, 2014, 6:33 pm


    All signed up! Wahoo! Really looking forward to this! See you guys in Ecuador.

  • Sheri March 7, 2014, 7:49 pm

    I actually made a rare trip through Longmont today (I live near Fort Collins) and was really disappointed I didn’t see you riding your bike in the sleet;) I would love to hear more about local gatherings in the future!

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 7, 2014, 9:03 pm

      Hey.. I did end up riding the bike around town quite a lot today. But not being omnipresent, it is possible that I was on a different road than you were :-)

  • Annie March 8, 2014, 12:25 pm

    Sigh. Airfares from New Zealand – $18,390 return. Otherwise, we’d be there!

    • Jef Miles March 9, 2014, 5:40 am

      For how many people?
      That’s insane, you can get ones from Australia to Peru and I’m sure Educador for about 2.5K return..

      It’s going to cost me about 5 all up but that’s going to Brazil during the World Cup..

      Suprising cause the Kiwi $ is appreciating as well :O

  • JR March 8, 2014, 2:43 pm

    Have a great time in Otovalo. I was 49 when I retired and I split my time between Florida and Ecuador (Cuenca and Salinas). While not for everyone, it is truly a beautiful country with welcoming people and a great place to maintain a good, healthy lifestyle on low budget.

  • Andrea March 8, 2014, 7:11 pm

    I have much bigger fish to fry this year than “hangin’ out” big mustache style in Quito, but I must give props that you didn’t take this as an “opportunity” to “monetize” your teachings. Many in your position would charge (and get) $10,000/head for a trip like this. I salute you for not doing that.

  • Brian March 8, 2014, 8:23 pm

    I was a foreign exchange student to Ecuador in 1979. I’ve been back a few times (last was 2009) and am still in touch with my host family. Definitely interested in joining u folks but probably won’t happen this year.

  • EscapeVelocity2020 March 8, 2014, 9:28 pm

    I’ll gladly pay $4k for a beautiful international vacation with the side benefit of my wife beginning to get some appreciation of a Mustachian lifestyle (how I’ve always lived naturally, and what she resents me for). She hasn’t visited the site and would be quite offended if I suggested it myself, so I will be in, but hope you read this and are prepared for what you are up against :) I’m going to sell it as being a beginning blogger and it’s a business deduction. Unless she nixes it in the next few days, but I don’t think she’ll stop me spending a ridiculous sum, since it usually makes her feel better. But I haven’t spent this much in the past, so maybe she’ll feel like I’m getting carried away.

  • MandyM March 9, 2014, 8:19 am

    What? Another fancy trip that won’t be included in your yearly expenses? I’m turning you into the IRP!

  • Dee18 March 9, 2014, 9:58 am

    Hope you will post as you did last year from Ecuador for those of us who will be armchair traveling.

  • Chris March 9, 2014, 1:24 pm

    So these lavish trips still don’t sit right with me. One of the large arguments of this site is that even if we were all billionaires, there is no need to succumb to this type of lifestyle inflation because it simply is inferior to a life of moderation. It also doesn’t feel right to challenge wastefulness such as driving your car to the grocery store yet setup a 2k trip to fly around the world, sleep in a fancy hotel, and eat over the top food while you are supposedly there to talk about frugality and challenging the consumeristic majority.

    Am I the only one this bothers?

    • Deacon March 9, 2014, 9:41 pm

      I understand where you’re coming from, but think this is a perfect example of how the teachings of a blog like this can really pay off. What is “fancy” and “over the top” to one may be simply “comfortable” and “reasonable” to another. I see a trip like this as a luxury to those of us striving for FI, much as you do. But for those disciplined enough to have already achieved it, a luxury of this kind has been well earned through discipline, sacrifice, and perhaps a little bit of good fortune. So why not take it? I don’t feel that blogs like this are encouraging us to live the life of a monk, but rather to tone back from the ridiculousness that has become the norm in American culture. And in MMM’s defense, he did give everyone the above disclaimer and an explanation of where any excess funds will go.

      • Jordan Read March 11, 2014, 4:35 pm

        Good reasoning. I would expand on that a bit, though. On the forums, and when talking about the Mustachian lifestyle, a common concern is what one would do with all that time. A lot of people I’ve talked to who have caught FIRE find that charity work and giving back is a good use of their time, and this over-the-top, uber-luxurious vacation couples that, along with some great company and a learning experience, all-in-one!!!
        This is the kind of thing that one can do once you reach those goals. Following the “Mustachian way” gives you the ability and opportunity to take part in these things once it doesn’t detrimentally impact your ability to be free. After all, money is for buying freedom!!

      • Chris March 11, 2014, 8:30 pm

        I hear what you’re saying, Deacon. And for many personal finance sites this logic would make complete sense. You’ve worked hard, saved hard, and now it’s time to enjoy the benefits of your spoils by indulging in these types of luxuries every now and then.

        However, that has never been what mustachianism has been about. It’s been about challenging excess in one’s life REGARDLESS of what your net worth may be. MMM himself has argued many times that he has more money than he needs and even if he had 100x more, he wouldn’t change his lifestyle – and thus his spending – because he has everything he could possibly need.

        As a supporter of that philosophy, sponsoring a “clown-car” type event to go talk about frugality simply doesn’t sit right with me. There is NO reason to have this type of an event in a place like this except for the over the top luxury aspect of it. There are many other options out there which would be far cheaper.

        My broader concern is that these types of trips and messages will send mixed signals to folks who are on the fence. I have always admired that MMM has been so blunt with his life philosophy and the reasons why others should adopt it.

        I just don’t think a blog like this one should be supporting these types of events. It comes off, at least to me, as hypocritical and worthy of a face-punch.

        My 2 cents.

        • Mr. Money Mustache March 11, 2014, 10:02 pm

          You’re right in a way, Chris, and I questioned the wisdom of this event with very similar words when I was invited to be a host last year.

          But as I talked more to Cheryl and learned more about what she does, and more about Ecuador and how the experience can open up the perspective of visitors, I changed my mind.

          After all, most of us already partake in air travel. If you look at my own spending reports and past articles, I’ve been all over the world and plan to keep seeing more places occasionally. This is why I freely label the MMM family as an extremely high-spending, luxury-oriented family that should be viewed as at or above the upper limit of reasonable spending, rather than some bastion of frugality.

          But you don’t have to be perfect to make a difference in the world. If all the rich people of the world could just go down to a couple of fuel-efficient cars, rarely driven, and the odd trip overseas instead of weekly ones, we could still reduce our consumption drastically. This trip is about luxury in moderation, and although I agree that we could do even better, I’m still goin’ :-)

          • Heimdall March 12, 2014, 10:41 am

            Is this trip worth the cost to the environment? 62.5 tons of co2(2.5 tons per person), how do you square this with the previous article about lowering your impact on the environment? (plenitude) 3 people will expel 7.5 tons of co2, the equivalent of driving your scion 12,000 miles.

            Do as i say not as i do? Do you need a punch in the face? :)

            I enjoy the blog, and i already know i am free to go elsewhere!

            • Mr. Money Mustache March 12, 2014, 11:04 am

              For starters, we could make the trip carbon neutral by having this blog fund appropriate offsets with Terra pass or carbonfund.org (?)

          • Chris March 12, 2014, 7:51 pm

            I really don’t mean to come off as annoying (I promise), but I’m still not getting why one has to travel thousands of miles, spend thousands of dollars, and (as pointed out by another poster) expel tons of CO2 into the air to get a fresh perspective on the concept of moderation?

            My point is that the trip itself really has nothing to do with growing oneself with the topic at hand. That could easily be done visiting your local library, reading online sources like this site, or even by attending local/semi-local conferences for a tiny fraction of the cost. Heck, why not get a FREE google hangout going and chat with others from around the world on the same topic?

            How is this justification different from someone who needs to get away for a week (and who also spends several thousands of dollars) on a vacation for rest and personal edification? That person has a justification in his or her own mind as to why they think they need that trip, but as you have so appropriately pointed out over the years, that is merely a complainypants excuse and a facade for spending a silly amount of money on something that will ultimately not make them any happier.

            Take my feedback for what it’s worth (and I imagine others would agree), but this whole concept just doesn’t sit right with what you preach. It comes off as penny wise but pound foolish in both the personal, financial, and environmental realms that you so often touch on.

            If you feel as though I’m trying to give you a loving “punch to face,” that’s merely because I care about and agree with what you’re trying to do here as a whole. I just think this doesn’t align with what you’re all about and only gives the naysayers more ammo. And honestly, by the comment you made, I think it still doesn’t sit perfectly right with you either, at least on some level.

            • EscapeVelocity2020 March 12, 2014, 8:57 pm

              Sorry, but I’ve been wanting to say this for quite some time and this seems to be the ‘perfect storm’ that screwed up my courage (yes, I’m a consumer). If you get too far down the frugality path, it actually becomes a dark, desolate, isolating place. How can I justify taking my son to his Tae Kwon Do lessons if he won’t be the best? Although my daughter is obsessed with gymnastics, she won’t be a gold medalist because of her ‘body type’, definitely cut her off… Trying things is inefficient, but I’m amazed how many positive results eventually turn up. So, at the end of the day, a once-a-year ‘fancypants’ retreat might not be totally Mustachian, but it will result in enough badassity to always make it more worthwhile than the other fancypantiness that goes on everyday.

            • Jef March 13, 2014, 5:25 am

              Amen to espace velocity, you really hit the nail on the head there.. Sometimes even the perfect (or as close to it as you can get) or mustachian need to let their hair down, hang out with like minded people and enjoy a different scene for a week or so..

              I take it from a lot of these comments that you are probably complainypants or big candidates for complainypants of the year i.e. you’d be unhappy about anyone spending money.. Life is meant to be enjoyed, once you have earned it why not..

              This will be the last follow up but I genuinely hope you learn to live a little and enjoy life, embrace what is going to be an awesome and positive experience for those who are lucky enough to go :)

        • Jef Miles March 12, 2014, 4:47 am


          Sure it’s great to be moustachain all the time however once you have “made” it, I don’t see the point in avoiding things merely to pose and keep up a front.. A lot of these people, hopefull you are one of them have earned a priveledge to travel every so often..

          I’m sure if we look @ MMM’s budget at the end of the year, we’ll notice that he is still living a very moustachian lifestyle.. A
          As much as I hate to say it YOLO :)

          • Chris March 15, 2014, 12:17 am

            Jef – the problem is, I see your premise as flawed. You are arguing that living a “mustachian” lifestyle is somehow a life of suffering and that once you’ve made it financially, you might as well live a little and indulge. But that’s not what it’s all about. The point is that excessive, over the top luxury DOES NOT provide additional happiness or enjoyment – but rather, it detracts from it. The point of this blog has never been “do what works for you,” it’s always been “here is the way it should be done.” MMM has said as much himself.

            The lifestyle that MMM and this blog represents IS a lavish and rich one by the world’s standards, just not by the crazy consumerist one that many wealthy nations have embraced. I consider my lifestyle lavish as well. I don’t feel as though I’m suffering just to suffer because I don’t take multi-thousand dollar international vacations every year. To suggest that one must take such a trip to “kick back and live a little,” simply doesn’t compute with me. Unless you are trapped on a deserted wasteland of an island, the vast majority of us have many beautiful locations we can visit in a much more economical fashion.

            The point is Jef, that it doesn’t matter how much money you have. The life that I and many others discuss on this site IS a superior life full of luxuries and enjoyments… but they’re simply not insanely over the top luxuries and enjoyments. They’re enjoyments that respect sustainability and the environment. They’re enjoyments that focus on enjoying the world we live in and helping to make the world a better place.

            My posts are not intended to bash MMM or the site. To the contrary, the reason I bring this up is because I do strongly agree with what MMM has done here and respect his boldness in challenging others to live superior lives.

    • Emmers March 17, 2014, 6:10 pm

      Alternately: $2000 on an annual trip is *more* than someone spending $150/month eating out at restaurants.

      But we all have to pick and choose what we spend our money on – that’s why it’s best to absorb Mustachianism cafeteria-style, rather than wholesale. Not everything will work best for every individual or every family, and that’s okay.

  • Nat. March 9, 2014, 2:43 pm

    I would have signed up in a heartbeat, but our sweet girl turns 13 right in the middle of those dates, and I can’t miss that. Super stoked to hear all about it though, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that there’s a similar event again soon. Have a blast!

  • Susan March 9, 2014, 8:51 pm

    Sounds fab. But, I shall have to wait till you organise an event in New Zealand – I can hook you up in Auckland!

    • Jef March 11, 2014, 4:20 am

      Could always do one across the ditch here in Sydney, Aus ;)
      Having said this I’d be more than happy to come to NZ as well.. It is an awesome place..

      Do you have a site Susan? Would be interested in checking out your page

  • Jordan March 10, 2014, 6:42 am

    If only I would have started my path towards FIRE a few years ago. Alas, I’m not quite there yet, but definitely in a couple of years if it’s still going on. Longmont is more likely for me, unless you make it down to the Springs ever.
    Still, Mustachian Meetups of all kind sound pretty awesome, and I look forward to them in the future. Hit me up if you are planning anything, and I’ll definitely be there. Do you ever make it down to the springs, MMM?

  • Mark March 10, 2014, 7:39 am

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. Interesting to me that Ecuador is touted by International Living as the best country to retire well for Americans lacking the financial resources to retire comfortably in the U.S.

  • Leif March 11, 2014, 3:47 am

    My wife and i would LOVE to go, but this year your gathering is too early in the season. Hope this event will take place in November next year :-)

  • Deigan March 11, 2014, 11:12 am

    Can you please make sure the presentations get filmed and posted when you get back? Muchos gracias Mr. MM :-)

  • Leigh Mills March 11, 2014, 11:41 am

    I would ***LOVE*** to visit Ecuador!!! Sadly, doing so is out of the question this year. Next year, however, it would most certainly be! Y para entonces, mis clases de español deben terminarse :) I’ll definitely keep an eye out for future announcements…

  • Michael Rosehart March 12, 2014, 7:39 am

    I wish I could go-I am starting my new job. I’ll go next year for sure!

  • Paul O'Brien March 13, 2014, 8:51 am

    So …. how much would it cost, roughly, to build that door pictured at the top of the article?

  • Brian March 18, 2014, 6:58 am

    Is this a place someone with mild allergies should go?

  • Juan Carlos April 16, 2014, 3:19 pm


    I just found this site and it is great!

    I am from Ecuador, and the place is Otavalo (not Otovalo) :)


  • RBD January 19, 2015, 10:00 am

    Back in 2002 I spent 3 days in Otavolo. I visited because I had heard about the market, and I needed to kill time while waiting for a friend to arrive in Quito. I’ve looked through some of the links you provided and the photos bring back some good memories, especially of the beautiful hike I took there.

    Coincidentally, the 3 days in Otavolo were probably the most frugal in my entire life! Since I was alone and about to backpack throughout the continent for 5 months, I figured it was a good time and place to hold back on spending. To be as cheap as possible, I ate only bananas for 48 hours straight! I bought a huge bunch for about 10 or 15 cents, and paid maybe $3 per night for accommodation. Bananas and water for 2 days, and maybe a few crackers… that was it! I still managed to experience the town, hike the lake and see some crazy livestock market. I also remember finally reading Great Expectations and This Side of Paradise while there. Day three I splurged on a $3 pizza.

    My family isn’t traveling much these days since we have young kids. But I imagine if these FI events in Ecuador continue for some years, my wife and I would like to attend some day.


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