We officially retired January 4, 2019.

I’m writing this the third week of July.

It’s been seven months since that alarmingly cold morning, when we waited in the dark for taxis to carry us and six very heavy suitcases to the Ottawa International Airport.

Seven months, and I’m only now beginning to pick apart the consequential mix of meticulous planning and dumb luck that brought us to our home on the sunny South Pacific.

Most people ask us the same questions.

Why Ecuador? How did you manage to retire at such a young age? Aren’t you afraid you’ll be kidnapped by drug lords?

It may take my entire experience in Ecuador to truly account for that first question. Ecuador is a fascinating and beautiful country. Her people are unusually generous, helpful, and kind. Their needs and wants are not at all the same as ours. As a North American, raised equally on diets of compassion and individualism, I may never truly understand them.

The second question is all about money, opportunity, being married to the right person, lofty notions of self-actualization, and growing enough of a pair to realize what utter shite our culture has become.

As for the third: No, I’m not afraid I’ll be kidnapped by drug lords. This isn’t an Amy Schumer movie.

It’s been a long, strange trip. I expect it to be longer and stranger still.

And, as always, there are French Canadians.