I get asked all the time: What brings me to Ecuador? There isn’t an answer that doesn’t begin and end with privilege.

I can feel the eye rolls. Bear with me.

It doesn’t matter how you or I or anyone else feels about the subject. The fact that we’re here at all, as expats, is evidence.

Who else but a rich northerner would decide one day he’s had enough winter; I’ll build a house on the equator? Or that retirement should be a grand adventure; I’ll put my shit in storage and have a decades-long lark? Or that I know nothing about these people; think I’ll live among them for a few years and learn something new?

Who would do these things? Certainly not the people who welcomed me into this country.

I could never retire at 55 in Canada. And yet, here, I represent impossible wealth. I, the weather migrant, the early retiree, the fed-up progressive. I, who left a country most Ecuatorianos only dream they’ll one day see – if they dream of such things, at all. Perhaps they do.

Last year, in Ottawa, I took a cab driven by a young Columbiano. I spoke to him in Spanish. He wanted to know where I learned it, so I told him.

His first question? Why on God’s green Earth would you leave Canada? My answer, sheepishly offered? Porque quiero vivir en la playa. I want to live on the beach.

That’s not much of a reason. But it’ll have to be good enough.

I’m here because I fucking hate fucking winter fuck. Pardon my French.

I’m here because I want my retirement to be a grand adventure.

I’m here to learn something new.

Get real, James. I’m here because I can.