Cutting Their Teeth in Ecuador Left Them Wanting More
By Wendy DeChambeau
It was the low cost of dental work that initially brought Patrice Baron Parent and her husband Dave to Cotacachi, Ecuador. "We first came here for a dental vacation in 2009," says Patrice. "But while we were here we just fell in love with the place. We liked the people, the culture, and the landscape—including the two dormant volcanos."
Patrice hails from Canada while Dave is originally from Alaska, but at that time the couple were living and working in Seattle. However, despite returning to their regular lives, the memory of their vacation lingered, and in 2012 they decided to go back to Ecuador for good.
At that point Dave had retired and Patrice had given up her business built on web development, website construction, and search engine optimization. But one thing led to another and Patrice again found her skills in demand. Today, she is able to work from home or wherever she happens to find herself, as long as she has access to a good internet connection.
Having a mobile career makes it easy for Patrice and Dave to pursue their passion for traveling. "We've traveled a lot," says Patrice. "In the last 15 years we've seen about 65% of the world. We've been through Asia, Russia, Europe, South America, and even Antarctica."
In fact, Patrice found that because of her travel experience she was often booking travel plans for friends. So she recently decided to work as a travel agent too and earn some income from her expertise, which now gives her two portable sources of income.
While Dave and Patrice are frequently on the go, Cotacachi is their home base. A mellow little town, with a distinctly Andean feel, Cotacachi is everything Patrice fell in love with and more. There are community seed exchanges, harvest and planting festivals, and a market brimming with quinoa, potatoes, and other mountain staples.
But above all, Patrice loves the weather. "It's like spring every day." In fact, the average daytime temperatures hover in the mid-60s F all year long, making it an ideal climate for many folks.
And the pair found that they can continue their hobbies and interests in Cotacachi without any problem. As foodies who enjoy eating healthy, this was important. "We make everything—all our own food," says Patrice. "We make our own bread, cheese, sauces...everything. We spend a lot of time cooking and entertaining. You can't go to a store here and find 19 different bottles of hot sauce, so it's not always easy to source ingredients, but you can do it."
Patrice also spends her time sewing clothes for children, knitting, and making jewelry. She's also found satisfaction in volunteering in the local community. "Last month we hosted police officers who were in town for an event and we made them breakfast each morning," she says. She's also been actively involved with a scholarship program for indigenous high school students in the local area. "There are 75 kids in school because of these scholarships and they're all doing amazing things. Because of this program, they're going on to get a higher education which will allow them to be of greater help to their communities."
Not only does Patrice get to live the good life in her dream destination, she gets to give back to the local community while she does so. What's not to love?
To learn more about the Scholarship Program and how you can help http://www.itsaboutchildren.org/
Patrice's Travel Agent Website https://www.cruiseshipcenters.com/