Patrice Was Interviewed

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/

Packing 101 ….

So what can you do to pack lighter? Its always a question - how can I take less but have enough? We have an upcoming adventure 140 days, 57 on a ship the rest on the ground. 

We always seem have too much luggage and we bring things home that we never put on! So I am working hard on how to pack smarter and lighter!  This way we can travel easier by train and on flights in country (all have weight restrictions).  Ok I accept the challenge, here we go!

  • Step 1 - we need a carry on that will accommodate a laptop and double as luggage for maybe 10 days. Started to do research on backpacks (no we are not planning to travel with ONLY a backpack) but if it can do multiple things - awesome.  I started to do research and there is what we opted to start with.  eBags Motherlode TLS Weekender Convertible
  • Step 2 - more cubes and envelopes (its how we pack)

  • Step 3 - what about more than 5 days - bought a portable washing machine - Scrubba

  • Step 4 - sleep sacks (never had one before BUT what can be wrong with sleeping in silk?)

     Stay tuned for more updates  (in other words part 2)

GWV Photos …

Easter Island

We were fortunate to spend a fabulous sunny day on this island. You know how some places you have heard about and your expectations build and then you hear more and more and you build such expectations that you don’t think anything could live up to it. Well after hearing about this place and reading about it with all the history I was ready to be let down by our visit.  I can tell you that you can believe all the hype! This is an amazing place and one that we will not soon forget.

They told us that sea swells can be problematic and not many ships can tender into the island. You see there is no dock on the island. So the only way to get ashore is by tendering in. Look in this next picture at the Tender boat coming back to the ship. Where we went ashore was just past that first row of rocks and just before the second row of rocks. One tender (boat) lost its front corner window and another one lost the front door. They had to stop bring people to shore for a while after we were ashore. Even some of the afternoon ship tours were not able to get ashore and had to be canceled. We counted ourselves lucky, for sure.

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Once ashore we found our guide and headed off for a private tour of Easter Island. Along the way we heard about the history of the island and what it is like to live there. There are a total of around 8,000 people that live on Easter Island, according to the last census. The place has been growing as the previous census recorded 4,000 people.

It had rained for several days before our arrival and this day was a beautiful partly cloudy day. Everything was clear and bright. You will notice the bright fresh green in some of the pictures.

Yes for us the island lived up to all the hype. It is a very special place that we are very lucky to have spent some time on.

Sand Boarding in Peru

We took an opportunity with a couple of friends while in Peru, to go Sand Boarding at a little Oasis called Huacachina. It was the first time for all of us to try this sport out. All of us were glad we did. We had Ace along, you can see him here at that lake in Haucachina checking out the mermaid.

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Now to go Sand boarding it isn’t like just going on top of hill and sliding down it. You drive out in the sand dunes and find a nice hill, board down and of course when you get to the bottom of the hill your driver comes down and picks you up for the next run. This was our vehicle for this little adventure.

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Look at this next picture to get an idea of where we were doing this at.

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The sand here is very fine and reminds me of the Sahara sands. After a bit of instructions we started boarding down the slopes

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After a long day riding around the dunes and sand boarding we headed back to the oasis…

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It is a tough life sand boarding the dunes of Peru…but we would do it again in a minute 🙂