Breaking Free

by Jack
(Ecuador)

Before the weight loss

Before the weight loss

As you know, after spending 5 weeks exploring Ecuador, including meeting you and our becoming friends last fall, I made the decision to make some major changes in my life.

I was 54 years old, I owned several successful businesses, I had two son's in college, a nice home, a couple of boats, nice motor home, a fleet of cars and trucks and a gold claim in southern Oregon.

I was considered a success by all who knew me. I also had a monthly overhead of $8000+. Those were bills that had to be paid before I got to keep any.

With that overhead and the running of my companies, came responsibilities to clients, employees, family, and the keeping track of a million details. The stress load was terrible.

However, I did enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle and I was able to travel, take family and friends on great trips, buy what I wanted, etc.

However, the stress was tremendous. I was irritable, had headaches all the time, and worried constantly about a thousand things.

When I returned home from Ecuador, I had a decision to make. I knew I could keep doing what I had been doing, keep working, making money, paying the bills, continuing to grow my businesses and maintaining the status quo.

OR, I could chuck it all. I could sell or close down the businesses, sell all the toys, explain to my sons I needed a change, hope my girlfriend understood and went along, and do what I really wanted to be doing... to follow my heart, trust my gut, to take a leap of faith.

Well Stan, you know what my decision was. I chose to take my life back, to put myself first, to spend the rest of my life adventuring, exploring, challenging myself, physically, socially and emotionally.

I did walk away from an almost $1 million a year income, a fleet of toys, a very comfortable existence. I moved here to the Pacific coast of Ecuador in January and I am loving it. I am more relaxed, and am happier than I have been in many years.

Sure, there have been challenges and a few unexpected surprises. But, I have not regretted my decision for one moment. I did not plan on living alone. (The girlfriend did not make the trip) Money I had planned on having, did not materialize. But, I have found that there are some advantages to being alone and I need very little money to live comfortably here.

I have easily shed almost thirty pounds. I feel strong; my mind is clear. I wake up every morning and thank God I made the decision to quit the Rat Race before it killed me.

Life is short. We do not know when it will be our turn to check out. We only have so many days in our life. I choose to spend my remaining days enjoying myself.

I look forward to our many future adventures Stan. I thank you for being my friend and for helping me make one of the most important decisions of my life.

My advice to my family, my friends, and anyone else who will listen is, if you can, get out. Start living your life, I mean really living, not slaving for a paycheck. Take stock of your life today. Tomorrow may never come.




Stan's response: What can I say Jack? I count you in as one of my very small circle of close friends. For those of us who know of your recent, huge, "life changes", you are a tremendous inspiration to us all. What do you think we will find on our upcoming expedition?

Comments for Breaking Free

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Feb 11, 2011
One year update
by: Jack

Hi Stan, Not sure that any of your readers will care, but thought I would write an update sharing a little of what has happened in my first year here in Ecuador.

As you are well aware Stan, I have read virtually all of your published materials. Some of that information led me on some unforgettable adventures. The latest has resulted in my becoming a partner in an alluvial gold mining operation in southern Ecuador. I have learned through trial and error where legal mining concessions are located, where to source all of the equipment needed, how to hire the laborers, set everything up, get everything operating and actually bring gold out of the ground.

I am taking a short vacation, but will soon be headed back south. I expect to produce between 100-200 grams of gold per work shift. We will operate 2 shifts per day, 6 days a week. Simple math says that is a lot of gold. The beauty is I don't have to spend time finding the gold. That's been done. All my effort is spent in processing the material and extracting the gold. There is an opportunity to expand the operation as much as I wish to, we will see.

I have lost around 40 pounds now, and reduced my waist to the point that 34" waist pants are loose.
At 55 years old, I am in the best shape I have been in since my twenties. I have more strength and stamina than I have had in a long time. I am calmer, happier, more relaxed and just feel great everyday.

The young lady who was supposed to join me last January, finally came to her senses, and is here with me now. She is loving the warm weather, the walks on the beach, and swimming in my pool.

My family and friends who thought I was crazy to walk away from what most considered a successful life, are beginning to see the light. They have all seen the changes in me, and are amazed and in some cases a little envious. I just tell them they can do it too. All it takes is to make the decision to do it, to break free of the stranglehold that trying to keep their heads above water has on them.

I have given up nothing and gained so much. I have made more friends here in the last year, than I have in the last decade in the States. I am living a life full of adventure and fun. I have more than enough money to live comfortably, and it would take millions to live this kind of lifestyle in the States. I can have fresh lobster for the cost of a Big Mac in the U.S.

I owe much of this to you Stan. You have been my inspiration. Your friendship, advice and guidance has been a determining factor in my decision to break free. For that I can never thank you enough. You are a great friend Stan, and I am excited about our upcoming adventures.

I hope that I can help another person realize they can do as I did. Make a decision to just chuck it all and begin to really live, not just exist. It is easier than most people will ever believe. As I have said before, if I can do it, anyone can.

Stan's response: Thank you very much for your kind comments.

May 28, 2010
Our upcoming expedition
by: Anonymous

First of all Stan, thank you for your kind response. As you know, I truly value our friendship. We are kindred spirits, so to speak.

What do I think we will find on our upcoming expedition? Well my friend, I think we will find that we are two tough hombres. I think we will find we can depend on each other, and rely on each other to watch each others backs. I think we will find true adventure.

I think we will be exploring where very few ever have. I think we will find a renewed excitement in our lives. I think we will struggle some, if it was an easy place to get to, it might be worth getting to. I think we will find we are stronger than we thought, in better shape than we have been in years.

And yes, I think we may find gold. I have a positive expectation of finding gold in quantities that people elsewhere only dream of.

I am looking forward to the trip, bet on it. Even if we find no gold, it will be a great adventure, and I will enjoy every step. It will sure as hell beat working for a living.

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