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Talking About Wealth, Happiness, and Freedom: Join Me This August for a Week in Ecuador!

Last September, I spent a week in Ecuador with two dozen other like-minded folks. We gathered to talk about personal and financial independence. We had a grand time talking “rich people talk”, sharing our stories, and giving advice to other attendees who were just starting down the road to wealth.

The retreat succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Attendees raved about it. And to my surprise, most of us have continued to keep in touch by Facebook, blogs, and email. (In fact, I’ll have coffee, lunch, or dinner with at least four folks from Ecuador over the next month!)

But the retreat wasn’t just transformational for the attendees. It was also transformational for the four of us who presented: organizer Cheryl Reed, sagacious Jim Collins, the dashing Mr. Money Mustache, and me. In fact, there’s no chance that the Get Rich Slowly course would exist in its current form had I not listened to the lessons from the other presenters. (What’s more, the entire year-long series here at More Than Money is a direct extension of my own presentation in Ecuador.)

Pete shares his Mustachian vision for happiness and lifestyle design [photo by J.D.]

No surprise then that we’ve decided to do it again. Twice. Here’s the formal announcement. And here are some details:

  • The first 2014 chautauqua will take place between August 9 and August 16. At Hacienda Cusin, attendees will gather to discuss financial freedom, happiness, and entrepreneurship with Cheryl Reed, Jim Collins, Mr. Money Mustache, and Jesse Mecham (of You Need a Budget). Register here.
  • The second 2014 chautauqua will take place between August 23 and August 30. At El Encanto Resort, which rests squarely on the equator, attendees will talk about happiness and freedom with Cheryl Reed, David Cain (from, and J.D. Roth (that’s me!). Register here.

While I’m sad that I won’t get to spend time with my personal-finance buddies, I know I’ll see them many times in the future. (Heck, Pete will be sleeping on my couch in just a few weeks!) Meanwhile, I’m excited to meet David Cain, whose work I admire. (If you haven’t started reading Raptitude yet, you should.)

Tickets for this year’s retreats are now on sale: week oneweek two. Each week-long chautauqua costs $1900, and includes meals, lodging, in-country transportation, and scheduled retreat activities. Each chautauqua is limited to 15 participants.

Jim and Val prioritize their passions during Cheryl’s presentation [photo by Rich]

Obviously, this event isn’t for everyone. At $1900 (plus airfare), these gatherings are for folks who have moved beyond the first stage of financial development. But for those who can afford it, a chautauqua like this is a great way to share ideas with like-minded folks and to gain inspiration. Last year, I got a ton out of talking to so many people who were on the path to financial independence.

Are you interested? You should join me in Ecuador this August!

Note: None of us kept the “profits” from the 2013 event. We used the revenue to pay for expenses — including speaker travel to and from South America — but everything extra was used to fund charitable work for poor people in rural Ecuador. I plan to do the same thing again this year. I don’t need (or want) to be paid for this project, and so I’m happy to forgo my speaker fee.

Shyam and Jesse watch as Carol is serenaded for her birthday [photo by J.D.]

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  1. That trip could have only been improved if my wife could have come along. Other than that, it was truly one of the most enjoyable weeks in memory.

    I’m still just floored by how much fun a group of “strangers” (feels weird to call them that now) could have together!

    I can’t wait to go again this year!

  2. “At $1900 (plus airfare), these gatherings are for folks who have moved beyond the first stage of financial development.”
    Irony = A state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.
    Perhaps I am the only one that thinks this. Apologies in advance for the terse comment.

    • Perhaps. I don’t know. Your terse comment doesn’t really tell me why you find that sentence ironic. It seems pretty straightforward and non-contrary to me. What am I missing?

      • maybe Bob C thinks it’s ironic that people will spend money on their financial development?

        Frankly I think $2K for a weeklong vacation that just happens to include a lot of talk about how to design, build, and finance the life you want is probably a pretty good investment.

  3. What a dream to be able to attend one of these week-long experiences! I know a lot of us would love to hear audio recordings of these talks. Even just a recording with a smartphone would be super valuable! Have a blast and hopefully I’ll get to go in the future!

    • This is a great idea. I deeply regret not having recorded the presentations last year. They weren’t professional by any means. We were speaking from the heart! But everything was raw and powerful and valuable. This year, I’ll do my best to record my presentation.

      • Thanks JD! What a wonderful resource and memory to have for the future. Have a blast at this years Chautauqua!

  4. Hey Everyone……this is Cheryl, the host of the Chautauqua in Ecuador. I wanted to chime in and say that J.D. was so right…….. last year’s Chautauqua exceeded all of our expectations. It was a combination vacation, learning experience, week long party and a time where life-long friendships were formed. Of course we had to do another one this year.

    I wanted to let you know a little about what the week entails in Ecuador. After spending the night in Quito, we will head out to the Resort which is an hour and a half away, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. We will make a stop at the Intinan Museum, a fascinating spot on the equator and we will have lunch overlooking Pululahua Crater, a breath-taking inhabited volcanic crater surrounded by rugged mountain peaks.

    We will continue our drive arriving at El Encanto Resort which consists of 140 hectares of a subtropical reserve. Just one hectare squared has more biodiversity than all of the U.S. and Canada combined. One of it’s coolest features is that it sits exactly on the equator.

    During the week we will visit Mindo, a cloud forest reserve where we will watch the metamorphosis of butterflies, zip-line over the canopy of trees, visit pre-Incan ruins and see how coffee is produced on Above the Clouds Farm owned by me. You will experience a cleansing of your energy given by a Shaman from the Tsachila Indians of near-by Santo Domingo. We will give back to the community through an activity designed to help one small corner of the world.

    And of course one of the best parts is that we will all be inspired by talks from David on Happiness, your presentation on Freedom and I will speak about following your passions and finding a balance. You will also meet one-one-one with one presenter and have an entire week to bond with the other attendees.

    It should be another fantastic week. Can’t wait! If anyone has any questions they can contact me at [email protected].