It’s no secret that I’ve made a lot of changes to my life over the past few years. I’ve made so many changes, in fact, that sometimes I feel like I’m somebody completely different. That’s not a bad thing. The challenge now is to s-l-o-w down, to enjoy the life I’ve worked so hard to create.

Often when I talk to people, they ask how I managed to make so many changes in such a short period of time. There are two key elements to this:

  • First, I decided to be completely honest and true to myself — and to others. Instead of doing what I thought others wanted me to do, I did what I wanted.
  • Second, I faced my fears and acted in spite of them. This is tied directly to the first point. In order to be true to yourself, you’ve got to confront the things that frighten you most.

For a while now, I’ve been prepping to start writing my second book. It’ll be a book about personal finance, but I hope to take a different approach than most money books. But there’s a nagging doubt at the back of my mind; part of me wonders if I shouldn’t write some sort of self-help/motivational book first.

To test the waters, I’ve begun thinking and writing more about psychology. And — to challenge one of my biggest fears — I’ve been speaking on the subject, too.

At last summer’s World Domination Summit, I spoke for 40 minutes on the art of personal transformation.

My talk about personal transformation from World Domination Summit 2012

At this summer’s World Domination Summit, I’ll be joining my friend Leo Babauta from Zen Habits to present a workshop on how to build confidence and destroy fear.

But I think the talk that excites me most is the one I’ll give later this year in Ecuador. Just after Labor Day, I’ll be joining three other folks to host a retreat outside Quito, Ecuador. We’ll welcome 25 people for a week of learning and laughter.


We’re billing this as a one-week chautauqua on freedom, wealth, and happiness. Here’s how the official website describes the event:

Please join J.D. Roth, Mr. Money Mustache, Jim Collins, and Cheryl Reed, each of whom have succeeded in designing their own lives of personal freedom. Through presentations, one-on-one sessions, and group discussions, they will share their knowledge and tools for how you can do the same.

Join us in Ecuador, one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. You will stay at the award winning Arasha Rainforest Resort and Spa, considered a hot spot because of its virgin forest and biodiversity. It is here, on the equator, where you will design your plan to live a passionate life and take the steps to financial freedom.

My presentation will touch on personal finance, but it’ll really be an extension of the topic I’m talking about WDS. All of us have grand dreams and big ideas, but all too often we lack the courage to see them through. Plus, there’s Real Life. With family and friends and work and other obligations, who has the time to make dreams come true?

As we get older, we find we’re trapped by the desires and expectations of others. We feel locked into a life we no longer love. I plan to help participants explore how to build confidence and destroy fear. We’ll talk about how find freedom in an unfree world, about how to choose the road less traveled.

Most of all, we’ll explore the idea that it’s not only acceptable but absolutely
vital to put yourself and your interests first in life.

Plus, like each of the other presenters, I’ll be meeting one-on-one with attendees during the week.

I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical about our ability to fill this retreat. I needn’t have been. We opened registration ten days ago, and already nineteen people have paid. Only six spots remain.

I’d love it if some of you were able to attend. If you’re free from the 7th to 14th of September and would like to spend a week learning about life while lounging in subtropical Ecuador, register now to join us. (And if you’ve got extra time and want to join me on a trip to the Galapagos, let me know. I’m doing this by myself after the end of the retreat, but I’d be happy to share the tour info with you so that you can join me.)

Am I scared about being one of the presenters at this chautauqua? Hell yes. But that’s the point. And past experience has taught me that by facing and overcoming my fears, I’ll be a better man.

23 Replies to “Meet Me in Ecuador in September”

  1. I might go if I didn’t have a daughter to take care of.

  2. jlcollinsnh says:

    Now you tell us you were skeptical?!

    I hope your readers get to snatch up the last few spots. I’ll look forward to meeting some of them. And hanging out with you, of course. I’m personally really looking forward to your presentation.

    See you in Ecuador!

  3. Karla says:

    Ecuador is beautiful, you will love it. If you haven’t already decided on a tour company for the Galapagos, I recommend Ecoventura. Excellent service, experienced guides, and smaller boats that can go to areas the huge cruise ship-type boats can’t get to.

  4. My wife and I will be joining you for the week in Ecuador. We signed up on Sunday and have been in contact with Cheryl and Jim since. We’re looking forward to meeting you!

  5. Nicely said, JD! I am excited to meet you, and everyone else, there this September.

    Jim gets major credit for his confidence in pulling us all together. I too wondered how many people would happen to be free for such an adventure exactly at the same time we were.. but it looks like it will soon be filled up, and with a very enthusiastic crew no less!

  6. Melinda says:

    Have a wonderful time! Right now the dollar amount is too high for me, but I bet it will be amazing. Good luck to you all!

  7. Wilson says:

    “Most of all, we’ll explore the idea that it’s not only acceptable but absolutely
    vital to put yourself and your interests first in life. ”

    That is the part I’ve been struggling with and has become a huge question in trying to define my life. I’m not going to portray myself as a noble altruist, which is far from the truth, but I’m afraid that what I would like to do is too self-indulgent and neglectful. I’m slowly getting there and making compromises but have still been unable to reach that grand unifying bargain with myself. I may never, so maybe I should just stop worrying about it.

    Alas, we already had a Latin American vacation with some friends planned for later this summer so will not be able to make it. Quito is perhaps my favorite airport I’ve ever flown into, with the way the city spreads up into the mountains with shiny tendrils at night and the crowds waiting the return of friends and family that make you feel you’re on a Super Bowl winning team returning home to a hero’s welcome.

  8. Olivia says:

    I agree! Sometimes we are so worries about creating a great life for ourselves we often times don’t get the chance to slow down and enjoy it…

  9. Jesse says:

    I just booked the trip yesterday. I’ve never been to South America, and am pretty stoked. Now I just need to pick up some Spanish.

    Looking forward to your presentation JD — I’m sure it’ll be great 🙂

  10. Somsiah says:

    Ecuador! South America. Now that is one place we have yet to be. I can see my son and I going for an extended stay, backpacking to the country. But attending a personnel finance Pow Wow? Ooh no. I would feel like a sitting duck. Heh, this is one fear I’m going to lean on. Really, in a different life, when something so tempting like this is happening, I would get all my resources together and go for it. But this is a new woman here. I’ll tackle my debt first – 30 months from 1.1.2013. So all the excitement and fun to to those going, I shall follow you in my chair. For now 😉

  11. Amy F says:

    I am looking so forward to this – I registered last night after reading about it over on MMM. For so many reasons, this opportunity is coming at a perfect time and I couldn’t be more excited if I tried. Also, I will be coming out west in May from Cincinnati for a two week trip through California, Oregon and Washington, with 3 days in Portland. If you have happen to be in town and are free, I would love to meet up for a meal or a drink.

  12. Meghan says:

    All of us have grand dreams and big ideas, but all too often we lack the courage to see them through. – Too true!

    Does one justify such a trip while she still has a car payment? Of course, the flight from my city is $1100 too. Seems like an amazing trip though! I’ll have to sleep on it even though there may only be a spot or two left. Too bad I don’t know any friends who would want to go and bunk together for the discount!

  13. Martin says:

    Wow. This is impressive. Such a brilliant idea. Will you be covering the business aspect of such a project?

    You guys will have a blast. I was in Puerto Plata last month and you can say that fears were conquered.

  14. Lucille says:

    My particular fears and obligations won’t disappear by the relevant payment dates so have to pass.

  15. Stephany says:

    JD, are there opportunity to help with the Project One Corner if you can’t attend the retreat?

    • Cheryl says:

      Hi Stephany. This is Cheryl, Founder of Above the Clouds Retreats and Project One Corner. Jim Collins is planning on putting a donation button for Project One Corner on his website. I may do the same. I would be honored with any donation. As you read, we are going to be able to help 10 kids attend school because the retreat is most likely going to be full. And on top of that, the guys told me that rather than taking any kind of speaking fee, they are donating their profits to my charity. Needless to say, I was speechless. What I plan on doing with that money is to go into the streets of Quito and to the country side and change one life at a time. As a Physical Therapist I see many people in Ecuador without wheelchairs or devices to help them walk. I will change that. I have neighbors who don’t even have a mattress to sleep on. The causes are endless and the beauty is that 100% of the money goes to that person’s needs. No administration fees or salaries to be paid from it. And you get the joy of changing the world one person at a time!!

      • Stephany says:

        That’s great! My brother-in-law is Ecuadorian so I feel a personal connection to this effort. Please let me know when the button is up since I would like to contribute and get my company to match my donation.


  16. MrGCalciumNY says:

    I think it is great that you folks put this trip together, I am sure it will be filled with great rewarding information and memories, just as your blogs are. What would be nice would be for you all to put one together in the good old USA. It would be cheaper to travel and I would join you all along with my wife. One the dollar signs are too high for now with this trip and two my wife will not fly. Maybe the future will bring great things.

    The best to all and thanks for all your great blogs

    • jlcollinsnh says:

      Hi Mr. GC….

      We did consider a USA location. The problem is three-fold:

      *No matter where we chose, most people will still have to travel to get there.
      *Not all participants are from the USA.
      *A resort as beautiful and in as stunning a location would be far, far more costly in the US, erasing any travel savings and then some.

      Who knows? Maybe sometime in the future, but given the above it wouldn’t be for cost savings.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Joe says:

    Have a great time. It sounds like a great opportunity to learn and grow. I’m not going to make it though. I can’t leave the kid at home for a week right now. Looking forward to WDS!

  18. EMH says:

    I would love to meet up with all the amazing people on this trip but we were in Ecuador not too long ago. Quito is fun and don’t miss the chance to straddle the equator. You will love the Galapagos. Snorkeling with penguins, meandering with the tortoises and partaking in the blue footed boobies mating rituals. It is an amazing experience.

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