About Us


Puerto Lopez, Ecuador


“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius.


Hello, and welcome to NaturalVistas!  Hola y bienvenido a VistasNaturales! Thanks for being a part of our blog.

I’m Dave Zinck and that good-lookin’ girl with me is my wife, Robin. We’ve been traveling and exploring together since 1978. We’re a Canadian couple from the South Shore of Nova Scotia where winters are waaayyy too long and summers are short.

We moved to Ecuador on January 2nd, 2016.

We created this site as a resource for those of you considering residency in Ecuador, for you world travelers, and to keep in touch with family and friends. We’ll write about our experiences, both good and bad, and share photos and videos with you. Maybe you’ll learn a little Spanish along the way. Si?­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

I’m a Toronto Maple Leafs fan—Robin doesn’t like sports (although she did get excited when the Blue Jays won the World Series). She likes to sleep in—I get up early. I talk a lot—she’s quiet (well, most of the time). She likes gardening—I like watching stuff grow.

We like music, campfires and beer, walks on the beach, canoeing and fishing, watching the sunset—enjoying life and being happy…

Since we can’t afford to be “snowbirds”, escaping winter for 6 months, we thought, “Why not just move somewhere with beautiful scenery, warm beaches, tropical rainforests?”

Yeah, right…but, after months of research, we discovered it is possible! So we decided to just do it!


“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Henry David Thoreau


Calculator keypadThe rising cost of basic needs is making a comfortable retirement in Canada look bleak for people (like us) without private pensions. Working for the rest of our lives, just to pay our bills, is not the life we envisioned.

We looked at options, one of which was moving to a country where the cost of living is lower than Canada and the temperatures warm all year. We considered many countries and finally decided to pack up and move.

We chose Ecuador as our new home.

It’s not just the money. We want to travel. We want to experience a different culture, eat different foods, float on a river in the Amazon jungle and experience an erupting volcano.

We’re not getting any younger. It’s now or never to start a new life, do things we’ve never done, meet new people, and learn a new language. It’s time for an adventure.

Update, June 2017: After a year and a half enjoying Ecuador, we’ve decided to move back to Canada. We packed up our old camper van and drove across Canada from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Follow us on our new adventures: I Want to be Outdoors.com


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28 thoughts on “About Us

  • Michael

    Hi Dave and Robin,
    My wife and I are planning to move to Ecuador coastal. We are taking a trip in the next couple of months to check it. We live in USA.
    If I may ask, why did you leave Ecuador? Any information will help us making our decision. Pros and cons.
    Thank you

    • Dave Post author

      Hi Michael,
      We left for a variety of reasons – language was a major factor. Also, coming from rural Canada and living with no security systems, gates, electric wires, etc. made it hard to adjust to the necessary security in Ecuador.
      We missed things like trout fishing and camping – and we missed our friends and family too.
      Life in Ecuador was great in so many ways too – the prices of the basics, the scenery, the weather, the people…the beer is great too.
      The best thing for you to do is visit and decide if it’s good for you – the longer the visit the better.
      I wrote an article for Gringos Abroad about our life there and why we left. If you’re interested, you can read it here:
      https://gringosabroad.com/leaving-ecuador-reasons-david-zinck/
      Best of luck to you if you do make the move! Let us know how things work out.

  • Bruce Paddlle

    Interesting articles! Enjoyed reading about your experiences. I think your plan to move to Vancouver Island is excellent. My family did the same to escape Ontario winters. We’re now in Campbell River on Vancouver Island & just love it. It’s much more affordable than Victoria; much less traffic than Victoria or Nanaimo; on the ‘dry’ coast of the island (compared to Tofino or Gold River for example). With about 36000 souls here, we have several big box stores for decent shopping; a new hospital; unbeatable fishing & hiking & camping, kayaking, and on & on. Did I mention it’s very affordable? Come & have a look!

    • Dave Post author

      Thanks Bruce. Yes, we plan to visit Campbell River and explore the island. We lived in Victoria and Sooke for a while about 30 years ago and liked it very much. Our plan is house sitting for a while – looking for the perfect place. Maybe we’ll meet up some day.

      • Joyce Case Harlow

        I am actually contemplating a move down to the coast to a smaller area. The canadian dollar is killing me and so is the altitude 🙂 ( well not that bad) but I want to experience everything here in Cuenca before I make a move. Wherever I go I need big hills or mountains in the background in case there’s a tsunami from one of those earthquakes along the coast ….lol

  • Belinda and Scott Smith

    Glad you arrived safe and sound. Will send you a couple of pictures from our dinner before you left. Have fun and be safe.

  • Kelly

    Ok, I’m in! Can’t wait to get all the info! You know this destination is on the top of my list so it may be sooner rather than later that you see me! Yay!

    • Dave Post author

      Hi Amy! Glad to hear you’ll be following us – vicariously is OK, but you guys can come for a visit some loooong winter. 🙂

  • Krista Doherty

    Hi David

    I will happily travel with you and your wife Robin via email and this blog! I too love to travel, and hate Canada’s Winter…. maybe just maybe when I am older and you have trail blazed the way for me I too will be living in a wonderful place like Ecuador!