Arkansas to Ecuador: When God Said ‘Yes’ to Our Most Laughable Dream

Dana and me back in the days of suits, cocktail parties, benefit art auctions and big business.

Dana and me back in the days of suits, cocktail parties, benefit art auctions and big business.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18

It’s been quite a year.

My dad died in January. Dana and I explored Ecuador in April, bought a piece of land and began building a house. I started writing a couple of books, and considered the world of self-employment once again. Two months ago, my corporate day job was eliminated, forcing the issue of previously considered self-employment. We paid off 90 percent of our debts. And we’re now eight days away from getting on a plane to Quito (December 21 – the day the Mayans claim the world will end, I might add) and driving into Puerto Cayo where our house should be finished and our new venture into the world of global marketing will begin.

Each night before bed, I expect to wake up the next morning in a dream, but it hasn’t happened yet.

***

October 31, 2009, is a day I’ll never forget.

Nine months prior I’d cashed out well over six figures (everything I had) to launch a new publishing business that I believed was destined for success. I hired the finest people, (many of whom were good friends) bought the best equipment and leased the most advanced facilities I could imagine to put it all in. We were hi-tech, and we looked good.

On the World Poker Tour they would have said I was “all-in.”

But the world had an ace in the hole.

By July I began seeing signs of something I’d never seen before. Getting money was tougher. Selling advertising, even to my closest of business associates, wasn’t like it was before. Businesses were holding back. I had no idea what it was.

It was then, that I understood what recession meant.

Our revenues dried up. Overhead costs were screaming every day, creditors started calling, and for the first time in my life, I couldn’t pull a rabbit out of a hat.

On the week leading up to October 31, I fired my entire staff of eight and liquidated all our physical assets. Even then, I was $100k in debt, well beyond broke, and for the first time in my life, had NO vision. Not for tomorrow or next week, and certainly not for the next year or five years.

Things went dark very quickly. Very dark. I thought I’d never return the communications business I loved so much. I thought I’d never write again. And for two years, I didn’t.

***

And when daddy died, it all had to come out. So I created a blog and the world changed.

This blog site became a place of healing. Beyond the steadfast support of my wife, Dana, it was the only such source I ever found. I could write about my failures, my anger, and be transparent about it all because I never really had to look anyone in the eye.

Readers came. Comments rolled in, and slowly and gradually, I started thinking again, and a journey began to finding my former self – one blog post at a time.

After dad died in January, I took a good assessment of life’s brevity. It grew into a desire to explore, and do things I’d never before done. It guided Dana and me to an exploratory trip to Ecuador where there was a defining moment  I’ll never forget.

Dana and me, back in business, but a lot more relaxed, less stress and learning to enjoy life and savor the moment.

Dana and me, back in business, but a lot more relaxed, less stress and learning to enjoy life and savor the moment.

After a nine-hour drive from Guayaquil, we finally arrived on an elevated hill just south of Puerto Cayo, and as I looked at the small fishing village with pristine, uninhabited beach as far as the eye could see, I knew something special would happen there soon, with, or without me.

Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. My first view.

Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. My first view.

So we bought a piece of land and started building a house, and managed it all via electronic communication from 6,000 miles away. During that time, we’ve laid the ground work for a family of mass communication marketing companies in a part of the world I like to think of as the New West. Opportunity everywhere. It must have been how Lewis and Clark felt each day as they passed through and explored the Louisiana Purchase en route to the Pacific. A new opportunity around every corner.

They too, must have thought they’d wake up in a dream.

I never thought I’d write again. God got a big laugh out of that one.

“Oh yes you will,” he said. “Just never as you’ve before imagined, my son.”

-30-

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8 thoughts on “Arkansas to Ecuador: When God Said ‘Yes’ to Our Most Laughable Dream

  1. Steve I am so happy for you!. I seems you have found a happiness and joy of life. Its that thing that money can’t buy and if you go looking for it you won’t see it. It just happens when you aren’t looking. Its a very comfortable feeling when you feel good in your own skin. I’m happy you found Dana and she must be a very special lady. You have found the way of life we started invisioning at 16 but didn’t have the maturity to know what it was. God Bless you and Dana. Missy

    • Thanks for taking time to drop me a message, Missy. Yes, we were immature dreamers, weren’t we??? We could all waste a lot of time regretting our failures from the past (and we can’t help but do that some times, because we’re only human) and I’ve certainly had my share of violating my own moral conscience, but we have to press on. I think a lot of time we make the mistake of thinking God’s punishing us when that’s not true at all. There are just natural consequences to the things where we’ve fallen short here on earth. I’m convinced 100 percent that he wants the best for us. If you’ll send me a email for you, I’ll try to send you something nobody’s seen yet. It’s a video being shown in our church this sunday … me and dana talking about everything that’s happened in our lives. It even makes me cry every time I see it. You keep your head up, and know I’ll always love you and your family, and yes, Dana is very special. When you get ready to go on an adventure, you drop me a line and come to Ecuador. We’ll show you a good time, it won’t cost you a dime, and I’ll show you things you’ve never imagined … and I’m not kidding, so just keep it in mind. ~ steve

  2. Enjoyed watching the show on house hunters international. My wife and I have been looking at Ecuador for 3 years now for possible move. I would probably enjoy Cuenca area because of cooler weather? Our church is planning a mission trip next June to Quito, so that will give us a look at Ecuador at least for a week. How have you adjusted to the changes of lifestyle in Ecuador? Fellow Arkansan!

    • Yes, Cuenca is a lovely city with a great climate. Much different from the coast. Quito is also a great city – one of the most interesting cities in the world, in my opinion, but don’t judge Ecuador just from a week in Quito. There’s a lot more to Ecuador than what you’ll see in Quito. I’m actually in Arkansas at the moment, but headed back to EC in three weeks. Life is much different there, and that’s why we enjoy it. I wish everyone could take time out of their life to live somewhere else. Where is your home in Arkansas?

  3. Steven, We have a new family in our church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. They are from Quito, Ecuador. Do you know of any other people from Ecuador who are now living in in the central Arkansas area that they could connect with? Thanks…Dave

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