My Strategic 99-Day Packing Plan

Packing Prep

Two people. Three months. Four carry-ons and two bags to check.

Never before have I been required to pack so strategically as for an upcoming 99-day trip to Puerto Cayo, Ecuador beginning one week from today.

I’m typically a throw-it-in-the-bag-the-night-before-the-trip kind of guy, but that won’t work this time. There’s a house to furnish, a business to set up and hopefully a little fun to be had in the midst of it all.

It reminds me of the old trivia question – If you were stranded on a desert island, what’s the one thing you’d take with you?

Six days out, here’s my strategic packing plan.

CLOTHING – Shorts and jeans, mostly pullover short-sleeved shirts, two pairs of boots (one for dress, one for work), running shoes and shorts as I plan to be back in half-marathon shape when we return in April, and plenty of hats and caps for protection from the sun.

TECHNICAL: Two laptops, Kindle Fire, Nano, lots of jump drives and memory cards, two cell phones, my new Nikon D-3200, and  Rosetta Stone which I’ve hardly used to date.

BOOKS – My New American Standard Bible, and The Prayer of Jabez.

TOOLS – A few screw drivers, hammer, measuring tape, flashlight, bungee straps and zip ties.

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS: Every kitchen utensil that will fit in every available nook and cranny.

MONEY – Several thousand dollars, mostly in $20s and under. Hundreds don’t spend well in Latin America.

LEGAL: Passports, birth certificates and marriage license.

ENTERTAINMENT: A collection of 80s music CDs from my favorite artists, and a nearly a hundred movies on DVD.

INTANGIBLES: A willingness to unlearn my cultural biases, hopeful desire to learn how to chill out more often, and an adventuresome spirit. And a new golf swing I hope to perfect in the southern hemisphere summer that maybe, just maybe, might put me in the high 70s.

INSPIRATIONAL: A small desk moniker that reads: “Never, never, never, never give up.” It got us this far, and I hope it will take us a bit further.


Expat Prep: Our Checklist

Making a list, and checking it twice…

Las Palmas Ecuador

expat preparation for ecuador

When you do something you’ve never done before, sometimes, you just have to “feel” your way through it.

And it’s one thing to buy a new house, or a car, or change jobs where you are, but when you’re preparing to do all those things in a country 6,000 miles away, the concept takes on a whole new meaning.

Today, Dana and I find ourselves 42 days out from a move that includes all those things and much more.

For the last five months, we’ve worked long-distance with Gary and April Scarborough at  to buy property and build a home from the ground up in Puerto Cayo. It’s a matter of days now, before the home is complete, and for the most part, it’s been easier than building a house where we were on site.

Funny thing is, the house building was the easy part. Now, with 42 days and counting…

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Las Palmas Hires Strategic Marketing Staffer

This media release was distributed today by Gary & April Scarborough, owners/developers of Las Palmas, Ecuador. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Las Palmas Ecuador


FOR RELEASE: October 8, 2012

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Gary Scarborough – [email protected]

PUERTO CAYO, MANABI, ECUADOR – Las Palmas developers Gary and April Scarborough formalized their targeted efforts to grow and expand Monday with the announcement of Steve Watkins as their new director of Marketing and Brand Development.

Watkins, 46, is a long-time communication and marketing veteran who specializes in brand development and new-media initiatives.

As a part of the Las Palmas team, Watkins will be responsible for brand development and consistency, social media and web management and all advertising initiatives in a campaign promoting the 38-lot Puerto Cayan community.

Gary said the decision to create a formalized structure for Las Palmas promotions is a strategic effort he expects to pay immediate returns. The timing is right to put the development before a global audience of interested expatriates, he said.

“April and I…

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New House Pics from Puerto Cayo

It’s been a while since we’ve received photo updates on our home in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador, so we were thrilled to get a few last night.

Fifty-seven days and counting…

Puerto Cayo, Ecuador

View of the facade from the southwest. Love the balcony.


home of steve and dana watkins puerto cayo ecuador

Facade view from the northwest.


home of steve and dana watkins, puerto cayo ecuador

View from the 3rd-floor rooftop looking southwest.


The back of the house and view from la Ruta del Sol.