Every autumn for the past few years (except the year I was on the road in the RV), I’ve traveled to Ecuador to participate in a series of chautauquas on money and happiness. These chautauquas are week-long events during which about two dozen people come together to carry on an extended conversation about wealth and well-being. They’re awesome.
Each year, a handful of presenters plant seeds for discussion. Past presenters include Mr. Money Mustache, Jim Collins, Paula Pant, the Mad Fientist, and Leo from Zen Habits. Two of this year’s chautauquas have already sold out. But I’m pleased to announce that registration has just opened for a third week, which will include presentations by David Cain (from Raptitude), Tyler Tervooren (from Riskology), and — of course — me, J.D. Roth (from Money Boss).
- Four two-hour presentations. You’ll hear from each of the three guest presenters — David Cain, Tyler Tervooren, J.D. Roth — as well as the retreat organizer, Cheryl Reed. Last year, my presentation ran way long, but we made do by sharing wine and whisky while I talked about how to be happy and lead a meaningful life.
- A one-on-one session with the presenter of your choice. You’ll get an hour to pick the brain of one presenter about whatever you want. In the past, I’ve spent that hour talking with folks about personal finance. But I’ve also talked about relationships, travel, career moves, and more.
- Lodging and meals at a 17th-century hacienda. Hacienda Cusín is located 8500 feet above sea level, high in the Andes Mountains about two hours north of Quito. I stayed here for the first chautauqua back in 2013. I thought the place was awesome. (Transportation too and from the airport is also included.)
- A variety of “field trips”. You’ll visit the amazing market in downtown Otavalo. You’ll participate in a community project to help the local people. You’ll stand with your feet on both sides of the equator. You’ll enjoy a presentation of native folkloric dance.
For me, the greatest value from this trip comes when the group gathers for informal conversation during the afternoons and evenings. We laugh, tell stories, and share wisdom from our life experience. It’s a chance for each of us to share what we know. (Last year, we stayed up late playing Werewolf almost every single night.)
Generally, about half the group books an add-on trip to visit the Galapagos once the week is over. After the first chautauqua, I went on a tour by myself. I had fun swimming with the sea lions, but I wished I had gone with my new friends.
This chautauqua is always one of the highlights of my year. Sure, I love South America, but I also love meeting like-minded people, people who go from strangers to friends. (Seriously, I’m still connected to folks from the past chautauquas I’ve attended. We don’t just keep in touch; we visit each other all of the time!)
Space is limited — only about twenty spots are available for this year’s event — so if you’re interested, you should sign up soon!
If you’re curious about this and want to know more, feel free to email me or leave a comment below. I’ll do my best to answer questions. I really do think this a great event — one of my favorites — and well-worth the trip.
I hope you’ll consider joining us for another magical session in the mountains of South America!
Note: People sometimes wonder, “What does J.D. get out of this?” The answer is: A sense of satisfaction. Seriously. Cheryl offers to pay me every year, but I always tell her to use the money to fund her charity, Project One Corner. Part of being financially independent is having the ability to give back in small ways. This is one of the ways I give back. Cheryl pays my airfare and lodging, but that’s it.