Workation at Villa de los Suenos on the Ecuador coast

One Sunday afternoon a couple weeks ago, we decided to go on vacation.

I’d just finished one project, customizing an open source restaurant Point of Sale system for a client, and I was (still am) consulting part time for another, something I could do anywhere with reliable internet.

Sencha.io is a cloud service based on node.js. I set up continuous integration servers with Bamboo and Jenkins on the Amazon cloud and am developing test tools and automation for them. The team is distributed, and they found me through odesk.

A vacation was just what we needed.

My wife was exhausted struggling through the first trimester of her third pregnancy and entertaining our two rambunctious kids. I’d been working hard to establish my software consulting business and get income. We hadn’t really had time yet to enjoy living in Ecuador.

I’m working from my home office in Cuenca Ecuador right now, and if we could find a hotel with wi-fi on the beach, I could continue working part time and go surfing and play with the kids.

Kelsey found Villa de los Suenos on VRBO and after a Sunday afternoon nap, we booked 3 days. We ended up staying a week.

We’d leave for Guayaquil on Monday after my scrum meeting at noon, spend the night there, go to the Temple, and catch the bus to Montañita Tuesday and spend a week on the coast. I’d still work 4 hours a day for Sencha, and fix bugs on FloreantPOS.

So that’s what we did.

Villa de los Suenos was amazing. Almost like having your own beach house. The owners lived downstairs and made us breakfast every morning. I’ve never met more hospitable hosts than Shell and Marsha.

Every morning at dawn, the kids got up with me to go down to the beach. We’d watch the local fishermen go out through the surf in their open boats, and then we’d build sand castles and explore tide pools and get our feet wet in the ocean. Sometimes our hosts’ dog Choco would accompany us and demand we through his ball or a stick for him to fetch.

The beach was perfect with cool dark sand and breaking waves that were just a little too intimidating for me since there were also some rocks. But with a bit more time and watching the locals, I’ll get out.

After a couple hours we’d come up for breakfast — usually eggs and cinnamon rolls and juice — and then take a dip in the pool. We’d lounge around, walk through the village, or go to the beach again with Kelsey (now well rested) and then have lunch on our balcony.

After lunch I’d put in 4 solid hours work on the patio, watching the waves crash, and maybe splash in the pool to cool off. Work has never been harder, but I had to remind myself that working with a view of the beach beats working in an office in rainy Seattle.

After work, we’d catch the bus into Montañita and have dinner in town and watch the hippies & backpackers wander around. Sometimes I’d get up and dance in the street with the kids. Cafe Solana, run by a young couple from New York (originally from Ecuador) was our favorite place to eat. Luckily for us, it was the off season, and Montañita wasn’t too busy. But it was still nice to take a taxi home after some ice cream or pastries to the perfect quiet of Villa de los Suenos in La Entrada, a 10 minute taxi ride north.

Quiet except for the constant roar of the surf that is.

I finished re-reading Lord of the Rings in the hammock on our balcony. Kelsey & I got sunburned on Saturday when we spent the day at the beach in town, but she managed to keep the kids from burning and we rented a surf board and took turns in the water.

The highlight of the day though, was when Harmon & I chased the lifeguards on their beach car and they let us ride with them.

I took Harmon out on a boogie board our last day. He was scared to go out in the surf, but laughed each time we were were lifted by the whitewater (not even up to my waist) as he clung to my back and would grant me permission to go out one more time with him after each wave.

We were all exhausted and sick when we got home (I had an ear infection) but I think we’ll go back again one more time before leaving Ecuador in June.

We might take friends & family with us and I plan on working with Andres, my Ecuadorian partner on Budgeteer.

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