Back in Sydney, I enjoyed working in Digital Marketing and Financial Services. I subsequently found myself in the position of General Manager of a Sydney based gold mining company. As an unlisted public company, the responsibilities were substantial. The mining operations were to be in Ecuador and after several visits, I eventually moved to Ecuador full time in November of 2012.
At the office with my new friends. That is me at the back in the middle. This mine is located right on the Colombian border in the north of Ecuador
This is why I came to Ecuador.
Extraordinary rainbow found on the way down from the high country around Zuletta, near Otovalo, Ecuador.
Q: And what are you doing now and plan for the future?
A: Right now I am doing a few things; firstly I have the LatAm rights to a very green chemical which assists in the extraction, distribution and storage of crude oil. In addition I have been working on some design ideas which I have had for some time and I am writing a book.
Traditional dress at Easter, ‘Semana Santa’, in the centre of the ‘Centro Historico’, Quito. My first impression of this was somewhat disparaging, as the pointed hats might suggest!
Getting the horses in for saddling on a very cold morning in Zuletta. It was about 5am and I had not yet had a coffee.
Q: Book? What are you writing?
A: It is a novel but it incorporates much of my personal experience. It is a fun thing to do and much more intricate than I had believed upon starting.
Playing with the exposure settings on my camera.
Q: Let’s get away from work, what are the important things you would like to have known before you set out from the UK in the first instance?
A: There are a few things and I suspect we all share them to some extent but the big ones are:
* Stay true to yourself and your gut feeling. It can be easy to be swayed (I was) and the lessons from this can be expensive and recovery can be a long-term process.
* Be careful of some of the assumptions which are imposed upon you from a young age. These can bite you hard. Question yourself and others. If nothing else, you will know yourself better. If you do not, you may find yourself having to “unlearn” things – this is too big a subject for now.
I called this photograph ‘Exposure’. The Ecuadorians would call this showing some huevos (eggs!)
* Always try new things and try to learn something new every day, if you can.
* Even if you do not smoke, always check out the smokers’ corner, some of the most interesting minds will be there.
* Take your whole being, spiritual and physical, seriously. This should allow you a full experience of the potential of life’s precious offering.
* Be conscious of the wallflowers at gatherings of people; there are some seriously amazing experiences amidst some bland moments. The big names are too busy to give you any serious attention anyway.
* Save 10% of everything you earn; even if it is pennies, it works.
* Enjoy life, every day and every moment and do not take it or yourself too seriously.
I do really wish that I had understood each of these. Painful and expensive lessons were the fallout.
An Ecuadorian haircut. Not for the faint of heart, but at only 50 cents …
Grace Kelly, as she then was, a year before she married Prince Painier of Monaco. Photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, March 1955
Q: If you could invite eight people to a dinner party, whom would you invite?
A: Nice one! There are some notables omitted, such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa (Polish Trades Unionist), Robin Williams, Prince Harry, Michelle Obama, Gwynneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Elle Macpherson.
Younger brother, Rob, warming up for a tournament Marco Island, Western Florida.
My younger brother – an outstanding friend as much as a brother.
Princess Grace of Monaco – she was just so beautiful and was a conversationalist.
Sir Winston Churchill – to tell me about the “naughty” years.
Aung San Suu Kyi – a very brave woman who can teach us a lot.
Sir Ian Botham – England’s finest cricket all-rounder and he is thirsty.
Jessica Watson – Aussie who sailed around the world single handed aged 16
David “Bumble” Lloyd – a very funny cricket legend, check out his box story!
Baroness Thatcher (table control) – extraordinary, no matter your politics.
Chef: Heston Blumenthal (had to add that in!)
She is a very fine lady, no? She lives in the gardens of Hacienda Pinsaqui, about one and a half hours drive north of Quito.
Q: OK, Edward, what have you not told us?
A: One topic which is inappropriate to discuss here, other than to say that I dearly love them all, is my four children. They are extraordinary.
Cotopaxi, one of the more active and threatening of Ecuador’s volcanoes.
There is also my proudest moment when I rescued a man from prison, via legal avenues, not physically! A foreigner had accused him of rape and I found conclusive evidence that he was innocent. Had he gone to trial, he had no chance. In prison, he would be long since dead and a very unpleasant death it would have been too.
Hacienda Cusin, near Otovalo, Ecuador
Q: Thank you, Edward. Please, something amusing to end on …
A: OK, it is quick … Johnny and Mary are in the bath, aged about four. Johnny keeps standing up and playing with his tackle. Mary is quite distressed and calls for Mummy, who soon appears at the door. “Mummy, mummy, mummy, Johnny has one of those things and keeps playing with it. Why haven’t I got one?”
” Don’t worry darling”, explains Mum, “when you are a bit older, with one of yours you can have as many of those as you like!”
Finally, I would encourage people to follow this or a similar format. It is quite cathartic and never a bad exercise to do a self-appraisal.
My future island paradise in the Florida Keys!
All images, except that of Grace Kelly, ©Edward Bryans October 2016