Ecuador Sanctuary

Here is a shot taken from the front yard of our Ecuador sanctuary in the Andes.


This land is part of a cloud forest and we are often truly above the clouds!


Many valleys in Ecuador are famous for the longevity of the residents. Our search for such valleys led us to understand that we can use more than landscape to live better, richer and longer.

This article was written on May 2, 2009, on the 41st anniversary of starting my international business.  Yet I plan to keep writing and sharing information for 41 more years!

This was more than an idle boast.  The promise was made from a belief and understanding that  began to grow when we first arrived  in Ecuador and began searching for the longevity valleys there.

That longevity search an Ecuadorian  Taita Yatchak (Shaman of the highest learning) who told us there was an unoccupied valley with special healing powers.

He offered to take us there.  (More on why below).

Here is Merri and me with the Taita Yatchak after purifying in a sacred spring in preparation for the trip into the Ecuador longevity valley.


We invited friends and started our journey at 4:30 a.m.  hiking from 10,500 feet, to 14,000 feet. Here we are getting ready to go.


After hours of climbing we descended 4,000 feet down a hidden, mud, animal trail for three hours into a virtually impenetrable cloud forest, ripped by thorns, cut by razor grass, soaked, and caked in mud.

Here we are ready to descend.


And here we are in the cloud forest during  the descent.


By the time we arrived in the valley, it was just minutes before dark. We were fatigued by the high altitude, bone weary from our packs, every muscle aching from fighting all day with the sucking mud (which had regularly pulled off our boots).

We stayed in a floorless, leaky thatch hut, sleeping on dirt, no heat except the cooking fire, no running water, no nothing. The next morning, to our surprise we all felt and looked  wonderful! Those who had been injured had no sign of the injuries. We explored the valley which is perpetually wrapped in mist and fog. We swam in small icy, deep blue lagoons and did ancient exercises while the Taita Yatchak talked with us. We were continually cold, wet, dirty and cramped-all 12 of us in this tiny hut with its earthen floor.

I cannot describe how we felt except to say none of us had ever had so much fun and had such a sense of well-being.

There is something about the valley I cannot yet explain. Even at times when we were really worried about some of the party who had gone into shock from fatigue, there was never a moment of regret.

We discovered a magical quality to this Sacred Valley and even over a decade and a half after our return have found powerful emotional and physical evolutions happening to all of us. Merri and I, along with the others, feel physically stronger, more alert, more positive, more active and yet more serene than ever before in our lives.

After this journey we purchased the 962 acre Hacienda Rosaspamba and lived and studied there for nearly a year with the Taita Yatchak and his apprentices.


Here is another shot at Rosaspamba of one of the yatchak’s apprentices.

Living in a healthy place like Rosaspamba can help longevity.  More important is the fact that one can have longevity anywhere.  We discovered this at our other sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains where we also live.  The family cemetery on our farm has five headstones with people aged 86, 91, 95, 100 and 115 at death.

The 115 year old lived from 1794 to 1909. I  wonder what type of medical insurance she had… back here in these hills. Here is that cemetery.


Merri and I have studied global health secrets for decades and have lived with healing masters from China, Tibet, the Andes and India to learn that it is not only where you live.. but how you live that creates longevity.


Mountain mists are important to longevity.  One Ecuador shaman taught us that the hydrogen ions in the mists bond with free radicals on the skin to cleanse the body from the outside in.

Longevity does not come from quadruple bypasses, pacemakers, chemo, radiation and all the modern drugs so many people use.

Up here in these mountains people in decades and centuries past labored, breathed clean air, drank pure water and ate fresh food. These were hardy mountain people who worked hard, had little, ate little and with that made the most. Life was simple and they kept it that way. Longevity was their reward.

Now is the time to be thinking about longevity.

Many of us work so hard to build financial security then lose it through lingering illness or even worse death, heart attacks – stress, diabetes -bad diet, cancer – over-aggression created by the effort.


Good water is important to longevity. This is a mineral thermal springs near Cotacachi Ecuador that we visit for a soak on our Ecuador shamanic mingo tours.

Does this lifestyle make sense?

The answer, “No, it does not make sense” led Merri and me, many years ago, to sell our home in Old Naples, Florida, leave the stressful city and move here to our secluded Blue Ridge farm and Andean plantation.

We have learned that there are many simple secrets to longevity.  They are harder to use in busy cities.

Here are three secrets we gain from untold hours shared with clients and friends who are expert in all types of healing. These secrets come from years of experience with disciplines like acupuncture (when I first lived in Hong Kong) when they were still considered witchcraft in the Western world, and from our years of living with healers from India, Tibet and the Andes.

I share these as a layman, but one who has watched his weight melt from 220 to 150 pounds. They are shared by a 62 year old male with a pulse of 99 over 60 something and a resting heartbeat in the low 60s whose energy and stamina is high.

The secrets are not shared just to stop you from getting sick either. They are to help you have more stamina, vitality, energy, endurance as well as longevity so you can enjoy life more!

The first secret is not a secret at all, but a simple reality that most ignore.

Restrict your diet. Cut down your caloric intake. This is the only factor that I have studied that has been scientifically supported. Plus the residents in the three valleys where National Geographic documented extra longevity had caloric intakes ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 calories a day.

For example in Vilcabamba (one of Ecuador’s longevity valleys) over one person per thousand lived to be 100. In the U.S. the figure is one per 33,000! The average caloric intake in this valley (in the past) was about 1,200 calories a day.

Secret #2 is to have more than a routine.

Create ritual! Those who live extraordinarily long lives seem to share this common trait. Whatever they do they do in moderation, in a very similar way and with great gusto. For example, if they drink an ounce of whisky every day, at six o’ clock, they do not do this at five some days and eight others. They do not have a half ounce one day and two another. They tend to have one ounce at six p.m. every day. This instills discipline, keeps life simple (very important) and allows the body to get used to doing whatever it is it has to do. Take Chris Mortensen one of the oldest documented men in the 1990s who at 113 said of his weekly cigar, “If you take my weekly cigar away from I am going to die”. The anticipation and ritual of whatever pleasure he receives from this is far more life giving than the stress. The world’s oldest documented woman in the 1990s, Jeanne Clement, at age 122 drank cognac and ate a pound of chocolate a week (but never two).

Secret #3 is to remain independent, challenged, active and needed. One of the most important features that was found in every valley where people lived long lives was that old age was revered. Often people at age 100, even 110 are still active and working! Max Zimmer of Los Angeles came to the US from Austria in 1911 with only a two dollar bill. At age 103 he still had the same two-dollar bill and had built and still ran a multimillion-dollar business. One MD, who specializes in anti aging, points out that most centenarians seldom spend much time with doctors. When they finally get sick, they die quickly and with little expense. They depend on themselves to remain healthy not others. Having a good savings and investment plan for old age is also an important factor to remaining independent. Are any of these factors in your routine and plans? Most of us have to answer “no”.

This is why Merri and I moved to our farm in North Carolina and Ecuador and have worked at instilling these simple formulas (and many others) into our lives.

We live in a rapidly evolving, often frantic and polluted world. Escape from the crowds may help longevity a bit.  However escape from bad lifetsyle habits helps longevity even more.  Merri and I look forward to sharing the longevity habits we learn with you.


How We Can Serve You

How to Have Real Safety

Regain Real Security

There is a path to true security.

I was reminded of this once when I made a horrible mistake.  Almost!

The supposed error?  Letting my mind wander six decades back to an hour I spent with a girl.

Learn from this near disaster, seven most powerful sources of wealth, health, security and fulfillment in this era.

The girl was pretty and blond.  Terry was her name. My imagination spanned decades returning to my Oregon roots seeing her as if she were there.

We were 11 or 12 and had known each other since we started Rockwood grade school.  Just buddies, our non-romantic friendship lasted 12 years, from first grade till high school’s end.  Then she went off to Pepperdine College in California.  I started traveling the world.  Never saw her again.  I hope her life has gone well.  But until that reflection I’d never thought much of Terry in so many years.

What could have been the tragic error was letting that memory touch my heart.  Two kids, walking on a crisp, Pacific Northwest autumnal afternoon.

We walked down a sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt path.  Huge, fat, green Douglas firs lined the road.  Traffic was no problem, not many cars.  Crossing Stark Street we turned left, hiking three blocks to 182nd.  There we passed an old clapboard candy store.  I can still hear the wooden sidewalk of that store slap beneath my feet, felt the soggy planks sag and smelled astringent pitch from the fir trees.  Then we turned right, up 182nd for about a mile.  There was Terry’s house.

I carried on, walking through a big field, waist high grass turned straw brown by an early frost.  There were dozens of paths made by who knows what.  Animals perhaps or countless generations of other kids walking home alone from school.  I chose one following it to another wood of tall, rough-barked fir.  Crossing one more field, I climbed a rock wall, struggled through a barbed wire fence (my Mom hated that fence ripping my jeans).  I was home!

Sweet simplicity, that dream.  Two kids holding hands, walking on a dirt trail under a crisp, but blue, sunny sky.  Pure innocence.

My tragic error was looking back.  I returned to Rockwood, Oregon with Merri and my kids to show them this part of their roots.  Following the route, Terry and I had walked were the candy store, grange hall, old wooden buildings and their home spun honesty and charm.

Instead we found six lanes of fast, frantic traffic and road rage.  McDonalds, KFC, strip shopping centers.  The car radio blared warnings of local gangs and drive-by-shootings. Beauty, innocence, sweet simplicity, replaced by drive ins and drive bys.  Gangs and drive-by shootings replacing a tender walk in the sun.  Good bye memories, good bye.

How can our kids walk in places like this?  How can we return to those old feeling of security and comfort?

How can any of us possibly keep pace in this world that’s moving so fast?  Then something inside snapped. “There has to be an answer for honest, hard working folks to enjoy the wonderful opportunities of today and regain what we’ve lost over the past forty years”, I swore to myself.

How can we keep up, without having such a fast paced life we turn into machines?  Where do we find time for God, family, charity, and our friends?  How can we rediscover those sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths we want to walk?

“There has to be places that are still innocent and pure”, I thought.  “There has to be a way of life that does not pound us with stress”.

This thinking led me to begin reviewing the thousands of economic and business experiences I have shared with readers over the decades.  This started a search for a simpler way of life and a better place to earn and protect our wealth.

By digging, asking and observing, traveling and talking to investors and investment managers all over the world I found that there are true paths to real security in the here and now.  That knowledge helped me develop courses on how to have natural health, everlasting wealth and purposeful investments.

This knowledge helped Merri and me invest in stocks and real estate all over the world.  It helped us find and develop Merrily Farms into a sanctuary here on Little Horse Creek.

That almost error led us to create an entire portfolio of information on how to keep pace, get ahead, enjoy our modern society but, to enjoy life wherever you choose without having to move too fast.

I want to share this information with a special few in our summer course in the Blue Ridge Mountains where the air is dry, crisp, with a bright sparkling sun.  Our North Carolina woods is a place where we can once again walk down sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths beneath huge, fat, green fir and hemlock.

We start the course with this question that can help us get our lives back.

“What would you think in the last 30 seconds of your life if you were the richest man in the world but were unhappy?”

This quote is from the opening slide of our Value Investing Seminar, “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”.  This a vital question because few investors think about the value of comfort and happiness.  Yet the truth is, those who are comfortable and happy with their investments are likely to make good investment decisions.  If not, no matter how much money an investors has, changes are, they’ll lose.

Bring Value and Purposeful Investing Together


Join us to learn how to make safety and profit easier and less time consuming so we can focus on our individual purposes in life.

Become an International Club member and join like-minded souls, who take a positive view and think outside the box for better health, greater income and safer, more profitable investments. Share ideas on how to add value to everything and make 2016 -2017 your best years yet.

In 2016 Merri’s, David’s and my mission is to share our 50 years of experience in international business, investing and living to make ourselves happier, healthier and wealthier.

To reach a wider audience we have shifted our seminars online including the seminar “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”.

Here is a partial syllabus of this seminar.

  • Three common sense ideas:   Avoid lines.  Go where you are a name not a number.  Decide who you are and what matters to you.
  • Why three economic trends that have make smart investors rich every 30 years are ready for cashing in now.
  • How to look for short term problems that create long term value.
  • Update on the best ten markets for safety and profit.
  • How to diversify in value with Country ETFs.
  • The value of time in investing and life.
  • The economics in cyber wars. How to look back at the economics of war to see ahead.
  • Great new innovations that will ignite a 16 year bull market from 2016 to 2032.
  • The next great fuel.
  • Timing long cycles, economic cycles and seasonality.
  • Investing in Demographics.
  • Trading Down, the biggest global trend ahead.
  • Hidden Inflation .
  • How to protect against pension loss.
  • The Silver Dip 2016. When and how to invest in gold and silver . How to double your position with loans.
  • How to spot currency distortions and borrow low to deposit high.
  • How, Why When & Where to bank abroad.

Club membership is for an entire year and the recorded seminar is just one high point.

In 2016 and 2017 we are conducting online seminars about value investing, natural health and how to write to sell.

International Club members receive all the online seminars free.

In addition club membership includes:

  • Personal investing Course (Pi), normally $297, FREE
  • Self Fulfilled How to be a Self Publisher, normally $299, FREE
  • Eventful Business, normally $349, FREE
  • International Business Made EZ, normally $299, FREE
  • Report “Three Economic Conditions for 50% or More Profit,” normally $29.95, FREE
  • Report “Silver Dip 2015” normally $27, FREE
  • Three online Value Investing Seminars, normally $477, FREE
  • One online Natural Health Seminar, normally $119, FREE
  • One online Writers Camp, normally $299, FREE

Annual International Club (one year) Membership  $1,199

Annual International Club (one year) Membership four quarterly $375 payments

Merri and I have been organizing courses, seminars and newsletters about international and Super Thinking  lifestyles for over 30 years.  The importance of this sharing… by like minded souls… was reinforced when a delegate from a course sent an email that said:

My Dearest Merri and Gary, Thank you for your most gracious hospitality last weekend. I am just thrilled at being a part of your group.  You and Gary were exactly as I imagined you to be, warm friendly, kind, considerate, genuine, helpful, fun, sincere, what else can I say……I felt so comfortable in your presence and learned so much in your course. I was sad to leave the farm that Sunday afternoon.  You made us all feel so welcome and cared about.  You were so kind to make arrangements for a ride with the other delegates from the Charlotte Airport.  They were so nice to me and so helpful, by the time the weekend was over I felt like they were my long lost brothers. Monday morning we all had breakfast at the airport together and I was so sad to see them go, I was sad the weekend was over, perhaps sad is not the right word for how I was feeling perhaps Gratitude is a better way to describe it.  Grateful for having the opportunity to share the weekend with such wonderful, like minded Human Beings, in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Thank you Merri and Gary.  Thanks to you I now have new hope and a new direction to move forward in my life.   I know by attending your classes and conferences that through education and due diligence I will make the right choices.

I invite you to be a member of the International Club.

Let’s prosper in these times of change. Won’t you join us in this exciting club and share Merri’s and my lifestyle for the next year?  Join us online.

Club members receive everything we offer in 2016 and 2017.

Annual International Club (one year) Membership  $1,199

Annual International Club (one year) Membership four quarterly $375 payments


Learn more about our trip into the Llanganatis Valley here

Free Newsletter on Ecuador

Free newsletter with updates on Ecuador and global opportunities to improve and enjoy your health, wealth, and life. I value your privacy. Period.

Related Artices

If you enjoyed this article "Ecuador Sanctuary" you may find these related articles of interest too: