Pierre Volter (AKA Gringo al SUR)

This is the place where it is usually correct to publish a long list of university degrees, skills and achievements to give the reader this "wow" factor.

If you really want to know, yes I have these things too and when we meet we can have a chat about all the wonderful things that I have studied and done in my life.

And yes of course, I haven't just studied, I am an artist too, I compose music and I think that I take good photos.

I plan to live very old (but not more crippled than I have to). For a start, I have a younger wife and a 5 year old, so I have to hang around for a while. Then, I live in the "valley of longevity", so I have a point to make. I drink my Vilcagua every day.

Let's focus on my "achievements" in Ecuador

Here I am with my humble donkey who does not have "degrees and experience" but can get up that mountain and back before I finish putting my shoes on.

I have obtained a spontaneous kiss from a lama (have you?)

Given bananas to a true iguana friend in Guayaquil

Hiked the Andes mountain trying to keep up with Paul, our Ecuadorian guide, who, although he was the one cutting the track with his machette, was still going faster than the rest of us.

Explored the Vilcabamba property market at the back of my real estate agent's motorbike

And had a great time with friends

My main recent achievement is simply to be here in Ecuador, not that I deserve a lot of credit for it apart from having been able to follow that little voice in my head, you know that thing called "instinct" or "gut feeling" and apart from having been able to ignore everything else, all the "advice" from people, the fear of doing something crazy and wrong and losing all our money on the way etc.

Every day I discover a little more about why it is that I am here and when I do know for sure, I will write it down before I forget.

2016 Update: I have been living here for 6 years. I speak good Spanish now and most importantly I have an Ecuadorian family. I am the happy father of a 2 year old, half Ecuadorian half European. My partner has two kids of her own. So my "integration" is good.

In January this year, with a friend of mine who owns a TV program called "Video Show" on Ecotel TV in Loja, we created a character named "Gringo al SUR" and so I became a reporter. I go with my cameraman explore everything in the beautiful south of Ecuador. I talk to people, try to understand their culture, watch what they do for a living etc... So far I have filmed and edited 7 episodes of the program. More information on this topic on the Gringo al SUR page

(*) at least