Things to appreciate if you really want to be traveling but aren’t

Hugs from people who’ve known you longer than the time you’ve been traveling

Not repacking a backpack every 2 days

The ease of ordering food/buying things/existing in a culture where they speak your first language

The independence you are afforded by not depending on unfamiliar public transportation

Drinking coffee in your empty home

Not feeling even a little guilty about doing absolutely nothing on a Sunday afternoon

Cooking in your own kitchen

Walking into your neighborhood grocery store and knowing exactly where everything is

Final game plan

My friend Cailan and I have just arrived in Baños, a city 2 hours from Quito that is famous with backpackers for its affordable adventure sports. We’ll be here probably until Friday or Saturday and then I’ll return to Quito to meet another friend from my time volunteering in Colombia and he’ll head further south into Peru. Next Monday morning Leslie and I will fly into the Galapagos, where we’ll spend 8 nights, 7 of which will be aboard a 10 person “yacht”. On April 29th, we’ll fly back into Quito and I’ll leave that same night I’ll fly home, putting me back in Durham around noon on April 30th.

This cuts my trip about two weeks shorter than I thought it would be, but I decided that since the Galapagos are a bucket list item of mine, I should just do it while I’m here. There are countless tour companies that sell last minute Galapagos tours that cost less than half of what the same tours would cost if booked online or further in advance. It’s still costing me everything I have left (and then some, thanks mom and dad!) but the idea of giving the Galapagos a miss and not having a chance to come back later in life makes me sick. It’s easy to assume that I’ll have tons of time and money with which to travel later in life but there’s really no guarantee of that and I don’t want to have regrets about this year.

Exploration of Quito

These are just a few photos from the 18 hours I spent in Otavalo. Every Saturday, Otavalo holds one of the largest markets in Ecuador.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many ecuadorians seemed to actually frequent this market. Gringos were significantly outnumbered by Andean people who were doing their weekly shopping. I bought a black alpaca sweater, but had to work HARD to resist other funnecessary (new word) things ranging from silver jewelry to hand woven blankets to little fluffy chicks (four for a dollar!) These are just a few photos from the 18 hours I spent in Otavalo. Every Saturday, Otavalo holds one of the largest markets in Ecuador.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many ecuadorians seemed to actually frequent this market. Gringos were significantly outnumbered by Andean people who were doing their weekly shopping. I bought a black alpaca sweater, but had to work HARD to resist other funnecessary (new word) things ranging from silver jewelry to hand woven blankets to little fluffy chicks (four for a dollar!) These are just a few photos from the 18 hours I spent in Otavalo. Every Saturday, Otavalo holds one of the largest markets in Ecuador.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many ecuadorians seemed to actually frequent this market. Gringos were significantly outnumbered by Andean people who were doing their weekly shopping. I bought a black alpaca sweater, but had to work HARD to resist other funnecessary (new word) things ranging from silver jewelry to hand woven blankets to little fluffy chicks (four for a dollar!) These are just a few photos from the 18 hours I spent in Otavalo. Every Saturday, Otavalo holds one of the largest markets in Ecuador.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many ecuadorians seemed to actually frequent this market. Gringos were significantly outnumbered by Andean people who were doing their weekly shopping. I bought a black alpaca sweater, but had to work HARD to resist other funnecessary (new word) things ranging from silver jewelry to hand woven blankets to little fluffy chicks (four for a dollar!) These are just a few photos from the 18 hours I spent in Otavalo. Every Saturday, Otavalo holds one of the largest markets in Ecuador.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many ecuadorians seemed to actually frequent this market. Gringos were significantly outnumbered by Andean people who were doing their weekly shopping. I bought a black alpaca sweater, but had to work HARD to resist other funnecessary (new word) things ranging from silver jewelry to hand woven blankets to little fluffy chicks (four for a dollar!)

These are just a few photos from the 18 hours I spent in Otavalo. Every Saturday, Otavalo holds one of the largest markets in Ecuador.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many ecuadorians seemed to actually frequent this market. Gringos were significantly outnumbered by Andean people who were doing their weekly shopping. I bought a black alpaca sweater, but had to work HARD to resist other funnecessary (new word) things ranging from silver jewelry to hand woven blankets to little fluffy chicks (four for a dollar!)

Expedition to the Mitad del Mundo, aka the Equator line. 

The equator is one of those tourist things that I felt obligated to do, and also which seems cooler in theory than it is in reality, I think.

It doesn’t help that it’s not the right line, but I’ll disregard that part. My favorite part was probably standing in the northern side, across from my Australian friend in the southern hemisphere. There was something so poignant to that. Expedition to the Mitad del Mundo, aka the Equator line. 

The equator is one of those tourist things that I felt obligated to do, and also which seems cooler in theory than it is in reality, I think.

It doesn’t help that it’s not the right line, but I’ll disregard that part. My favorite part was probably standing in the northern side, across from my Australian friend in the southern hemisphere. There was something so poignant to that. Expedition to the Mitad del Mundo, aka the Equator line. 

The equator is one of those tourist things that I felt obligated to do, and also which seems cooler in theory than it is in reality, I think.

It doesn’t help that it’s not the right line, but I’ll disregard that part. My favorite part was probably standing in the northern side, across from my Australian friend in the southern hemisphere. There was something so poignant to that.

Expedition to the Mitad del Mundo, aka the Equator line.

The equator is one of those tourist things that I felt obligated to do, and also which seems cooler in theory than it is in reality, I think.

It doesn’t help that it’s not the right line, but I’ll disregard that part. My favorite part was probably standing in the northern side, across from my Australian friend in the southern hemisphere. There was something so poignant to that.

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
— TS Eliot
Explored the old city of Quito today. Pretty, but I have to say not that remarkable. Explored the old city of Quito today. Pretty, but I have to say not that remarkable.

Explored the old city of Quito today. Pretty, but I have to say not that remarkable.

I’ve escaped the farm from hell! I’m currently at a hostel in Quito, not sure where exactly I’ll be next. Hopefully a friend or two from my time in Colombia will be meeting me here soon and then we may head down south to Peru to work at bar/cafe on the beach in Huanchaco. Or not.

If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that trying to make plans with travelers is practically impossible.