Friday, November 20, 2015

Ecuador bound

After a brief three weeks back in the States the passport is back out and my bag is packed. Next destination… Ecuador and the Galapagos. Iguanas, tortoises, seals, and all of Darwin’s creatures, here I come! I am quite sad that Lonesome George is no longer alive!

Let’s be honest though, I basically unpacked and re-packed immediately in San Francisco and only spent a few days there cramming in friends, new babies, Halloween, and enough glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge to hold me over for a little while. From there on to Minnesota and Philadelphia for more friends, kids, soon to arrive babies, and Mom time. Between trying to figure out how on earth to re-enroll for 2016 health insurance (and take advantage of this whole no income thing to get a subsidy), working on actual life plans for the start of next year (planning ahead but still with a healthy dose of procrastination), and watching the horrific events unfold in Paris and wanting nothing but love and hope to come out in the aftermath I’ve kept myself occupied for the last week. Time now for one last adventure before the end of the year.

While in San Francisco at the start of November I debated between a few different locations in which to spend Thanksgiving and these few weeks before Christmas. Warm weather was definitely driving the decision but so was cost. After a slightly more expensive October than I planned I figured I’d try and head somewhere where the dollar would go really far. With the exception of the Galapagos (the flight alone was almost as much as my US to Quito flight!) I think that three and a half weeks in Ecuador will do it. And to go with my attempted more budget friendly travels I’m going solely with my backpack. Having it with me for two months in Europe after Mont Blanc I think I grew attached to it. I figured I’d challenge myself to pack lightly and be really mobile. Let’s see how I feel about the bag in a few weeks!

The Galapagos has been on my dream destination list for a long time and one that falls into the category of ‘I need to get there before it’s ruined or doesn’t even exist anymore’. While most people plan months in advance for a trips to the islands, and pay an arm and a leg, I have no plans other than a hotel in Quito for a few days and then a flight to the Galapagos. The approach is to wing it and see what last minute boats are available for relatively cheap. After reading up a fair amount on different blogs this seems like a reasonable plan. I’ve given myself eight full days in the Galapagos and hope that’s enough to be fairly flexible on boat options. If getting on an overnight boat for three or four days doesn’t work out I’ll visit a few of the different islands on my own and take a few day trips. There’s more than enough to occupy myself with.  

After the Galapagos I have no specific destinations - there’s a lot highlighted in my Lonely Planet book from surfing the beaches of the West Coast to hiking and cloud forests in the Highlands. With two weeks I figure I can get a lot done if I so desire. So for now I’ll attempt to revive my rusty Spanish (I’ve been brushing up and practicing with the Duolingo app with hope that it will be better than earlier in the year) and see what Ecuador and it’s people have to offer.

Adios los Estados Unidos, hasta pronto!

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