After two months in Ecuador, I find myself in my final moments here. I didn’t know how many weeks or months I would call this country home; I didn’t even know much about Ecuador before I arrived. I didn’t come with a plan. I came to begin my journey by volunteering with kids in Quito, and then I would see where the road would take me. It turns out that there were some pretty great people volunteering at the kid’s camp, and four of us started traveling together to see more of Ecuador.
I made new friends and had weekend getaways in Mindo and Baños. I had nights out at ridiculous nightclubs and experienced a real “ladies’ night.” I relaxed in natural hot springs. I did yoga in an open air Shala to views of the Andes. I hiked through villages, met beautiful Indigenous children, and climbed to a crater lake nearly 13,000 feet in the sky. I volunteered with All Hands and built bamboo houses for those affected by the earthquake. I partied in the beach party town on my birthday weekend. I saw boobies. (The blue-footed booby to be precise.) I swam with fish while tortoises and whales swam nearby. I biked down a road full of waterfalls. I made new friendships that will last a lifetime. I lived.
I traveled north. I traveled south. I went inland and back to the coast. I took more buses than possible to count. I slept in dorm rooms, bunk beds, and tents on the beach. I had $2 lunches and ate #allthecarbs. I spoke English. I spoke Spanish. I spoke way too much Spanglish. I met travelers from New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Poland, France, England, Spain, Italy, United States, Canada, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, and Mauritius…just to name a few. I’ve already had the time of my life, and my travels are just beginning.
Soon I will head north with Hannah on 30 hours of bus rides to begin our stay in Colombia…a country that I’ve heard so much about and cannot wait to experience for myself! I am really beginning to appreciate this slow style of travel and immersion in a country. Two months in one place still doesn’t seem like enough, and I know I will miss this place I’ve called home for the past 9 weeks.
Ecuador, you’ve been so good to me. Thank you for the experiences and for all the memories. Nos vemos. There is still so much of you left to explore.