As we prepare to depart the lovely country of Ecuador I wanted to share some thoughts and reflections on our time here.
First of all, on every trip we take, whether it’s to Traverse City to visit our BFFs or to the many places in which our family live or halfway around the earth to some far off destination … we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to do so. We’ve worked hard to make travelling and experiencing this precious earth our priority, but we also couldn’t do it without the love and support of our friends and family. If you’ve hosted us, house sat for us, dropped/picked us up from the airport, picked up our mail, given us travel tips on Facebook, paid for a hotel stay, or just encouraged us in any way to continue doing what we love – THANK YOU!!
Okay. Ecuador. We were both pretty excited to visit Ecuador; especially the Galápagos Islands. As you can probably tell from our Instagram posts and my blog posts, Ecuador did not disappoint. There is a seemingly endless amount of activities and the highlands, with its numerous snow capped volcanoes, were so beautiful. As is usual with travel, we were constantly surprised by Ecuador – in good and not so good ways. We were surprised that the Galápagos Islands weren’t the wild and untouched wildernesses that we thought they were. We were also surprised that we were able to experience so much in a small amount of time (Ecuador is small and the bus system is extensive, so you can really pack in a lot). Mostly, we were surprised by how hard we fell for the country. Ethan has mentioned several times that it might be his number 2 favorite country, so far. Obviously, my favorite part was the weather in the mountains. Perfection. But also the scenery.
When we took the cable car up on the volcano overlooking Quito, we had some time to chat about life and our travels. It seems on every trip we take, we spend a lot of our down time planning the next big trip. But, we always try to take some time to talk about and make plans for our lives at home. We talk about what changes we could make to make sure we have as much fun at home as we do abroad. And spending time with friends and family is just as important to us as traveling to new places (don’t let Ethan tell you otherwise!). We had this chat last summer, but it definitely went a bit differently as we had just sold our first house, were essentially homeless and I didn’t have a job. It may not have seemed like it from our photos, but last summer was a bit rough. We left for India in a mad-dash to finish packing and move out of our house. And my little sister Huntar (read BFF) was moving to Colorado while we were gone. So many things were happening. It was an intense and emotional time and I remember breaking down in tears as soon as the plane lifted off the ground. I couldn’t even tell Ethan what was wrong. The stress of getting out of our house was immediately replaced by “Where are we going to live?”. And not even the excitement of a new adventure could stop the worry.
This year that talk was much different. The focus was mainly on improving our day to day existence and making sure we approach each day at home with the same energy we approach a new journey. Anyway, all of this is to say that we love travel (obviously), but it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. For me, the stuff I’m dealing with at home comes along for the ride no matter how amazing the experience is. And I don’t really want to leave that stuff behind anymore. I would rather use travel to help me gain perspective so I can approach those things in a more healthy and productive manner. When we travel, we are forced to communicate clearly, listen, and protect each other at all times. I like using this positive energy to tackle some of the issues we deal with at home. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a start!
So travel to me is much more than just seeing new places, meeting new people and getting those perfect Instagram shots. And I think on this trip, so far, more than any other I’ve been able to take step back and consider how lucky we are to have these opportunities for personal growth and to see the big picture. And I think traveling through Ecuador’s incredibly peaceful and beautiful land helped me do that. Along with having a job waiting when we get back (thanks Deena and Steve) and a place to live! Two very important things. 😉 Also, Ethan’s great planning skills have allowed us a bit more time to relax, which is always a good thing!
Enough of my ramblings! Bottom line is: Ecuador is a fabulous place with lots to do, so if you were ever considering it or even if you never wanted to go to South America – you should go! And we can help you! Well, Ethan can. Haha. Shoot us an email or Facebook message. When we get back to the States, I think we are both going to work on some helpful tips for traveling both Ecuador and Colombia, so stay tuned for that.
We are currently in Calí, Colombia, by the way. Chillin’ out by the pool of our lovely hotel. I’m working on a blog about how we got here and crossing the border. Stay tuned for that too!