Carnaval and Beyond: Ecuador

As we arrived at the airport in Quito, Ecuador, a sign above us read “Bienvenidos a Quito, Ecuador: Latitude 00° 00′ 00” “. We were on the equator. So cool. Cooler than cool actually, it was freezing. Apparently at 10,000 feet it doesn’t matter what your latitude, its all about altitude. For the first time on our trip, out came the warm weather gear. Quito, as any good South American city does, has an “Old town” which was our first visit. We spent our first day wandering it’s streets, but honestly, after the spectacular old towns of Panama City and Cartagena, Quito’s was a big disappointment for us. In fact the city as a whole left a lot to be desired. There was very little colonial beauty, every old church tried to charge us significant sums of money just to look inside, the people were not very friendly, etc. As a disclaimer I must say that this was just our personal opinion but we knew in four hours it wasn’t the place for us.  We left after one night instead of the three we had planned having heard about some hot springs up in the mountains in the town of Papallacta that sounded amazing.   Continue reading

Road Wisdom: A Different Perspective

It is profound the different perspective one has after significant time on the road. Both perspective on the world around them and also, just as importantly, on the world within. When there are none of the normal distractions of life we’ve become accustomed to, no pop culture media inundation or shopping malls, no morning meetings or deadlines, no upcoming concerts or dinner parties with friends. None of it. When everything is stripped down to its most basic and simplest form, it’s just you and the day. When the volume is finally turned down and the static dissipates, the little things about yourself and your character that you may not have noticed before become so amplified they are impossible to miss. They are who you are. Every little fault and foible, whether you’re a bit too critical of others or you over think things, you drink a bit too much or you stay up too late, you spend too much money pointlessly or you’re too thrifty on things that matter, you’re not as patient or understanding as you should be or you’re TOO patient or understanding…. and the positives as well, your calm under pressure, your strength against adversity, your ability to adapt to new cultures and to make new relationships. Whatever it is, you start to see these parts of your character much more clearly as they drastically and increasingly affect your daily life in much more meaningful ways. It’s both exciting and a little bit terrifying at the same time. I think the important thing now will be learning how to adapt. I’m figuring out who I am, the road is showing me. Deciding which fork to take at this point though, is up to me.