A Travellerspoint blog

Ecuador

Traveling vs. Vacationing

Traveling and being on vacation are two very different but confusingly similar things. Both are characterized by physical displacement from home and consistent use of varied forms of public transportation, usually across long distances. Both traveler and vacationer might eat new foods, take hundreds of pictures, spend money in ways she normally would not and stay in a hostel, hotel, tent or boat although she pays a mortgage or rent already somewhere else.

Aside from these very important similarities, however, traveling and vacationing have always seemed to me worlds apart. While I’ve spent a great deal of my life traveling, I’ve never made it to sipping cocktails on a cruise boat, or to any of the definition “getaways” one might take.

My family’s first travels were to national war memorials, forts, battlefields and burial grounds. After we’d exhausted all of these sights on the east coast, we moved onto the natural world, and firmly shook hands with our first park ranger, on what was to be a long journey through the U.S. national park service. None of these trips, sorry mom and dad, ever felt like vacation. While they were supremely educational, chock full o’ adventure and, at times, treacherously long, the pb&j-for-lunch, hotdog-for dinner grind, just never matched what I imagined a vacation to be.

Vacations were what other kids’ families took. They returned with purchased, paper-framed photos of their families in bright printed clothing and sunglasses, all thumbs-up on the beach. They made their marks in the hallway with peeling skin and braided hair. Meanwhile, I returned from family trips with scrapes and bug-bites, junior park ranger badges and photos of me in a tent somewhere with a scowl on my face.

So while I grieved to my parents for years that we should go on a “real” vacation someday, I pressed on to my own travels, applying for a passport my senior year of high school, and promising myself I would travel somewhere different when I turned 18. So I applied to service trips, and began a long cycle of volunteer, study, work, conference and seminar traveling, apparently in order to avoid ever having to go on vacation. Suffice it to say, I never got the itch to do a “real” spring break in college: all the other stuff was just, well, more interesting, than vacation.

So now we’re here, in our extended travel, which some people might call a vacation. But at the end of these days, we’ve never really had a chance to relax, because there’s not enough time in the day, and we never really get to indulge in cocktails or fancy dinners, because there’s not really room in the budget. Rather than spending our time at these activities, we walk miles, we pull weeds, we plant, we sit atop our backpacks in backs of pickup trucks on switchbacks through the mountains, we sleep on living room floors and eat crackers and take cold showers, because, well, it’d be no fun if it was just a vacation.

Posted by AmyERichards 21:06 Archived in Ecuador Tagged travel vacation trips family backpacking versus Comments (2)

So Far in Ecuador...

Because we've been behind about filling you in on Ecuador, here's an idea of what we've been up to the past few weeks...


View To the equator and beyond! on tltisme's travel map.

Crossed the Equator three times!
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Felt up some furry walls at market in Otavalo and was given a furry bed at a horsefarm for two nights...
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We happened upon an indigenous feria in the middle of northern highlands indigenous teams championship... I asked if T.L. might be able to practice with some of the players, they threw him a jersey and let him play... in front of a few thousand people...(T.L.'s the one without the long black braid)
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We played the 7 dwarves all week with 2 Canadians, 2 Belgians and our Maestro (Doc), at the Tungurahua Tea Room, our WWOOFing site in Banos.
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We flew... across a gorge and waterfall outside of Banos
P1010090.jpgP1010091.jpgP1010092.jpgFlying!

Flying!


Stayed at an Ashram with the Hare Krishnas in Tumbaco, outside of Quito.
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Supported Deportivo Quito vs. Quito Liga at Estadio Olympico Atahualpa, Quito
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Surfed these couches...
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Played with monkeys...rather, the monkeys played with us, and stole our things.
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Otter


Had and defeated parasites...
3 pills $2.80 2 days=0 parasites

3 pills+$2.80+2 days=0 parasites


Climbed in, down, up and around a crater lake in Quilotoa.
P1010377.jpgP1010326.jpg2 miles wide, 820 feet deep

2 miles wide, 820 feet deep

formed during an enormous eruption 800 years ago in which lava flows reached the Pacific

formed during an enormous eruption 800 years ago in which lava flows reached the Pacific

P1010383.jpgThe trail around the crater rim, Ecuador's version of the knife edge

The trail around the crater rim, Ecuador's version of the knife edge

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Got jacked up on IV fluid after dehydration set in from a nasty intestinal bacterial infection...
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Went to the beach and learned to surf... at least T.L. did!
1-P1010667.jpg1-P1010671.jpg1-P1010677.jpg1-P1010699.jpg1-P1010703.jpg"tres por un dolar!" the kids chanted
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Ate many deliciously cheap meals...
large, delicious pork lunch=$2

large, delicious pork lunch=$2

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Markets, markets, more markets...
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Climbed the clocktowers of Quito's awesome Basilica!
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We're currently both in good health and couchsurfing with a Peace Corps volunteer in the campo outside of San Isidro, and still have a few weeks in Ecuador to go!

Posted by tltisme 07:58 Archived in Ecuador Tagged markets flying hiking soccer futbol gardening furry Comments (0)

I Am What I Wear

One of the joys of backpacking has always been low maintenance dress: few options makes it easy to get dressed every day, or to get ready to go out at night, right? Sure, it keeps things simple, but not necessarily fun, and certainly not flattering. So as backpackers, don’t you get away with wearing anything wherever you are? That’s what they say: because you live out of a bag and you’re from some foreign place…

But what does this living out-of-a-bag mean for the traveler herself?

While I often opt for low maintenance clothing at home, dress has always been an important form of expression for me. I have always gotten a kick out of inventing accessories and jewelry to embellish daily attire. In all my past travels, I have managed to maintain something of my own style with what I have packed, but I found myself very limited this trip: I needed insect-shield gear, old work t-shirts, and hiking boots, and no extras, or no more than I could carry a very long distance.

So while I have been very aware of how generally unattractive my daily outfit is, I have been more aware of how generally common it is. Every day, I match a few dozen cargo-style, safari gear-wearing European men. I feel colorless and I notice people not noticing all the flair that isn’t there. I am in my travel uniform and it’s terribly repressive.

But I guess that’s me just being tired of wearing the same shirt and pants day in and day out.

And then I ride the bus with dozens of schoolchildren who wear uniforms all 10 years of grade school, because they have no choice. And I spend a week with Edimer, who wears the same shirt and pants all week because he tends to pigs and their babies day and night and can’t bother with a clean shirt. And his nephew, baby Alejo, doesn’t even wear pants or a diaper because a shirt will do. And a father explains that a school uniform is a godsend because his child’s one other outfit is torn and stained and he wouldn’t want anyone besides the family to see him in it, anyway.

And suddenly it seems silly that clothing was ever a form of self-expression and I begin to question how many other “needs” my self has had all this time.

So I look at my lap, and see how terribly practical my cargo pants really are.

Posted by AmyERichards 15:07 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Trying to get past stuff posted...

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View To the equator and beyond! on tltisme's travel map.

The internet and media uploading has been frustrating. I have gotten some of the most recent photos on the blog but the videos are proving more difficult. I wish I had used the time with internet to relate some of our current travels but I need to get some sleep now, we are hopping on a bus to Quito and onward to Banos in the morning. Ecuador has been awesome so far, we have had amazing lodgings, good cheap food, and moral is very high. I think we may be getting the hang of this travelling thing.

Posted by tltisme 20:52 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Me gusta Ecuador

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View To the equator and beyond! on tltisme's travel map.

Yesterday morning Amy and I left San Agustin and made it to Pasto, witnessing and enduring the most mountainous, curvy, breathtaking roads I have ever experienced. Rising to over ten thousand feet at the highest and going back down and up again multiple times it was quite the couple bus rides. The Andes mountains of Colombia have been the most consistently impressive piece of the landscape and I can´t stop taking pictures of them. Today we crossed into Ecuador and are currently waiting in an internet cafe for our couchsurfing hosts for the weekend. The couple owns a horse farm outside of Otavalo and we are excited to stay with them for the weekend. We have many more pictures and words to share when we have more internet access.

Posted by tltisme 15:09 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

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