I am writing from our hostel in Quito, Ecuador! It took us thirty-two hours to get here, including a night of sleeping in the Lima airport, but our flights were smooth, our backpacks made it, and no one questioned our one-way tickets though technically one is not supposed to enter Ecuador without proof of onward travel.
Spending the night at the airport in Lima, Peru
The last two weeks that we spent back in Portland were incredibly trying for Brian and I. As our leave-the-country date grew near our stress levels shot through the roof. We were bickering and snapping at each other like crazy but had no time alone to hash it out. By the time our final 72 hours in the U.S. arrived I was starting to worry that we were really crumbling.
I can’t tell you the number of times in the past three years that I daydreamed about what it would feel like to be on the eve of leaving to start this trip. I imagined that I would spend a sleepless night tossing and turning as a mixture of nerves and excitement rumbled through me. I imagined how amazing it would feel to arrive at the airport with everything I owned on my back. I imagined that I would be sidelined with joy and excitement.
Preparing to leave for the airport with everything we own on our backs
But when the moment actually came I only felt numb. I didn’t cry as I hugged my sister goodbye at the terminal door. I didn’t feel sad or excited or even particularly happy. I felt stressed out and overwhelmed and I silently wondered if we hadn’t made a terrible mistake.
Saying goodbye to my sister at the airport
We caught an uneventful flight to Los Angeles, touched down, then quickly boarded a 9-hour flight to Lima, Peru where we’d layover before heading to Ecuador. I settled in for the long-haul, preparing my earphones and kindle and notebook and pen in case inspiration struck. I closed my eyes and napped for a bit.
A view out the window as the plane leaves Oregon
A few hours into the Peru leg of our flight, somewhere over Central America, I felt something shift inside of me. I began to relax and take deep breaths again. I felt like I was shedding layers of stress like a child sheds winter clothes when he comes in from the snow. Brian and I began joking with each other again. I thought: This is it. This is it! We are on the plane. This is happening! I felt flush with excitement and anticipation once more.
We have been in Ecuador for less than twenty-four hours but I can already tell that my worst fears were unfounded. What was I so worried about? Why was I so stressed? The verge can be exciting, but I’m not sure it is ever a comfortable place to be.
We plan to spend about five days in Quito exploring, visiting the Old Town, and taking day trips to the equator and the Otavalo Market. After Quito we might head to Mindo, a tiny town in the cloud forest famous for bird-watching, or out to the little beach town of Canoa. Really, we can go whatever we fancy. I assure you the novelty of that has not worn off yet.
If you’ve been to Ecuador before I’d love to hear your tips.
In closing I will leave you with a photo taken of me on this, the first night of our trip around the world, in our basic but wonderful hostel room as I drink a beer I paid exactly $1 for.
A hostel room and $1 beer