I travel alone.
I, a woman, a daughter, a sister, a partner – I travel alone. I travel alone because I can. I travel alone because I come from a free and beautiful country that gives me the freedom to travel around the world alone. I don’t have to be accompanied by a man, or by anyone at all. Not all women are so free as to have this privilege, I know. Which is why I so passionately, so gratefully travel solo: I have an opportunity that so many women in the world are denied.
When I told my friends and family I was setting out on this long journey to travel the world alone, they were supportive, excited and of course, a little worried. But they knew I was a strong, smart woman. Others who didn’t know me so well weren’t so sure. In fact, the only thing they were sure of was that I was going to be assaulted, or murdered, or robbed, or raped. Or all of these things. Yes, people said these things to my face. “You’re going alone? To those countries? That’s so dangerous and reckless of you, what must your father think?”.
To which I sadly smiled and asked them, ‘Do you know how many people are victims in our little hometown of all of those atrocities each year? How many people are victims of these injustices in Canada each year? Home can be just as dangerous as abroad. I just have to travel smart and safe”. Continue reading
Cuenca, Ecuador, was a city that I had heard much about, but never made it around to on my first time through Ecuador, mostly due to the fact that I fell in love with Montañita and ended up spending all my time there! So on my second time through the country, I made sure this city was a priority. Hailed as the most beautiful colonial city in the country, it’s easy to understand why. The cobble stone streets, the old baroque buildings and stunning churches; the city has the feeling it’s been trapped in time. You can detect a Parisian influence here as well with some of the charming architecture. Wire moulded flower pots hold vibrant red flowers spilling over them, as the pots cling to the sides of buildings on narrow streets. The strong smell of aromatic Ecuadorian coffee fills the streets, and vendors hawk their snacks on street corners. Continue reading
After Argentina, I flew back into Guayaquil, Ecuador and then bused it out to Montañita to spend some time back on the beach in my favourite spot. The weather wasn’t near as lovely as it was back in June, this was their cloudy/rainy season after all, but it was still warm compared to the rest of South America and I was able to hang out in shorts and a tank top and throw down my yoga mat on the beach and get back in my groove after a long hiatus. I met with old friends, ate at my favourite places, practiced yoga daily, took dips in the ocean and worked on my blog. Continue reading
Oh my darling Montañita. What sweet, secret, untold treasures you had in store for me! After having my laptop stolen, I began writing everything in my journal, and I had nearly finished writing my account of my time in Montañita on the bus ride from Huacachina to Cusco, Peru, when I stupidly left my journal on the bus. I went back hours later to hopefully reclaim it, but had no such luck. All that writing. Gone. So here I am – a month later – once again, trying to recall the incredible three weeks I spent on the beach on the coast of Ecuador in Montañita. Continue reading
Bright and early, Anthony and I headed to the airport to make our way through the customs-like checkpoints for heading to the famous Galapagos Islands. While we weren’t leaving the country, the islands are treated a bit like their own country, with their own set of very strict regulations to ensure the environmental integrity of the islands. Look for my upcoming blog post on how to do the Galapagos islands for under $1000.
We paid the $100 entrance fee, had our passports checked, our luggage raided (lost a bag of chia seeds in the process, darn!) and then boarded our plane with a load of other tourists all excited for the trip of a lifetime. It was an hour and 45 minute flight out over the Pacific ocean and as the first island came into view we all excitedly peered out the little oval windows for our first look at the Galapagos. Continue reading
I wish I could say I spent a few amazing days exploring the great city that is Quito, but Quito turned out to be a repeat of Medellin and Bogota- sick, sick, sick. You can read about my adventures dealing with illness for over a month on the road here. We spent 5 days in Quito, most of them being in the hostel bed, bathroom and couch, and then in the hospital. All we wanted was to get on the road. Other than exploring the streets near the hostel and on the way to the hospital, we didn’t really get to see any of Quito, unfortunately. We walked to the super market a couple of times to load up on soup, bread and rice which was all we could stomach. After a few days we were nearly delirious with desire for anything other than ichiban soup. The only excursion we set out on was to head to the equator which ended up in me getting painfully ill, almost as a lesson to not leave the hostel! Other than being terribly sick near the end of our day it was a a great way to get out and see a bit of Quito on the long drive to the Equator park. It’s cheap and there are lots of little shops – but it’s a pretty tourist heavy excursion; though still neat to learn the history! Continue reading
Well this also finally happened… I was robbed. Before you freak out, family and friends, no, I was not held up at gun or knife point and stripped of all my belongings, thank god. It was a more of a ghost robbery, where I was left totally unaware. I hopped on my bus in Banos heading for Guayaquil to meet up with Anthony, a nice cheap $7 ride for 7 hours. I walked towards the back of the bus where my assigned seat was. There was a man at the back of the bus who looked as if he worked on the bus as he was directing patrons to seats. He motioned for me to take my assigned seat, which I did and then said I could store my backpack up top or below my seat. There were bags under the seat in front of me so I slide my back pack back under my own seat and settled in. Mistake number one. Unnoticed, the man took a seat directly behind me. Continue reading
*Warning* this post is explicit in the shameless details of being ill- if you’re easily disgusted, don’t keep reading! 😛
So it finally happened. I got sick. Real sick. Two days before I left Guatemala, I came down with mild food poisoning. I got through a bad night of basically trying to sleep while sitting on the toilet, the agonizing cramps making me nearly cry out for my mommy. There’s something about being violently ill that makes you want you mother desperately. I had flashbacks of warm baths, cold cloths on my forehead, four litre ice cream buckets that we dubbed “puke pails”, gingerale, tums, and gentle back rubs from moms comforting hands. Unfortunately all I had was a shared public bathroom with doors that were open on both the top and bottom, allowing all the gastric sounds to escape easily. Continue reading