Back in March I decided I needed to just get myself into gear and stop stalling my life. After some back and forth between various destinations and travel-companion options I decided to go with the Amazon Rainforest. I have wanted to go there since I was 7 years old and I didn't really care if anybody else wanted to go with me. I realize that everybody has their own interests of where they want to go and where they want to spend their money. Saying "someday I'll do ___" might turn into "I wish I had done _____."
Given that this would be my first international trip alone I felt more at ease given that I'd be joining a tour group.
On June 15 I arrived in Quito, Ecuador and would have a couple days on my own before my tour started. I highly recommend the tour I went on: Local Living Ecuador: Amazon Jungle
Some of my favorites from my traveling include: Zip-lining upside down through the cloud forest in Mindo, waterfall hiking (climbing waterfalls included) through the Jungle, white water rafting in the Napo River and relaxing in the hot springs for hours and hours. Such an amazing adventure and I am itching for more!
Beautiful butterfly from Mindo Butterfly tour
Mindo Butterfly Tour
Mindo Orchid tour
Mindo Chocolate Tour
Informal "middle of the world" stop
Playground stop on the way to Otavalo Market... best playground I have ever been to and played on!
Shopping in Otavalo Market
Parque Condor view
Official Middle of the World!
Waterfall hike in the jungle with fellow travelers on the tour
Waterfall hike in the Jungle
Hang-out spot from Jungle home
Woolly Monkey on the way to AmaZoonico (where amazon jungle wildlife is being rehabbed)
On the last day before some of us went to the airport, we stopped at a nearby lagoon on our way to Papallacta Hot Springs
View from lunch of the Papallacta Hot Springs spa
With our driver, Eduardo :)
Things that I'm glad I packed:
- Travel clothesline (although in the jungle almost nothing ever dried fully, this at least helped get things to be damp and if lucky... dry): Sea to Summit Lite Line Clothesline
- exofficio brand clothing that was super quick drying, with some of them repelling insects
- Outdoor Research packable Helium II rain jacket (I could pack it into the pocket and just clip it to my purse and it's just so comfortable!)
- Travel microfiber towel such as the Sea to Summit DryLite (given that it takes a long time for things to dry, this is one of the few things I had that consistently dried from being soaked).
- Sea to Summit Citronella Wilderness Wash (helps repel insects, travel friendly, good for everything!)
I felt pretty blue not long after I got home which has led me to conclude that I really need to reprioritize things in my life if I want to continue feeling invigorated. The traveling taught me that there are so many different ways to be happy and people around the world have a lot to teach us about life. On the second full day in Quito, the driver had persuaded his college-aged daughter to accompany us because we were not able to communicate. Watching them interact with each other was just so sweet, to see that strong sense of family and so much affection. I want more of that in my life.
My fellow travelers came from all walks of life and they did not lead a completely "Traditional" lifestyle in the sense of...get married young, have kids, stay home, etc. They are happy, well-rounded individuals with a great zest for life and adventure and I loved spending time with all of them. There is no set timeline of what we have to do and when, it's important to be happy with what we have, live in the present, and breathe in the love and live life with gratitude.
I feel more confident in myself having had this trip and felt that I embraced just doing things on my own because I discovered that I'm never truly alone, there are people around the world who find their way into our lives and accompany us if we let them. We only feel alone, unhappy or any other negative feeling if we let ourselves.
Where to next?