Gone ‘Til November

Life in Quito is about to get VERY busy.

For those of you who don’t know, I am coming home in early November. There is so much more to say about that, but there will be plenty of time to GO THERE, so to speak, later on. All I can say is that, when you decide to come home, everything becomes more wonderful wherever you are about to leave. It’s already becoming bittersweet, and while I don’t doubt the decision at all, I am afraid this next month and a half is just going to FLY…

Ecuadorian woman in indigenous garb. Otavalo Market, Ecuador.

Man, what have I been up to?! SO MUCH!

Over the weekend, I ventured to the famous (and overwhelmingly colorful) Otavalo Market. I am NOT a big shopper, and if I do any kind of shopping, I usually prefer to do it on my own and fast. I have to touch everything, and I’m in and out (uhhh, still talking about shopping here). I especially am not into shopping in the scorching sun (as much as I do love the sun, this whole Equator thing is very real), and I am not into being grabbed and lured into every single little tent when I’m just trying to look around. But, that said, it was a very nice trip and a good experience to get out of the big city and over to Otavalo. I had big hopes and dreams of getting friends and family members all sorts of easily-packable presents, but somehow I ended up with a bunch of random wall-hangings (for an apartment I don’t have, mind you) and one necklace of the Inca sun for myself. Oops!

Pile of Yarn and Gringos. Otavalo Market, Ecuador.

After the Otavalo market, we headed to Cotacachi, a place known as “the leather town” here. Now, I usually just stick to Argentina when I want something made out of leather, but this adorable little town in the middle of the Andes also cast some sort of spell on me. I had NO intention of buying anything in leather there, and only had $60 remaining in my left shoe (I had already gone into the right shoe for my other $60 while in Otavalo). Well, we walked into a store, I immediately saw the kind of leather jacket I’ve been looking for for years (a dark brown leather bomber), I tried it on, it fit perfectly, my friends encouraged me to throw down for it, I said F-it, I’ll take it, and that was that. The owner told me it was $78. I told him I had $60 in my shoe (visiting these places, bargaining becomes like a game). I found a couple more scraps of dollars in my bag, and it became mine for $70. Excellent.

Cotacachi Street. Cotacachi, Ecuador.

With only about a month and a half left in Ecuador, I am going to have to be very productive and efficient. I absolutely cannot leave South America without going to Colombia, and yet how can I leave Ecuador without visiting the Galapagos Islands?! I can’t afford either trip, especially with no job lined up for when I get home (YET! Anyone, anyone?! I’m available and on the hunt!), but let’s be honest: it’s not like that has ever stopped me before.

Here’s a song to match my current mood.

Basically, I’m in a good place. I am feeling great about being 27, about still having over a month of South American living, of speaking Spanish, of putting together an Argentina guidebook before I leave (this involves reading over 900 pages of writing in the next 2-3 weeks and cutting it down to about 600 or so), about things I’ve learned, adventures I’ve had, trips I still plan to take before I go…

Man on a bike. Cotacachi, Ecuador.

Some people have said to me, “I’m sorry it didn’t work out” because I am not staying in Ecuador the entire year. Look, that is absolutely NOT the case! It’s hard to explain this, but all I can say is that this trip has absolutely worked out. It hasn’t been about getting exactly what I want out of it (I didn’t know what I wanted), it’s been about taking everything I DO get out of it along in my little life suitcase. I came here with no idea what to expect, and that is exactly what I got.

With only about a month and a half of Ecuadorian adventures left, I’m going to have to try not to blink. It’s funny how deciding to go home can make you love that you aren’t there …yet.

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5 Comments

Filed under Ecuador

5 responses to “Gone ‘Til November

  1. Jess

    Just saying… this girl has a new apartment and can assure full reimbursement if you feel inclined to pick me up some “Tavel approved” little wall hangings 🙂

    New apartment, blank walls… I’ll see you in November. I will leap into your arms.

  2. missy

    amen! it HAS worked out..enjoy this last month and a half and try to make time for all the things you could potentially regret not having done when you are back stateside.

    • travelswithtavel

      Will do my best! But we both know the adventures never stop, even if I am home… There is always another one around the corner 🙂 HUG!

  3. Susana

    Ecuador seems like a truly beautiful country, with lots and lots of local color. Have you found any interesting local craftsmen that do modern, hip interpretations of the local crafts? Any really authentic weavers, potters, etc?

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