It has been one year since I lived in Ecuador.
As I sit here working on a paper about the atomic structure of copper, I want to dedicate this entry to remembering the adventures of my “old” life. Last night, I spoke with my parents about the choices that my four siblings and I have made/are making in our twenties. I spoke about how eternally grateful I am for having had the experience I did while in Ecuador. Granted, I was pretty sick most of the time, I was attempted robbed three times (but for the record – nobody got a dime off of me, echem, even with razor blades involved), my building was broken into, I had many frustrations, and at a certain point I knew that it was time for me to come home and make some decisions… that didn’t stop me from having some of the best and most inspiring adventures of my life.
These videos, created by my then VIVA Travel Guides intern and now good friend Allison (AKA “The Traveling Bard”), capture — at least in one form — some of the experience. I guess with Thanksgiving around the corner, it seemed appropriate to recognize how grateful I am for the adventures I’ve had. I distinctly remember one bus ride, when about five friends and I made the 10 hour overnight trip from Canoa (the beach) all the way up to Quito (a 9,400 foot climb through the Andes) to head straight to work. Everyone was sleeping, and I had a window seat on the rickety, dank bus. As it climbed from sea level into the mountains, I remember watching out my window in complete awe as layer upon layer of mountains spread out from all around us. It was just our bus in the entire sea of mountains, climbing up towards the most beautiful display of stars I think I will ever see. And while everyone slept, I may or may not have gotten choked up with happiness watching the scenery go by, because I knew I was living the life I wanted to live. The world is so clear when you feel like you and the stars are the only ones in it. I was living my dream, even if it turned out to be less perfect than I had imagined. I was in the thick of life, whatever mine would turn out to be.
I went to Ecuador immediately after getting my heart broken. I didn’t know a single soul in the entire country. I took a huge risk, I took some tumbles along the way, but now — one year later — I know I will forever be LUCKY that I ever took a chance. Juan the Amoeba (for all those who remember that little sucker) may have been a surprise visitor, but he is gone now. What’s left is some pretty f-ing incredible memories. So what can I say? Take the risk. And be grateful that you did, no matter what.
I’ve got to head to my 8am class. But check these out and enjoy my cameos, if you will:
And here is my attempt to make a video (not nearly as good as Allison’s but it was my first ever!):
A special thank you to ALLISON!! Follow her @ACarlton or check her out here http://www.allisoncarlton.com/ (side note: I took her homepage photo 🙂 Yay).