Simply put, the look on the young sea lion’s face in the photo above captures exactly how I felt during our 8 days cruising the Galapagos Archipelago. The unique combination of the sun, beautiful, other-worldly landscapes, and the uncanny friendliness of the animals, above and below the water, created an undeniable feeling of being in the Garden of Eden.
We snorkeled everyday, sometimes twice.
I had forgotten how much actual travel is involved in being a “traveler”. If I had thought it through step by step, I would never have planned this many hours of travel over a 3 day period, positive the kids could not manage it. But as it turns out, I didn’t really think it through, and we had reservations, so we went for it and the kids handled better then most adults would have done. Getting from the Amazon region in the eastern part of Ecuador up to a remote village in the Andes went something like this;
Depart Amazon Lodge-3hrs by boat-2hrs by truck
sleep in hotel
wake up at 5am -8 hrs by public bus-change busses-1 more hour by bus
sleep in hostel
leave hostel at 10am-4 hr bus-Arrive remote Andes village area
There were three keys to our success for this long haul, embracing the feeling of adventure, finding opportunities for little breaks/free play, and allowing some iPad time.
Ecuador is exotic for us, creating a near-constant feeling of adventure. The kids still haven’t tired of the fact that taxis don’t have seat belts and the drivers are slightly reckless. We are continually finding unique foods sold on the buses and in little hole-in-the-wall tiendas. The views are often breathtaking and if not, at least totally different from home. Zuki counted 11 different types of animals on the side of the road on our last 4hr bus ride. With the Ecuadorian music blaring and the aisles filled with standing locals with all sorts of “carry-ons”, the crowed buses are still a novelty.
There is something magical about the Amazon. I am not referring to the common tendency to paint the “unknown” as mystical in our minds; I really felt the magic, like that commonly perceived only during childhood.
On the first night of our 4 night Amazon Expedition at Shiripuno Lodge, we had the opportunity to go on a night walk with our guide to view some nocturnal creatures. In the rainforest, because of the dense ceiling created by the canopy, only a dim light reaches the forest floor during the day. At night it is truly pitch black, which makes for an interesting introduction to the life in the jungle.
Equipped with headlamps, we saw very unusual spiders, cool tree frogs, strange insects, and Ferdinand, a very poisonous snake, curled in the middle of our path.
We eased into travel life with a 5 night stay at the wonderful Wantara Suites. (Found on VRBO.com) Knowing that the first week of our new nomadic lifestyle was going to be an adjustment both physically and emotionally, I thought a little splurge ($90/nt) on a super comfortable home base would make a big difference in our acclimation. We couldn’t have wished for more; The Estrella Suite, truly felt like a home away from home.
Kelly Perozo, Mom of this traveling tribe, telling our story of a 12 month, around-the-world journey; the good, the bad, and the crazy.