A Travellerspoint blog

There and Back Again

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There and Back Again

I sit here on the ferry to Vancouver island, looking out at the ocean and islands. Finding it a challenge to write this final blog. Mixed feelings about being back in Canada. Resting in the possibilities of the moment. Lez be honest, I miss South America. Last night, after arriving from a 36 hour journey, it hit me. Wondering how the heck I just did what I did.

Valentine's Day was sweet and savoury. I met an amazing Ecuadorian man named Jose. His big smiles and positive energy made the day. We toured around the old district of Quito, people selling flowers and love goodies, stopping at some basilicas and square commons. We talked about, everything under the sun, and the day it will be when gay love will be as accepted open as the lovers we seen all around us. We really hit it off. The end of the day was topped off with resting in a local park, after 5 hours of walking, filled with families enjoying each other and lovers consumed in their affection. A great final day.

After exchanging digits, we vowed we would meet again. That evening I was taking it easy. As I was relaxing in my dorm bed, I was reminded I was to be flying out in a few hours! Thinking it was the following evening I was to be leaving. Laundry still at the lavanderia, stuff laying all over the bed and floor. Hakuna Mattata! Giggling with my fellow roommates, I quickly started to pack my things and went down to see if I could get my clothes. Thinking I may have to ditch them if the place was closed. Fortunately they were all washed and ready to go. The hostel called me a cab and off I went into the night. The taxi sped off, as South American taxis do. Playing some killer electro dance music. A smile on my face, on the edges of laughter, I take in the last images of the Quito skyline.

1 hour to the airport, 6 hour flight to Houston, followed by a 12 hour layover, followed again by a 5 hour flight to Vancouver. Was a long day. In the Houston airport I met a Brazilian man named Filepe. He was studying medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Time flew by as we talked about life and checked out the guys passing by. A common theme had emerged, the reaction people have when I tell them I was traveling alone in Ecuador. I second guess myself, followed by quickly putting it to rest. It wasn't mine to be held. I was lucky, in many ways on this trip. But I attribute the quality to my frame of mind and open heart.

I sit here on the ferry to Vancouver island, thinking about what I have to come away with and how do I move forward. Traveling has taught me about what it means to be alive and the meaning and value of my life. It's taught me how to live, in right relation to my spirit and the undeniable truth of death. The journey doesn't stop when I reach the doorstep of home, it's only the beginning. I am alive, there, and back again.

-Big shout out and love to everyone who has read my blog over the course of this past month. It's the first time I've ever done anything like this, writing for public review, and I think I've discovered a seedling worthy of continued care and nurture. Thank you as well, to my bro Greg, for sharing his space and dinner with me last night.

Big love and gratitude,

Posted by Islandboi99 09:37 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Galápagos el amor y la belleza

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Galápagos el amor y la belleza

Be still, my sensitive heart. Well, I suppose my mind is preparing for the departure early next week. Bittersweet traveling is. The amazing connections that are sought after, bring memories and tearful goodbyes. Tears be flowing today, in a feeling of overwhelming gratitude, as I go over the course of my trip, the beautiful people I've met and the places I've seen. Dying into myself, my heart wide open for life, people, and experience.

It's been one month since I've left Vancouver island. There's no words or poetic weavings to accurately portray the experience of this trip. I stand in the middle, between there and away. I miss Ecuador already, and I miss home. These will be some of the memories I call back to when I'm old and grey and relive in my mind. Many more to be made and cherished.

The last couple days in the Galápagos was spent doing some of my favourite things, Snorkelling, Surfing, and Eating haha. The hike out to Tortuga bay, I considered it a bit of a necessary sacrifice to the beach and to surfing. An hour of hiking through sweltering heat and arid landscape. The path, laden with steep hills that seemed to go on forever. But, it was the joy in hearing the crashing of the waves in the distance as your drew near, that kept up the pace. Coming upon the beach, your eyes looked up following the white sandy beach to the crystal turquoise waters, paradise. And those waves, are looking mighty fine.

After my last Desayunos, I quickly learned I had half an hour to make it to the bus station to catch the last bus of the day at 8am. This hour bus ride wound through the centre of the island, passing the various small pockets of different bioregion. Then, we hopped on a ferry to cross over to the isla Baltra. Two plane rides later with a stop over in Guayaquil, I landed in Quito. Partly cloudy and much much cooler. Being so high up in the highlands. It was nice not to be sweating all the time. A 140 MpH taxi ride through the city. Scary. We passed a car accident. In Canada, at least, I think there is some sensitivity to passers by. They try to get the victims in the ambulance as quickly as possible. Not there. Bloody and very unconscious people being worked on on the road. One already on a back board, the other still laying on the road. Their car, totalled. I thought, there's know way they are still alive. It made me sad. Thinking back to my ayahuasca experience in what it felt like to be out of my body and around any sort of non natural light or noise. It was intense and uncomfortable. I felt for them, if they did indeed pass.

Today, the plan is to do some laundry and explore the unesco world heritage sights in the old district of Quito. Taking it easy in preparation for my long journey home tomorrow night! I'm excited to come home. Seeds be sprouting in all areas of life.

Big love,

Posted by Islandboi99 07:09 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Days 6 & 7 Galápagos Islands

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Days 6 & 7 Galápagos

They say age is just a number, it's about how old you feel. Well, I feel about what I'd imagine 60 would be. Haha. Super stiff and sore from my first day of surfing. But enjoyed it so much, after a night of partying with the Ecuadorians, went back and surfed all afternoon again today. 60 years old.

Pico, the incredibly handsome and intelligent guy who was to teach me to surf walked with me the 1 hour to the surfing area of Tortuga Bay. On the way, we clicked instantly. Talking about world politics, environmental issues and how they are the same shit different pile everywhere. We talked about the local flora and even went deep into plant medicines like ayahuasca and cannabis. It was delicious on so many levels. When we got to the beach, we stretched and did a bit of a debriefing before heading out into the surf. No fear, big respect, is the attitude to have when playing with the power of the ocean. We waded out far enough so that the water was neck high. The waves, were about 3-5 feet high. The power of the wave, wow! I got into position, lying flat with my chest up ready to ride. Pico showed me which waves were good and powerful to ride. He'd say Go! And I'd start paddling my butt off. Surfing is such a metaphor for life. The centred and balanced state you must achieve to stay on the board, the patience and wisdom to know when to trust the time is right to pull back, and stand up, all have positive life affirming messages. The waves have things to teach too. It was nice to hear that my body type was good for a sport for once. Being thin with good balance is an asset to surfing. I managed to get up my first try. Now I'm hooked. We spent most of the day, catching waves, eating Oreos, catching more waves, and talking about life.

I was exhausted by the end of the day. Surfers show know how to take a beating! Pico and I talked all the way back to town. It felt like I had made a close friend. Primo! We brought back the board, but seemed like we weren't finished hanging out. So he showed me a few things around the pier and walked me back to my hostel. I hope to stay in touch. I may need a bigger house, with all the new friends I've invited to come stay with me. Haha

Later I met up with another surfer, who's gay and out. A rare occurrence in the religious climate of Ecuador. After, it was yet another night of Carnaval festival. This time, bigger then the other nights. I grabbed a beer and immersed myself in the Ecuadorian world. There was the odd foreigner there, mostly just walking past after their day trips, back to their hotels. By 9pm I was the only white person that I could see. I danced, grooved and grinded to those spicy Latin beats. I'm sure I looked mighty strange with my dancing. But, I figured, I'm clearly a foreigner, might as well run with it. Then, a face full of foam, followed by a face full of paint shortly after. And it continued. Until I was covered in water, paint, and foam. It was awesome!

I have a confession, I'm a surfaholic! I went surfing again today, despite being really sore and tired. The first wave, I did something different, my board went side ways. Without trying. I was riding the wave, after coming down, going length wise. Oh yes, I thought, this is what those surfers do. I continued the afternoon of trying to recreate whatever I had done to make that happen. A slight lean to the side, while leaning forward perhaps. The waves were a little more powerful today. They really pounded you while trying to get out to deeper water.

This evening I met a gay Chinese man who works at the embassy in Peru. He is on a week vacation. We grabbed some drinks and talked about travel. We hit it off and walked around the docks, taking pictures of the sea lions sleeping on the benches. We decided to hang out again tomorrow, after he gets back from his day trip. And possibly a trip to Tortuga bay together the following day.

I must rest these weary bones now.

Big love,

Posted by Islandboi99 11:30 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Days 3 & 4 & 5 Galápagos

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Day 3 & 4 & 5 Galápagos

The last few days have consisted of small day trips around the island of Santa Cruz. The 2 hour hike to the white sandy paradise of Tortuga bay. On the way, passing through the local flora identifying as many plants as I tried to google the previous night. I met the Palo Santo tree, for those that burn this 'holy wood', it's smell filled pockets of warm air. Brushing my hand against the bark, my hand smelled like the sweet pungent smell of burning palo santo. Palo santo is like the white sage of South America, used in cleansing rituals and often women outside the basilicas will be waving this incredible burning wood. Swimming in the rather large ocean waves was killah! Can't wait to go surfing tomorrow!

Making a conscious effort to put myself out there more since my realization of inauthenticity. I have not switched hostels because, let's face it, a bargains a bargain. And this queen is enjoying her uninterrupted shower and beauty sleep. Hahah werk.

I met a man, who is a local to Galápagos. Hail Grindr! He is a co captain on one of the cruise ships. He invited me out for lunch and we talked about the islands, life and travel. He isn't out to his family, but confided in me telling he was bisexual. We talked a bit about differences in culture when it came to LGBT people. When it came time to pay, I was more then willing to pick up the bill, I had enjoyed the company. He insisted he payed, while pulling out a huge wad of cash. Apparently co captains get paid pretty well. After lunch we hoped on his motorbike and cruised around town, stopping at the surf shop so I could rent a board for Monday morning. He showed me where he lived and invited me in to cool off in his air conditioned apartment. What a treat, first time in a month I was in a air controlled room, felt awesome! Potential motorbike trip around the island.

This weekend is the festival of Carnaval. A Catholic time of being bad before having to be good before lent and Easter. No comment. These Ecuadorians do know how to celebrate and party tho! One tradition is to drench others in all sorts of liquids. Could be anything from water to urine. Thankfully there are rules now and most people stick to water, paint, and a water based foam. Music, food and water fights filled the streets of Puerto Ayora. At night, a stage was erected, traditional dancers and music be heard. After that, thumpa thumpa. For anyone that knows me knows that I can't resist a good thumpa thumpa. Once my body starts groovin, I gotta go until I can't no more lol. I hung out with another Galápagos local for awhile. He makes his living as a freelance tour guide, bringing foreigners to the various islands.

Today I went on a small trip to Finch Bay, the so called 'German' part of the island. I'm guessing it's called that because the Germans own the two fancy hotels there? A short boat ride over on the turquoise waters, passing sea turtles and sea lions on the way. I decided to look for a place to have some lunch before exploring. Holy expensive batman! Was told to go elsewhere by a hotel worker because it was too expensive there and was for hotel guests only. I guess I looked like a rugged backpacker with my rolled up jeans and graphic tee? Lol I found another restaurant that had the best ceviche I had ever had. Local octopus! Paired with a refreshing limonata! Only my entire day's food budget mind you. $22 US! Walking around later, I found a spot off the tourist trail from where everyone was comfy on their small piece of sandy beach. I climbed through some mangroves, being careful not to damage or break anything. I put my stuff in a tree and went skinny dipping. Cuz that's just how I role. The shade of the water trees and the waves of turquoise made me grateful for this small piece of paradise. I wondered what it would be like to live here. I decided a solid friend base, income source and probably a boyfriend would be needed for the seclusion of the Galápagos. Any takers? Haha

Ps. Did I mention how incredibly stoked I am for surfing tomorrow!? Hopefully a snorkelling/diving trip to another island will also manifest before my time is over here.

Big love,

Posted by Islandboi99 14:10 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Dear Authenticity,

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Dear Authenticity,

It's 1am now as I write this. My door, propped open with the fan going on high. My skin, tingly and itchy as my body heals from the intense sun exposure. Wondering why I ever chose over a month to travel to a place where I barely speak the language, where the climate is intense and the culture very different from my own. Perhaps it was because I longed to meet myself in a foreign world. Far from home. I have yet to feel home sickness, but I feel as tho a part of my fire has burnt out. I've lost that, dare to travel spark, that launched me into previous epic adventures. I've fallen into a familiar comfort zone. How to break free of this cycle, and will there be energy reserves for me once I do?

I know what I must do. I know what i should have been doing. I remember the time, not long ago, when I stopped saying yes and started saying no to opportunity. This seems, comfortable at the time, but leaves the spirit and the heart empty. And it builds, and builds, until you can't ignore the fact that your not living authentically anymore. Of course there will be energy when I step off this perch I've created for myself, nature supports bravery. Time and time again, as I tend to forget, that when I've lived authentically in the moment daring to be alive, there was always a surge of satisfaction and energy knowing that this was right. It's easy once one starts, the hardest part is the first step.

So, the only thing someone can do to leave the comfort zone is to jump. Jump from the perch that harbours loneliness and half assed adventure. I thought I'd found a good deal, for a room to myself, a bathroom my own, and privacy. This was but a no to opportunity. In a grander light, a side step into solitary to build necessary components to come to an eventual sweaty night conclusion and break free having learned the way of the path, again.

At this point, do I really want to move into a dorm in another hostel, risk potentially not having a bed there at some point in the future and be forced to find another if they can't accommodate? Of course not, but if I'm wise enough to value my relationship to myself and the life I live, I'd better buck up. And trust. That life is but a dream. And we all don't have much time here.

Perhaps this is why we feel empty, depressed and lonely in our day to day lives. We have stopped living authentically, we've said no to life and opportunity and our spirits and hearts have been starved of life force.

Say yes, my friends

Big love,

Posted by Islandboi99 23:27 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

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