Posts tagged Travel.

My time in Cuba has come to an end. This also means my time on the road is at its end. My sister Kat could not have suggested a better place for me to rest, write, think and feel. The rhythm in La Habana fit perfectly with the melody of my reflections. 

For more than a year I’ve traveled around this beautiful world with a backpack, a passport and a smile. Letting go and surrendering to an unknown path was difficult but in the end it was the one thing I could always trust.

Unimaginable coincidences, the hearts of strangers, luck and a whole lot of love and support made this journey of a lifetime the epic adventure that it was.

My perspective on daily life has been altered. The things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met have changed my life forever. Thank you for being a part of it all. 

Dora Senior

She’s the mother of my host and at 92-years-old she still has it together. Most of her time is spent watching TV…up close and loud. Her site is on its way out and her hearing isn’t far behind. She still makes her bed every morning, takes showers without any help and washes the dishes every night.

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Since I’ve been on this tight budget I’ve spent a lot of time in the apartment with Dora Senior. She’s shared tremendous stories of her life in Cuba as a kid before, during and after the revolution. “When the fighting started we couldn’t go to school. It was too dangerous. Dead bodies were always in the streets.”

They had money. They could’ve fled. They didn’t know it was going to be the way it was.

Coco Taxis, La Habana

A snorkeler swims with a stingray, Belize

Kat with kittens, Rubi’s Inn

A Simple Plan, Si Si Si & Pumpkin Hill

The plan was simple: Rent bikes and ride up to Pumpkin Hill. The first part was easy. We just walked down the main street in Utila and picked up a 24hr rental. The second part was harder than we thought…

We rode for a good hour, occasionally seeing signs of life. When people appeared from the fields we asked if we were going in the right direction. “Si, si, si”

The sun was starting to go down and we kept peddling up. Not the best combo but we finally could see Pumpkin Hill!

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We rode our bikes one way and didn’t see an entrance or a proper trail so we decided to turn back after a photo op by the beach.

On our way back we ran into a young scientist who pointed out the right way. We took a chance and quickly hiked up to catch sight of the entire island under the golden sky. We were the only ones there and for a few minutes it felt like we were discovering Utila for the first time.

A strong breeze came through and reminded us we were loosing light. We were soon going to become mosquito food if we didn’t book it out of there. Having this view made getting back easy and within a half hour we were back in the center of Utila’s backpacking scene.

Goodbyes, Eye Shades & A Quick Trip

In the early morning Kat and I said our goodbyes to the familia and headed out to the highway. Tica Bus picked us up off the main road and we headed North. 

Once onboard I busted out my travel blanket, pillow and eye shades. Kat, though impressed by my preparedness, was slightly jealous. Luckily for her I had an extra pair of eye shades and didn’t mind sharing the blanket. 

Since her skin has seen nothing but island sun for the last couple of months she immediately got the chills from the AC. A scarf covering her face did little to help.

This was just the beginning of our quick trip up Central America.

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Puerto Ayora holds several nightly volleyball matches (played with a soccer ball). Fifty bucks gets you in and the winning team splits all. It can get really intense. 

Galapagosing

Like some of the other countries I’ve visited in South America…Ecuador and I had some unfinished business. The objective of this trip was to make it out to the Galapagos Islands. 

I had been back and forth with a “last minute” Galapagos travel agency for a couple of weeks now and I wasn’t really feeling their vibe so I took Danielle’s advice and decided to just show up and figure it out.

I wanted my time in Guayaquil to be quick. So I hurried to the airport and bought a next day plane ticket to the islands. Once I checked that off the list I made my way back to my hostel and surfed the net to find a bed for the next eight days. Double check!

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I wanted to scream with excitement and hug everybody I saw and tell them what I was about to do! Out of all my adventures THIS was the one that I couldn’t believe was actually happening!

A Do Over, Asking Why and Heading North

Our train ride back to Cusco gave me some time to take in the last few days. I want to do it all over again! There’s something so electric about Cusco, the history and the local traditions. Being able to visit Machu Picchu and it’s surrounding peaks was incredible.

I’m finding myself to be more comfortable asking why and being thankful to the locals for taking the time to explain. Being in a place where there’s meaning to a lot of things that are deeper than what the eye can see is something I’m attracted to…

Blake, Danielle and I took an early morning flight to Lima the next day. After dinner we said our goodbyes and went off in different directions: They to the States and I on a bus heading North…

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Just a little over 24 hours later I say hello to Guayaquil, Ecuador!

A young artisan at work, Peru

Cusqueño

I was sad to leave Bolivia. It was my second visit and I really want a third! Here are a few things I noticed in La Paz… 

  • Shoe shiners cover their faces with ski masks. They do this to hide their identity and to avoid embarrassment to their families.
  • Some homeless dogs wear clothes. Once having a master who fed them and dressed them…until they got loose and lost their way home.
  • Colectivos are everywhere in and often full.
  • Prices for things in Calle de las Brujas have gone up and negotiating has gotten tougher, even if buying in quantity.

Llama fetuses are used as one of the offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth) whenever a new building is constructed or an important endeavor undertaken.

Calle de las Brujas, La Paz