On The Road Again

Packed and Ready To Go!

We leave tonight for Ecuador---I always think that's so romantic, leaving at night---and the last week has been exactly how you might imagine the week before you go on vacation to be: full of stress and panic. Honestly, I sometimes wonder how worthwhile it is to go away when you spend the five days before you leave in a state of constant list-making, trying to cram all of next week's work into this week AS WELL AS find a suitable rain jacket. And can we just talk for a moment about how depressing it is to have to buy a rain jacket to go on vacation? Yeah, yeah, I know I'll be wearing it to cycle past waterfalls and horse-ride through the Andes, but still. Part of me longs to throw a bikini and a few tank tops into a suitcase and lie on a beach for a week, but no, we had to choose an exciting vacation, a vacation with lots of traveling between cities and bus journeys taken next to chickens.

But oh, I will admit to a thrill at seeing my backpack---well, my co-worker's backpack, on loan provided I bring it back with some delightfully mysterious Ecuadorian dirt encrusted on it for extra cachet---leaning up against the doorway, packed and ready to go. As I rolled my clothes into plastic bags last night, I had a sudden, powerful flashback to the three months of my life I spent living exactly in that way: all my possessions carried on my back, each plastic bag packed and unpacked in every new city and every new country, neat (and not-so-neat) piles of t-shirts and trousers unloaded onto strange hotel beds.

Do you know, in two months' time, it'll be a year since Sean and I got back from our backpacking adventure around Southeast Asia, and in all that time, I haven't once opened the travel journal I kept while we were out there. In my head, I keep a running record of what we were doing this time last year, but the leather journal I so painstakingly wrote in pretty much every few days has remained in my desk drawer, its pages containing days and days worth of memories that I'm not entirely sure I want to relive again, lest they make me too sad, lest they remind me of what I'm not doing anymore. Or, worse, just what I'm not. (A person who'd willingly stay in a dorm room with seven snoring men, a person who'd willingly take a 24-hour bus journey, a person who lived in the same pair of flipflops for three months and walked miles and miles in them every day, thus proving that the easiest way to lose ten pounds---which will, of course, be gained back on your return---is just to walk in an unfamiliar city until your feet are blackened and dirty.)

Sometimes still, Sean and I lie awake at night, and one of us will say "do you remember the names of all the hotels we stayed in when we were traveling?" And then, one by one, we list them off, and we still remember them all. Sometimes one of us says "I can't believe we did that. I mean, I can't believe that was our life. It all seems so far away now" and the other will nod in the dark.

But tonight we're off again, just the two of us, on the first vacation we've taken since getting back from Asia last October (unless you count two days in San Diego for a wedding, and damnit, I don't.) We're staying in slightly nicer places this time, treating ourselves a little more, but the essential thrills of last year's grand adventure are still going to be the same: the comforting heft of a backpack, the glorious disorientation of a foreign country, the excitement of arriving somewhere at six or seven in the morning and having the whole day stretched out before you, just waiting to be filled with discovery. Everything up until today has been tedious and exhausting, but as soon as I step onto that plane tonight, it'll all be gone. And I can't wait.

Aug 30, 2007

Have a safe and fun trip! Say hello to the bus chickens for me. They're the best.

Aug 30, 2007

Sounds absolutely fabulous - enjoy!

Aug 30, 2007

Have a fabulous trip!!

Aug 30, 2007

Hope you both have a wonderful adventure! Looking forward to reading the post-trip reports.

Heather B.
Aug 30, 2007

I'm a little bit jealous and a little bit sad. Nevertheless, have a wonderful time. I can't wait to hear all about it.

Aug 30, 2007

A lot jealous, and since I'm living vicariously through you I started brushing up on the few Spanish phrases I know.

Sure, it's odd to receive Tu madre tiene un bigote in your inbox, but that "insult" deserves to be known by all travelers.

Use it wisely.

JB at Twice Five Miles
Aug 30, 2007

Ooh, have a great time! Can't wait for the report and photos!

Aug 30, 2007

Reading this is making the wanderlust hit me hard. Good thing I can live vicariously through your blog! Have a great trip!

Carol Snider
Aug 30, 2007

My 22-year-old, 6' tall, stunningly gorgeous, stunningly BLOND niece just got back from one of those "with chickens" trips. She traveled ALONE in Central and South America for 2 months. Among all the wonderful, engaging stories she had to tell, there were a few she'd rather not tell. But all in all she had a GREAT time... crazy as she was to go alone.

Ah, youth and independence!


Not The Mama
Aug 30, 2007

I'm so, so jealous. I hope you have an absolutely fabulous time in Equador. I can't wait to read all about it.

Aug 30, 2007

Have a truly wonderful time. I can't wait to hear all about it when you return!

Aug 30, 2007

ahhh...the memories of a trip are sometimes almost as sweet. MD and often reminisce about our trips in the same way...and end up lamenting our present boringness!

Have a great trip! Ecuador...I seriously am looking forward to your comments, I don't think I've met anyone whose even been there..:*)

Aug 30, 2007

I hope you have a fantastic trip. Safe journey for you both! I can't wait to read about your adventures.

Aug 30, 2007

Oh my goodness! Reading that made we want to put the children in kennels and hit the road! If you don't want the guilt of children living in the cat and dog home on your conscience you'd better make sure you post EVERYTHING about your trip so I can do it vicariously instead.

Aug 30, 2007

Yay! Travel! Will you be able to write from there?

Nothing But Bonfires
Aug 30, 2007

Yes, I'm going to try!

Aug 30, 2007

I'm so jealous. I wish I had the guts to do that, but I'm a hater of things like camping and backpacking, I am lazy and like hotels with showers and pillows. I also can't afford to take off anyplace, so that works out in my favor because I can pretend that if I could travel, I would. Totally. I can just see myself in a dorm room after hiking all day... Or not. Have a great time!

Aug 31, 2007

Bon Voyage! I wish you many lifelong memories and life changing adventures.

Aug 31, 2007

You're coming precariously close to awakening the wanderlusting beast inside me... and I like it. Best of luck on your journeys.

Aug 31, 2007

Bon voyage, chere amie.

Gros bisous,


Aug 31, 2007

You are so doing the right thing by taking these kinds of trips while you are young, able and willing. You can always lie on the beach later- when you can't drag the kids around in a backpack, or you are no longer of that frame of mind. I think of all the wonderful memories you are creating that you will have to look back on and talk about and it makes me happy for you.

I have mentioned this here before- my fiance grew up in Ecuador. His parents were missionaries here for 30 years. When his dad died in may he had asked that they drape the Ecuadoran flag over his coffin. Ecuador is very much a part ot their family culture. His brother took his wife and kids back last year. I can't wait to read all about your trip so I can use it for ammo tp get him to take us!

Did you knwo there are trains there that you can ride on top of? You need to do that. Not sure if you have to bring your own chicken.

Aug 31, 2007

That sounds really fun! Happy travels!

Aug 31, 2007

I’m looking forward to the trip follow-up, your words coupled with Sean’s always fabulous pictures.

Hey, does Travelocity provide some sort of stipend for holidays? One can’t write well about travel if they aren’t traveling right? :)

Sep 01, 2007

Have a great time! Take pictures! Take Imodium! Come back! Blog! A lot!

- M

Sep 01, 2007

You nailed it right on the head. Although now that I have kids, traveling is an entirely different adventure. ;)

Have a wonderful trip!

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Sep 02, 2007

Have a great trip! Looking forward to reading all about it!

Sep 03, 2007

Have a fantastic time; can't wait to see pictures when you return!