Skip to main content

Posts

Choose Your Own Adventure

I cannot fall back asleep. Presently, it is 7:30am on a rainy Sunday in Northern Wales; my pants smell like a potent medley of grass clippings and dog shit, and my shirt is the same one I was wearing every other day on this trip. It has developed some holes. Or is it 10:00pm on a dark snowy night in the Swiss Alps, where I have just finished hauling firewood and am settling in for a less than restful sleep in a room which usually hovers around 45 degrees at night? Or maybe I am in Paris, trying to use the toilet, while water drips on my head from the broken water heater. Oddly, that last scene could have been in Belgrade or Bucharest, too. Europe needs to get a grip on their water heaters.

Actually, it isn't any of those. I am sitting opposite Jill in the steamy salon of a bouncing sailboat in the bay of a desolate island in The Sea of Cortez. As I marinate in my own sweat for the 15th day consecutively, I stare down at the brownish stains on the front of my pants. Is that oil, fi…
Recent posts

No Sharks Yet

I am writing from an anchorage at Isla Tiburón in the Sea of Cortez; we arrived here in the dark last night so today was day of exploring the bathwater-warm waters. We were blessed with the surprise of cell service--this was highly unexpected and is not under-appreciated. The last couple of days we've been out of range, using a "sat phone" service called Iridium to get weather updates and send bare-bones texts to family about where we are.

After leaving Phoenix in Andrew's parents' minivan, the trunk packed with their new main sail, our backpacks, and a couple of shopping bags full of items that are not easy to find outside of the US, we road tripped about eight hours down to San Carlos, Sonora. Galapagos was ready and waiting.


We stayed at the marina in San Carlos for three nights, which was mostly to wait out Mexico's big welcome gift to us: Hurricane Lorena. There was a bit of a flurry in the marina as folks storm-proofed their vessels as best they could,…

Big Leaps Coming Up

More than three hundred and forty days ago, we pulled out of the driveway to begin our trip; twelve countries later, and we are getting ready to head to our very last stop before we head home.

But our last month of travel doesn't exactly look like what one might call "winding down." First, we are somehow moving our bodies from the wild mountains of Ecuador back to the North American continent we call home, by means of a three-flight-and-an-overnight-layover journey. Our first flight takes us from Cuenca to the much bigger airport of Quito, and then (after killing time in one or more Priority Pass lounges, I'm sure) all the way to, you guessed it, Fort Lauderdale. For some reason, unless we wanted to spend a good $1,200 per person more, our only flight options--every single one--took us through the Fort Lauderdale airport. So for the first time since December, we'll find ourselves making our way across the United States border so we can spend the night at a beach…

Anniversaries and Equators

Looking at the calendar is kind of a surreal experience. First of all, days of the week haven't really mattered to us since we left last fall--even Workaways rarely run on a Monday-Friday schedule. (This lack of day-of-the-week-knowledge has slapped us in the face countless times. People ask, "Oh, so you're here until Thursday?" I have no idea, I only know I leave on the seventeenth!) Second of all, it's literally September now. How did that happen?

For real. Tomorrow, September 6th, is both the two-week mark since we touched down in Ecuador, and also eleven months since we hit the road on this trip entirely. We are 11/12ths of the way to the slightly nutty (and a little bit arbitrary) goal we wildly set for ourselves way back before we were engaged. [Insert very wide-eyed emojis]

Two weeks ago, Andrew's sister Claire and her husband Dan met us at the airport in Quito. Though it was entirely unplanned, we realized once we were in the taxi cab on the way to o…

Folks, We're Worn Out

About two weeks ago, our Workaway hosts Maria and Mateo had a family of twelve (plus the four of us, making it a group of sixteen) over for a late lunch party. This was the family of their house's new buyers, who will be moving into this little slice of heaven in November. Maria and Mateo have poured an incredible amount of love and work into this property that hardly had a livable dwelling on it 25 years ago, but after two and a half decades, they are passing it on to an enthusiastic clan who seem to be a perfect fit--and they themselves have a new property project they're working on about 5 minutes down the road.

At this gathering, I was sitting across the table from the sister and brother-in-law of the couple that bought this place, chatting about our trip. At one point, I was asked, "So what's it like traveling for so long?"

"Exhausting," I said lightheartedly, though it's a truthful answer. They seemed honestly surprised.

"Really? How?&qu…

Our Fab Five (of Workaway)

When we set out on this trip, we didn't have a goal for an "ideal" number of Workaway experiences, but now that we are a chunk of the way through our fifth, I think five is pretty perfect. It's not an even number, but there's more data to collect from than three, but it's also not so many that each stay's individual value gets fuzzy, you know?

But before I get ahead of myself, we left off in our last post in Barcelona. I want to finish painting that picture so you can see the appropriate contrast here.

We had a lovely time exploring Barcelona, of course. The architecture is fabulous and like nothing we'd seen yet in Europe, the weather was lovely, we drank sangria under an umbrella near the beach and tried the famous vermouth cocktails with our tapas. The enjoyable bits, however, were exclusively reserved for out of the house moments--our selected Airbnb, which was nearly the only thing we could get in our price range (getting to the end here, people…