I have just over a week now until I depart on an 15 hour flight to Quito (via Madrid) for the beginning of my Latin America adventure, yet for me it still feels like a distant dream. Even though I have spent the last week making my final preparations, I still feel like I am doing all this for someone else, and that I am planning some other lucky bugger’s travels and not my own. Even with my tickets, foreign currency, yellow fever certificate, almost daily correspondances with the in country advisor, Gaby, and the fact that I am quitting my job in just 5 days, I cannot convince my brain that I am going! It is all very bizarre and has crept up on me out of the blue!
In other news, since I last updated, Marcus has booked his tickets to come visit me in Ecuador for just under 3 weeks! It will be so nice to see him and will make the departure less difficult as it is only 4 weeks until I will see him again. We did originally plan to go to the Galapagos, however we found that this is too expensive for the time being (and an excuse to return to Ecuador!) so Marcus and I are researching visiting Southern Colombia instead. We can take a 5 hour bus from Quito to the border crossing and hopefully find out what it is like crossing land borders in another continent! I am excited, as I have only been to the very touristy Cartagena in the north before and would like to see some of Colombia proper. Most people seem conviced I will be kidnapped by a drug lord however!
I also, foolishly, popped into Stanfords* today, and was thus lured in by the 3 for 2 offer on travel books…I now however, have a collection to take with me and read in the evenings in the sanctuary where they have warned us that there will be nothing to do (but I can think of worse places than the Amazon Rainforest to have nothing to do!!!) I ended up buying Paul Theroux’s Patagonian Express, about his travels from North America to far South America which is practically my adventure but in reverse and going further each way….I had a look at all his books today, I am so jealous, that man has TRAVELLED!! I also got Micheal Palin’s New Europe, mainly so I can read about his thoughts on Transdniestr, and read about the other places we travelled to this summer. I also got a book by a new author to me, Alexander Frater, as an experiment. His book is called Tales from the Torrid Zone: Travels in the Deep Tropics, and is about him visiting every country on the Ecuator which looks really good! I also came to realise, just like I enjoy doing in real life, I like books that are about journeys rather than someone staying in one place, I love to hear of adventures with border crossings and of changing scenery. Oddly, up until recently, I hadn’t read any travel books in years! Chancing accross my new hero, Paul T, he has made me realise something I should have realised over 10 years ago when one summer at the tender age of 11, I read with ferocity, every single Bill Bryson book written. I should have known travel books and writing were to be my true calling then, but at the time I just thought it was the author that had interested me, now I know it is the subject.
This also inspired me today, to buy a note book to record my own travels in so that I can hopefully get started on my own book some day!
*For those not familiar with Stanfords, is a Travel and Map bookshop in Covent Garden in London, it is over 150 years old and is also the biggest shop in the world that specialises in travel books. In the past, Bill Bryson and Micheal Palin themselves have visited as well as even more impressively, Ernest Shackleton, David Livingston and Scott of the Antarctic, the original explorers!!!! So you can see why it is my favourite place ever 🙂