And We’re Off….Vamanos!

The next stop on our quest for finding “our spot” is South America – specifically Colombia and Ecuador, where many expats have already found wonderful homes. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that last year we spent 4 months traversing the U.S. on the same quest.

We’ll be travelling for three months, trying to stay a minimum of a week in each of a number of different cities, including Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin, and Popayan (in Colombia), and Quito and Cuenca, at a minimum (in Ecuador). Along the way we’ll be visiting a number of organic and/or fairtrade agricultural communities; volunteering when we can.

So, logistics? Three months, altitudes ranging from sea level and a Caribbean climate to roughly 9000’ and rather chilly at night. We’ve got one rolling bag (High Sierra) and one small backpack (mine, Patagonia) apiece, which we hope will get lighter as we go along, giving up old paperbacks, some small gifts we brought along, and discarding clothing along the way. It’s said “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and though I’m not convinced, here are a couple of pics of the packing process:

All I'm taking, except the raincoat.

All I’m taking, except the raincoat.


It Fit, with lots of rolling!

It Fit, with lots of rolling!


Moments from Departure

Moments from Departure

I’ve worked hard at recalling Spanish from a long ago stint as an exchange student in Ecuador (yay, AFS!) courtesy of an app called “Duolingo.” And, we have 4 days of 2-3 hour Spanish lessons beginning the morning of our arrival. Don’t expect any blogging in Spanish though I may toss in the occasional “palabra” so you know I’m working on it!

The first two nights we’ll be at a small B&B called Churro de Queveda, and then we move to an airbnb in the same neighborhood of Candelaria, the historic center of Bogota. Nope, Bogota is not a candidate for our spot, but it is a great place to acclimate, learn a bit of Spanish, and enjoy some good food and culture before we move on. And with that, Buenos Noches de Colombia…

View from Churro de Queveda

View from Churro de Queveda

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California, Dreaming…

Gallery

This gallery contains 35 photos.

We’re going to just go ahead and put California on a permanent wish list of places to live, and that’s where it will probably stay.  Perhaps if we’d bought that old Victorian in the Haight back in 1981 for $135,000, … Continue reading

Practical Matters: A Place to Sleep

A well-spent day brings happy sleep.                                                                      Leonardo da Vinci

Ah, sleep!  Photos may be beautiful and my prose about the places we’re visiting I hope keeps you interested and maybe even thinking “I want to go there!”  – but let’s face it, we’re on a long long trip (Day 76!), and have to deal with everyday matters, such as – hmmm, where are we going to sleep tonight?

So, to get practical for a few minutes – we’re not on a limitless budget on this trip, so just how are we organizing a place to snooze when it gets dark?

Here’s the rough outline of our decision-making:

  1. If we have friends or family where we’re going, we ask them first if we can stay for a night or two (or three!)  Thank you, thank you to all of those who have hosted us on this journey! (L/B, E/S, J/S, R/C, L/B (not a mistake, there are 2!), C/C – you know who you are!) And, we look forward to reciprocating when we’ve figured out just where “ourspot” is, and have a place for you to bunk!
  2. If we’re headed through a national or state park, and the weather’s supposed to be fine (I am no longer a foul-weather camper), and we’re going to stay at least two nights (not worth putting the tent up for just one night), then, we’ll camp.
  3. No friends, family or camp?  We’ll probably check airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com), which we have enjoyed using over the past couple of years.  Check it out!
  4. If none of the above, we’ll research using Priceline (www.priceline.com/) or our remaining hotel points, and spend a night in a hotel/motel – of which we’ve seen the gamut on this trip so far.

STATS:  Over the first month of the trip, we spent 15 days with friends, 7 camping, 4 in airbnb homes, and 6 nights in hotels.  Haven’t yet had to sleep in the car nor bought an RV!  And are enjoying being part of what is called the “sharing economy.”  (For more on this, check out Tom Friedman’s recent editorial on this in the Sunday New York Times for July 20, 2014 – “Welcome to the Sharing Economy.”)

Off to Utah tomorrow…I know, I know, no word about our week in California and we’re already moving on.  Next blog, the Golden State!  Or perhaps, the challenges of posting blogs while on the road…