As I sit down and write about my future travel plans I can’t help but laugh when realizing how much things have changed since the first time I was in Quito. When I first arrived at this Andean capital I was just a couple months removed from my university studies, in South America on a working vacation, and completely committed to returning to grad school. I had dreams of travelling the world, yes. But always assumed it would be under the capacity of some other work opportunity.
When I first arrived in Quito, I’ll be honest, I had no real desire in visiting the Galapagos Islands. I saw them as a tourism spot that catered to the rich, or at least wealthier than me. Sure the Galapagos Islands sounded interesting to me, but perhaps my knowledge of them was low. Why would I spend a good chunk of coin to fly to some islands because Darwin learned about evolution by watching finches? Would I travel to the spot that Benjamin Franklin got struck by lightning, or would I try to find the tree that Newton was struck on the head with that famous apple? Not a Chance. But the Galapagos Islands, as I’m learning in my research, are different.
Over two years later and oh how things have changed so drastically. I have now visited basically every major destination in Latin America. I have been to Quito no less than 8 different times, and I built a growing desire to visit the Galapagos. I have also built a growing guilt for acting like a travel snob, and for knowing so little about one of the most important ecological destinations on the planet.
Today I have boarded a plane to the islands in order to board the HW Darwin as a part of a tour with my good friends Gecko’s Adventures, and I couldn’t be more excited about the trip. Not only will the photo opportunities be abundant but this is a chance to view species of animals not found anywhere else on the planet. The Galapagos Islands, it appears, are a one of a kind travel destination offering a unique experience to those who make the journey.
I feel, in many ways, that the Galapagos are my final destination in South America. I have been here for well over 800 days having previously planned on spending a year. I am confident now in saying that I have seen the vast majority of things I wanted to here. I have immersed myself completely in this continent’s culture, language, and history. I feel proud about the things I accomplished here, I feel proud of what I learned, and I feel privileged to have been given all that this continent has given to me. In the New Year I will be announcing the next stage in my adventure, one that will again offer, I’m sure, it’s challenges, rewards, and opportunities for growth and a better understanding of our world.
I will be on board the HW Darwin for 8 days and 7 nights (check out my Galapagos Itinerary here). I am not sure if I will have internet at my disposal or not so as such I have set up a couple of guest posts that will go out while I am away. I hope you enjoy them and that you wont miss me too much.