Epilogue, A Month In and a New Group

Trip Start Oct 29, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Ecuador  , Pichincha,
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So here I am one month in to it all – November 29th.This is usually the point of a trip when I am heading back home but instead i am stil here in Quito. The group from the Avenue of the Volcanoes trip all departed last weekend back to the UK and I have had a few days to reflect on everything so far.

First of all, the thing I am noticing the most is how much this travelling on your own malarky really does make every single experience and every since emotion become heightened. This is in one sense brilliant but then in another sense really quite unhelpful.   I have had the most incredible time over the last month, first of all with Helen in Sao Paulo and then with the group on the Avenue of the Volcanoes trip. I think I have been a bit scared that the rest of the big adventure will not be able to compare to eveything so far and I won't meet as amazing people as those I have met so far.

Before I came away I thought that when you do travel on your own that it would make you a bit more independent, but I’m starting to notice that you do actually really rely on others around you so much more than ever. That hit me hugely on Saturday when the bulk of the group headed off on the bus to the airport and it was back to little old me, in a taxi was heading off into the unknown again and all by myself. I missed everyone incredibly then (old and new friends).

It also didn’t help because I had been let down hugely by my leatherman (it’s a type of pen knife). I was happily settling down on Saturday night to an evening of catching up on Strictly Come Dancing on t’internet and was even going to incorporate in some research for mine and Helen’s Christmas trip to Mendoza in Argentina by trying some of the red wine from the region (it’s all about careful planning folks). This is supposed to be the top of the range type of knife. You can use it to repair your 4 wheel drive when lost in the outback,  you can use it to help you survive for months on the end with just a few berries and some mushrooms like Bear Grylls. You can even use it to amputate your arm as it’s stuck under a 12 tonne boulder after 127 hours stuck in a canyon somewhere in Utah. But has it got a corkscrew on it !!!! No !!! So an addition to my book, "Gap years for people who are bordering on being anal, have obviously created a spreadsheet for the trip and with a perchant for putting things in zip Lock bags and money bags" will be a chapter on suitable tools for the trip with appropiate wine bottle opening implements.  

But then panic over - just under 48 hours later I was back with a group of lovely people as I had met up with the new group for the Galapagos trip (and more importantly had got a corkscrew). This one is going to be very different to the Avenue of the Volcanoes as there are only 7 of us, and to be honest at the moment there are only 5 of us who are really hanging around together.

There are three other couples on the trip, but at the moment I am spending my time with the scarily knowledgeable Jake and Caroline and the lovely Italians,  (who as well as being knowledgeable speak fluent English, an amazing amount of Spanish – oh and a bit of French of German) Marco and Paula.Will update you on the other couple in a few days, needless to say - late 50's, from Bradford and he has already told me three times about why you now cannot fly from Leeds-Bradford to London Heathrow with BMI because Lufthansa has taken all of the routes, hence why they went via Amsterdam with KLM. Oh and yes Heathrow has 5 terminals.

We’ve had a very unexciting trip to the Botantical Gardens (Kew Gardens shouldn’t be worried), and last night had an amazing meal in one of the best restaurants in Quito – Swordfish was to die for and the wine list was on an ipad !! Even better was the fact that there wasn’t a panpiped rendition of Guantanamera or El Condor flippin’ Pasa to be heard. Today I did another city tour of Quito (with a few different bits to the one two weeks ago – thank God) and then have spent several hours planning for later in the big adventure and then trying to get this blog done.

Tomorrow morning nice and early we finally fly off to the Galapagos Islands (and finally back to sea level where hopefully I can finally shift this stupid cold) and begin our 8 day cruise.

So my next update should hopefully be just over a week (can’t leave it this long again – these updates over the last few days have nearly killed me - yes I could make them shorter!. It doesn’t actually help that I’m a perfectionist Virgo who is just a little bit terrified about writing about myself – give me a powerpoint on’ the regeneration of dockland areas’to write any day over all of this.
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Linda Ivatts on

Phew - Millie & I are so pleased you've got the corkscew problem sorted! We were just beginning to google to see if there was a UPS cargo flight that would meet up with your cruise! Enjoy x

Caroline W on

Looks like you had an amazing time with a great group of people in the mountains...but what we really want to know is...have you eaten guinea pig yet?? and if so what wine goes best (or did you not find out due to corkscrew issue?)
I sat at my desk today looking at your photos and was jealous beyond words!

William Ramsay Chalmers on

Fantastic blog whatever that is. I find it fasinating and it gives a real view of the trials and tribulations.
Keep your chin up.

Mother might be a bit worried about your alcohol inclinations must be nurture not nature. Your corkscrew tale hinted that there may have been a bit of desperation. if you find yourself in this position again I suggest you buy screw top or push the cork into the bottle with a suitable implement. Not that stupid knife. Or get a bucket smash bottle and strain.

Lots of love

Off to work tomorrow 16 days left.

Catherine McCarthy on

I'm loving your blog Liz, your amazing adventures are making feeding and nappies seem a little mundane! Great advice from Bill on the wine bottle crisis, I'm wasn't familiar with the "smash and sieve" technique but needs must.

Take care and keep up the great work on the blog xxx

Jim on

Top stuff Liz, you encapsulated the trip pretty darned well. I wish I was back there now. Look forward to seeing you in Rio!

Mum on

What a fantastic trip. Hope the next one is as good. Watch out for them damn Komodo dragons. Rather you than me. Lots of love

Marg on

You seem to be having a good time - it does'nt seem much like a holiday to me!! my poor old knees would'nt take all that walking and rock climbing!! but keep going. Am getting into this blog thing so keep it going. x

Anne on

Excellent blog Liz-had a real giggle reading it -even though I was there for half of it! Looking forward to more....

Linda W on

Well I can't wait for the next installment, I have really enjoyed catching up with you, and its been great, enjoy the cruise

Love Linda

John on

Love it Liz - brought the Volcano climbing memories back to life :) looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

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