Tag Archives: ecuador

Chasing My Wanderlust

I hope you enjoy the chronicles of my adventure, my stories and my observations.

More importantly I hope it encourages you to chase your wanderlust. No matter where it takes you, or for how long.


I finished packing mere hours before the car service was to pick me up and take me to New York’s JFK airport. I had time for a pedicure and some last-minute phone calls.

The first chance I had to catch my breath was as I readied myself to walk out the door of my apartment on 24 January. I was full of emotions and had some semblance of dual-personality disorder.

What was I doing? I can’t wait to land in Buenos Aires. I miss the boyfriend already. Do I have my passport? Is this the right thing to do? I can’t wait to be in summertime. Holy crap, I am really doing this! I still don’t know where I am sleeping tomorrow night. What in the world awaits me? Did I get to say ‘see you later’ to everyone?

Too late. The car service called to let me know the driver was downstairs. I called the boyfriend one last time, shut off my cell phone, shut the door sans keys and set off for an adventure!

I hope you join me as I relive it through stories and photos here on my blog!

I didn’t start packing until the morning of my departure


I mean I had written out my packing list, I had gone shopping and I had been collecting all the things I was planning to pack. I simply used my backpack as storage for these items.

When I say ‘used my backpack as storage’ I literally mean, I threw stuff in as I acquired it.

I just didn’t really try actually folding and packing everything until the morning of. Oops.

Since I was packing the morning of my departure, it was an ‘as is’ situation.

For example, I couldn’t find my adaptor for Argentine voltage. Would need to put a converter on the packing list. Could every back up toiletry fit in my quart-size Ziploc bag since I did not want to check my bag? Of course not. Did I forget my toothbrush because I was so crazed the morning of? Yup. What about the cord to upload photos from your camera to your computer? You guessed it, I forgot that too.

In retrospect, did I really need those toiletries I left behind? Nope. There are <gasp> stores that sell similar products at a quarter of the price in every country I visited in South America.

It’s not so much that what you are doing is particularly dangerous

I think this is an appropriate post today. The 24th is significant. It was the day in January I left, and it was the day in March I returned.The 24th of May is significant because I have now been back on US soil as long as I was gone.The time back on US soil has largely not been in my own home so I am still settling in. I have loads of friends I have yet to catch up with. I have had to revise my answers to similar questions, not because I am not sure of the answer, but because there are so many stories to tell and I don’t want to regurgitate the same ones!Where does one even begin? I knew once I started writing that part would be easy. The stories and the photographs speak for themselves. It was where to start that was difficult.I have decided that a good place to start is here. At the beginning. Or the end. However you want to look at it.Before I left I received the email below from a friend of my sister. Well, I should say she is my friend too. My sister happened to meet her first. We have very similar personalities. No wonder my sister, J, took to P so well.P sent me this email before I left but because I was so crazed with preparations I didn’t get a chance to read it until I was on the road. I did not realize the impact until I was traveling.

I cannot count the number of times I reread this motivational email on my trip (when I actually had an internet connection).


Hi there,

I’m sure if you had calmed down or if you are back to freaking out.  There is something about quitting your job without having another that is akin to a leap of faith.  Jumping off a cliff without surveying the water below.  I’ve felt that and the uncertainty that comes along with it, so I get it if you are all nerves.  I hope you are mostly excited, though.

I just wanted to write you before you leave and tell you how completely jealous I am.  I’ve been thinking about you this last week while I trudge through the misery of daily life/work and I admire your bravery.  It’s not so much that what you are doing is particularly dangerous, but I think that choosing to travel solo is a brave and uncommon thing (for most people).  It’s going to be such an amazing experience.  I wish I were as brave as you because even if I had the money I can’t say that I would be able to get up the nerve to travel around a foreign continent on my own.  Even though I secretly long to!

I hope that you have the time of your life!  Once you are back let’s secretly plan to ambush J with a trip of sorts…even if we have to bind, gag and carry her away in the night to do it.

Safe travels!



And I’m back on US soil

Just need to get myself situated. I also need to see if I can read my notes scrawled in notebooks while on bumpy bus rides 😉

All you need to know is that my adventure was absolutely amazing. Leaving for South America was by far the best decision I have ever made.

If you want to know why, you’ll have to stay tuned for my stories, observations and thoughts.

To put on the top of my to do list: Figure out when I can go back to visit the friends I made, see all that I missed and return to the places I loved.

And if you need help planning a trip to Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador, I think I can make you a pretty sweet itinerary in any of those places!

Who Else Does This?

Now that I have made my big announcement, you may be wondering what inspired me.

First, I was always so jealous of people that I met on my travels who were traveling longer than ten days or two weeks at ‘normal’ intervals of vacation time. I had written about meeting an Italian who said it’s our (Americans) fault for not standing up to get more than two weeks of vacation time.

Second, there is a very inspiring community of bloggers. The people listed below, whether they know it or not, helped me tremendously with research and further inspiration for my upcoming adventure in South America!

This is not the be all end all of blogs I have read to prepare and loosely plan my trip. But, some of the names below may be familiar to my parents, sister and the boyfriend as I sent daily email barrages full of links with great reading material.

If you still think I am crazy for quitting my job to travel, you will see that I have plenty of good company.

Since I love to make lists, here it is, in ABC order:

Warning: If you have even the teensiest bit of wanderlust, reading any of these blogs will up that wanderlust tremendously!

A Little Adrift – Shannon has gone RTW a few times and is currently traveling SE Asia with her 11 year old niece.

Bacon is Magic – Ayngelina traveled solo throughout South America for 18 months. She has been a huge inspiration for me. When I read her writing, I feel like she has taken the words out of my mouth.

Hole in the Donut – Diagnosed with Lyme Disease, Barbara says that she was ‘solid on the outside, but empty on the inside.’ Determined to find joy in life, she left with a backpack to see the world.

Johnny Vagabond – Wes goes around the world ‘low and slow’ – he is currently in Latin America.

Katie Going Global – Katie, a former lawyer, left Chicago to explore the former countries of the Soviet Union. She left in August 2011 for a year.

Legal Nomads – Another former lawyer, Jodi photographs and eats her way around the world, most notably in and around Asia.

Lost Girls World – Three New Yorkers in their twenties who left for a year around the world. Amanda, one of the Lost Girls, has been a huge resource for my questions!

Married With Luggage – Betsy and Warren sold nearly everything they owned and have been on the road for over a year. They are currently in Thailand.

Nomadic Matt – Matt started with a one year RTW that morphed into an 18 month trip, and has now had him on the road for over five years.

Otts World – Sherry calls herself a ‘corporate cube dweller turned nomadic traveler,’ also a co-founder of Meet Plan Go.

Rainer Jenss – Rainer, his wife and two young boys visited 28 countries in one year. Rainer is the one that introduced me to the Meet Plan Go group and has been a huge supporter of my plan even when I was torn between two continents!

Solo Traveler Blog – Janice traveled solo in her twenties and she’s doing it again. Her story is bittersweet but answers the question, if not now, when.

The Frugal Traveler – Seth ‘seeks first-class living at steerage prices.’ His is the Frugal Traveler blog from the New York Times.

Wandering Earl.com – Earl’s blog was one of the first I found. He left in 1999 for a post-graduation trip that was supposed to last three months. He’s been on the road for over 12 years.

World Travel for Couples.com – I found WTFC early on in the process when I was trying to convince the boyfriend to do this with me. Adam and Megan are a married couple who completed a RTW, and are still married 🙂

It’s Officially Official!

An abridged version of the email I sent to friends and family alerting them of my upcoming plan, or lack thereof: 

I have been contemplating the idea of quitting my job to travel throughout South America.Yesterday I did it.Yesterday I resigned from my job so I can travel throughout South America for two months.

Yes, seriously. I can’t believe it either. I’m very excited but if I am being totally honest you should know that my heart is pounding, I’m a tiny bit nauseous and my hands are shaking as I prepare to hit send on this email.

While my heart is speed-racing, you might have a few questions. Here are the answers:
  • I have not gone insane.
  • I know the economy is bad.
  • The boyfriend and I are still very much together.

Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador have made the short list.

I don’t have a solid travel plan, nor do I want one. This is a lot of ground to cover, so we’ll see where the wind takes me. If I love a place, I will stay longer. If I don’t, I will leave.

I have a general route I would like to follow but my itinerary will be dictated by what I want to do and see*, and recommendations I get from other travelers on the road.

Now that my plan is public knowledge (read: I gave my notice to my job) I feel comfortable sharing my planning process and how I came to this decision.

In recent weeks I have learned far too much about quick-dry travel towels, travel insurance and mosquito repellant. I’ve also learned that there are a lot of different kinds of locks. I have learned how to properly pack a rucksack (shoes do not go on the bottom) and I have kind of fallen in love with Amazon.com. I can also reveal which vaccination made me feel the worst (it shocked me too) and other fun facts.

While I am on the road I will be blogging but I will not be updating every day as I did in 2011. Writing once a day was my New Year’s resolution for 2011. I have new resolutions for 2012.

If you want to follow my journey, there are a few ways. You can enter your email on the site and you can decide if you want daily or weekly updates. You can like ‘Simply Three Cents’ on Facebook or you can follow @SmplyThreeCents on Twitter, though I anticipate I will be using it mostly for travel advice. You can choose one, or any combination.

I depart soon. Like January 24 soon.

If you can, come say bon voyage. Or more like buen viaje.

Saturday, January 21
Pilsener House


* Pending situations that are out of my control such as weather (washed out roads) and protests (blocked roads).