Cabins of Balcon del Lago with Lago San Pablo and Cerro Imbabura in the background.

Review: Balcon Del Lago Hostel Outside Otavalo, Ecuador

I awoke to the sound of children giggling as they skipped past my cabin on their way to school. I pushed my way out from under three heavy blankets, grateful for their warmth during the cold night, grabbed my glasses, and made my way to the large picture window.

I pushed back the curtains and looked out at the vista that would take my breath away this and every morning during my stay. I was on a hill overlooking the town of San Rafael de la Laguna, Ecuador. Just beyond the town, I could see the glassy Lago San Pablo, and towering protectively over its surroundings, the imposing Cerro Imbabura, the sacred protector of the region. The plan for today was Christmas shopping at Otavalo’s Saturday market. Another amazing day in Ecuador. 

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San Cristóbal lizard surveying his kingdom. Galápagos.

Galápagos Islands: San Cristóbal & Saying Goodbye

I was on my own again in San Cristóbal for an inner-island group tour with an English-speaking guide. Mockingbird Tours translation: a slightly awkward one-on-one tour of snorkeling spots with Danny, a very young guide with a better command of English than I have of Spanish (but, admittedly, the bar is low here).

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Old Corner Store in Bellefonte, Arkansas.

Travel Hacking – $61.60 for 11 Flights, Rental Car & Amtrak

This is the first of what I assume will be many posts drafted in an airport…continued on a plane…and finalized in a hotel. I’m typing out the first few words at Dallas Love Field as I wait for my hopefully-only-slightly-delayed connecting flight to Orlando.

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Galápagos Islands: Volcanoes, Baby Iguanas, & Isla Isabela

When Gav and I arrived at Puerto Villamil on Isla Isabela for our three-day/two-night tour, it didn’t take us long to realize something was amiss. We waited on the rapidly emptying pier, looking for expectant guides. Groups gathered and left, while I literally spun in circles, hoping for a clue. Luckily I persuaded a woman on the pier to call the number on my Mockingbird Tours receipt (seriously, people, bring this with you everywhere).

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Neighborhoods: 20 Pictures of Chinatown New York City

Chinatown is one of my favorite neighborhoods in New York City (map from Explore Chinatown, an organization that promotes Chinatown businesses). It’s one of the first New York City neighborhoods I visited, and it holds a special place in my heart.

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