Overall, we’ve tried to toe the line, bringing enough for most, but not all situations. Andrea and I even brought our bags on hikes in Seattle to get a feel for what life would be like with so many or so few things.
There are things no one really tells you about traveling. In most blogs or travel websites you can find stories about great adventures, breathtaking scenery, language learning, making friends, getting to know new cultures, etc., but rarely does one read about the challenges that come with a nomadic life.
I highly recommend Peru to vacationers if you’re willing to fly domestically. Longer-term travelers can easily spend a month or two exploring.
Cuba is a blast from the past, but be ready before you go. It really is a world stuck in another time and it’s best to do your homework.
As the hours turned into days, I grew used to the silence. I started to like my thoughts and I enjoyed spending time focused on my body. I thought I might feel lonely, but I had myself and that was more than enough.
So what does it feel like to hike at 5,000 meters? Slow, mostly. We were all breathing much more heavily than normal and Andrea got hit with a big headache. At one point, Andrea even said that she felt drunk: she was processing information more slowly, felt uncoordinated (try to put foot in one place, her foot ends up somewhere slightly different), and couldn’t think straight.
We’ve traveled all of Colombia from north to south by bus, taken wrong turns, and felt the hairs on the back of our necks stand up more than once, but, so far, besides the occasional rip-off at a store, we have been blessed with a problem-free trip.
When we crossed from Colombia, we immediately noticed we were deep in the Andes. Andrea and I found that we suddenly towered above most people in the immigration line, but quickly realized our height was no advantage when it came to tackling hills and mountains at altitude. We constantly reveled in seeing lamas and alpacas walking the streets and had our breath taken away by the stark mountain views.
We love the change, the challenge, and the variety that comes with constantly being on the move, but we do occasionally miss knowing our way around. Stumbling upon this family-run restaurant in Quito helped us feel grounded. We found comfort in their food and their company and felt truly welcomed. Sometimes what seem like the most banal, everyday moments, like having breakfast, can become some of the most powerful memories, if you’re open to it.
Traveling is all about new things. New places, new faces, new foods, new languages, new weather, new bus systems. Traveling with family is about spending time together, taking in all these new things, and grounding them in the familiar. It’s about taking the time away from your regular lives to connect, share experiences, and enjoy. After several months of wandering around Latin America, I really appreciated the chance to be “at home” for a few days.