As the sun rose, I was filled with a simple, unqualified joy. I inhaled, exhaled, and said thank you for the day, for the chance to be there, and to be alive.
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.
We’ve learned that we can’t go 100% all the time. It’s important to take time now and again for a “personal admin day” when we have lots to do or a “spontaneous weekend” when we’re just plain tired.
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 fell in love in Colombia during our short visit and are confident you will too. From the massive Arvi Park in Medellin, to the impressive presidential palace in Bogota, to this hidden church by the Ecuador border, we were never bored and were constantly meeting friendly people.
We laughed, and laughed, and then laughed some more. I am still a bit dumbstruck at how easy it is to press pause and play with good friends. Time passes by and sometimes you don’t see each other for years, but when you press play again, it’s as if no time has gone by.
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.
Although it’s no one’s travel dream to spend a night being jostled around on a bus, we’ve found it kills a few birds with one stone: it’s a great way to cover some serious ground (at least 10 hours of travel), get (some) sleep, and avoid paying for a night at a hostel.
Whether we’re huddled together at a bus station making a game plan, at the beach, or in a nice hostel, we always have our phones handy. We’re using Android phones and these are the apps we just can’t travel without.