October Update: Back in Action!

October 1, 2011 - Congratulations to Devin & Mandi Watkins!
October 1, 2011 - Congratulations to Devin & Mandi Watkins!

October is the month that started it all the first time around and now, 2 years deeper, it’s the month that brought me back to South America for a brand new T2T mission.

The first day of the month began with an incredible celebration at one of my best friend’s weddings in Upstate New York. The last day of the month ended with an incredible Norwegian, a rocking nightclub and lots of Zhumir (Cuenca’s liquor of choice).

I loved my time back in the States this summer but I couldn’t be happier being back on the road and chasing my dreams.

Old Town in Quito, Ecuador
The beautiful Old Town in Quito, Ecuador (this photo wasn't color corrected at all)

OCTOBER RECAP

  • I landed in Quito, Ecuador on October 5th where I spent a week cruising around the beautiful historic old town and trying to avoid being mugged at night. (first impressions here)
  • From Quito, I had the opportunity to visit South America’s largest Market in Otavalo and mountain bike down one of the world´s largest active volcanoes in Cotopaxi.
  • After Quito, I spent a week in Baños, Ecuador enjoying the laid-back town and the heart pumping adventure sports that lay just beyond it’s borders.
  • I went white-water rafting, swam beneath waterfalls with a group of Spaniards and conquered one of my biggest fears by bungee jumping off a 100-meter bridge.
  • From Baños, I took an unexpected detour in Puyo, Ecuador where I decided to spend a week volunteering at a Monkey Rescue Center on the outskirts of the rainforest. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I am going to find a way to start raising money for their cause via T2T. They could use the help. (Much more on this coming soon)
Paseo los Monos in Puyo, Ecuador - Monkey Rescue Center
Lunch with Locals. Townie Status at the Monkey Rescue Center in Puyo, Ecuador
  • After a week of monkey business I headed south to Cuenca, Ecuador for a weeklong Independence celebration, the biggest party of the year in Cuenca.
  • With friend and fellow travel-blogger, Ryan, we took Cuencana nightlife by the horns and survived a 5-day bender with only a few minor causalities.
  • The festivities during the day were pretty nice too (so they say).
  • In the process I made a few new Ecuadorian friends, one of who is putting on the full-court press for me to stay in Cuenca for the long haul.
  • T2T Tip: You know it’s time to move on when the only words she knows in English is “I love you.” #pumpthebrakes 

OCTOBER OBSTACLE

The morning I arrived in Cuenca my 4-year-old Mac Book Pro decided he didn’t want to live the digital nomad lifestyle anymore and shut down permanently. Luckily, there is an authorized Mac dealer here in Cuenca who diagnosed my computer as dead and helped me purchase a new one. The cost of Macs down here is more expensive than in the States ($400+) so I had to weigh the options of buying here vs. getting one from home.  It was nearly a 2-week process of research and peppering the Mac store clerks with security, language and usage questions before I decided on the new Mac Book Pro 15”.  I was able to negotiate a price of $2,700, which had an original price tag of $3,200 ($2,199 in the US) and they included the new Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Studio and Office for free. Now I just need to purchase good insurance for it!

*NEW PLAN/MISSION*

I have thought long and hard about how to maximize the current 7-month adventure in South America and how to best leverage my current mission of volunteering in Bolivia. With some great advice and an opportunity that has solidified, I think I’ve come up with a new plan.

My goal is to spend October in Ecuador and (the majority of) November and December in Peru before heading to Bolivia in January to begin volunteering. There are so many places I want to experience in Peru, including Peruvian cooking classes!

If everything goes as planned I will be in Sucre, Bolivia by January 8th to begin working with Biblioworks.org on building libraries and educational programs for villages around Sucre.

Education is something I’m very passionate about and I can’t wait to get my hands dirty for a great cause.

What’s to come in November?

  • I’m heading to the beaches of Mancora, Peru this weekend. Maybe I’ll take some surf lessons?
  • Then to Tujillo for a few days to checkout the ruins of Chan Chan
  • Start taking some cooking classes in Lima, Peru

Upcoming Posts:

  • Mitad del Mundo – The Equator in Ecuador
  • Whitewater Rafting in Baños, Ecuador
  • You Are What You Create – I need to jump off that bridge
  • An inside look at life at the Monkey Rescue Center in Puyo, Ecuador

GET INVOLVED.

 

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!

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