It has started and I don’t know how to stop it.
Right when my host mum said, “I’m going to miss you when you’re gone,” my entire semester started packing up and moving out despite my pleading and heel-digging.
Five months is a very short amount of time to be in Ecuador. Even though the country is the size of Colorado, there are so many volcanoes, cloud forests and indigenous communities to explore that weekend trips line up and jump out like they were queued for a bungee jump.
Which is really fun, by the way.
And so is biking through mountains, or sleeping in rainforest caves, or zip lining over cloud-frosted canopies. I cherish these memories, but as my time here ebbs away I find myself worrying about how many more memories I will be able to make.
It’s turned into a game of quantifying: how many more cities can I see, how many thousands of feet can I climb, how far can I stretch myself.
I’m realizing, though, that I’m too busy to think about busying myself. If I have free time, I hop on a bus and find another volcano. If I have to stay in Quito, I catch a museum trip and talk some Spanish with my host mom. The only “waste of time” is thinking about how I’m wasting my time; the rest is just the labor of appreciating what’s in front of me.
And when I think about it like that, I’m not as nervous about leaving Ecuador.
Whatever travels I will be doing in the future—whether they’re in South America, South Boston, or whatever—will always be an experience of some kind or another. I’m not planning on leaving adventuring in the rainforest.
Of course I won’t forget Ecuador (I couldn’t even if I wanted to), but I won’t hold onto the memory so hard that I can’t appreciate what’s in front of me, either.
Every step we take, after all, is just another footprint down yet another trail.
To read more about Tyler’s adventures, please click here.