By Melanie Miller
Travel more! It is something people dream about and many hope to pursue. Every time I dream up a destination, plan the trip, and then get out there and make memories, I am always happy and never disappointed. Every trip leaves me wanting to explore more followed by romanticizing with friends about living a life that is one continuous field trip 🚌 How is it that often after a long and sometimes exhausting adventure, I crave to do more?
Must be wanderlust! The word originates from the German word wandern, which means to wander and lust means desire. Keep in mind that people with wanderlust don't necessarily need to go anywhere in particular, they just don't desire to stay in one spot.
During my recent trip to Ecuador, where some of my friends are living as expats, I realized that wanderlust occurs in groups. It is very catchy. What starts as a small, seemingly insignificant dream for one friend, eventually spreads among a group of friends and family members. Their common thread is having a pulse and an imagination. The dream, like a wildfire, takes off and soon has a life of its own; wild and free and looking for its next wind- driven ride. This pocket of friends that are now living abroad- are loving it! Almost had me convinced to sell all of my earthly goods and join their caravan of fun. Admittedly, I am still thinking about it.
About my month-long South American trip?! I visited 11 cities via planes, trains, and automobiles, was offered a horse for transportation somewhere along the way and realized after making it to one of the cities to pick up my rental car, that I should have learned how to drive manual in my teen years. I declined the quick lessons offered to me in the airport parking lot; thanks car rental service guy, would not have been a good plan.
Hotel Luna Runtun, Baños Ecuador
Every town was special, overflowed with character, and will forever be among my favorite travels. Especially Baños de Agua Santa. This small village in the middle of the Andes mountains took my breath away. Baños, in Spanish refers to baths, it is a city in the eastern Tungurahua province named for its dozens of waterfalls, hot springs, and rivers- it is one adventure after the next. The towns stunning setting and tranquil atmosphere made this town one of my top memorable travels.
Pictured above: Imbabura Volcano, Cotacachi
There were many volcanos in Ecuador. A noteworthy one, Chimborazo - highest mountain on Earth? You laugh and immediately think of Everest and the rest of the Himalayas. Well, I'm voting for the ice-capped inactive stratovolcano of Chimborazo. When measured from the Earth's center instead of at sea level, Ecuador's tallest peak is the point on Earth closest to outer space. That is, since Earth bulges outward at the Equator, mountains near this area are higher than mountains located in other areas. Chimborazo is at our planet's waistline, Everest is 28 degrees north. My apologies to those making the trek to Everest's summit currently if your goal is to reach the tallest peak.
Mount Chimborazo: 20,000 plus feet peak sitting atop of a bulge on the Earth.
Mount Everest: 29,000 plus feet peak sitting lower down on that same bulge on the Earth.
I love to travel because it effortlessly teaches us how small we truly are on this planet and that everyone, everywhere has a story. I will always be a student of people watching, with an eagerness to listen, observe and grow from each moment shared with a stranger.
I return home and am reminded to be thankful for what I have and not waste time concerned with what I lack.
Hope you guys are each starting your 2019 in ways that are important to you!
Pictured above: Guayaqill Ecuador
Pictured above: Baños