80 Days On A Budget
80 Days On A Budget
My childhood was filled with stories of travel. From reading "Around the World in 80 Days" to watching Jane swing on jungle vines in "Tarzan", I craved the ability to see sights unseen.
Now, thanks to proper planning, a little imagination and cheap airlines, I can! My rules: travel light and be ready for anything. A favorite trip of mine included a flight to Ecuador; a country that promised natural beauty and hidden culture. I bought a cheap ticket through a small airline, which was a blessing and a curse.
The price was well within my budget, but I got what I paid for. My flight was 14 hours with 3 layovers and 5 stops, not to mention they lost my luggage, and when you plan on living in a rainforest for 2 months, your bag is not an easy thing to live without.
With or without my bag though, I was ready for anything (remember my rules) and my adventure was about to begin.
The next two months were full of beautiful sights: waterfalls, exotic animals, tribes of people and a heart warming experience. I lived in huts, hostels, even 5 star hotels for just pennies a night. The meals were multiple courses, including rice, fresh meat (as in that chicken was alive this morning), vegetables, fresh juice, the best coffee and even things I had never heard of!
The cacao fruit grows in Ecuador, which is a brain-looking fruit with an inside that looks like grapes. Inside of each "grape" is a bean that they make chocolate out of. I was amazed that a $500 airline ticket had gotten me this kind of experience: chopping down my own chocolate fruit with a machete and eating it right in the middle of the Amazon rain forest. Could it get any better?
My travels also lead me to the equator, where I was told I weighed a bit less due to forces well above my knowledge. This excited me to know I wouldn't have to worry about all of that chocolate from the jungle! Along with the equator, I also visited some other tourist sites such as Banos (Spanish for "bathroom", which I never understood), a large market full of hand made goods that represent the Ecuadorian culture. This includes woven good such and handbags, shirts, scarves and more, as well as jewelry, instruments, knives and spears made by tribes, and even street food delicacies such as guinea pig. I was told that the people of Ecuador would keep guinea pigs in their house to warn them of evil spirits... as well as to eat! I never brought myself to eat one, but from what I hear, "it tastes like chicken".
My days started to count down and my travels were about to come to a close after 2 months, which in the beginning, seemed as if it would take forever, but in the end felt like it went by in a flash. Thankfully on my way home, the airline had me on a much shorter flight that included less stops and layovers. All in all, I was very pleased that I got to have a taste of "80 Days".