Do you ever fall in love with a place then, when it comes to planning your next trip, struggle with the decision of returning or exploring somewhere new? This is a constant conversation in our house. We always want to explore the world and experience new cultures, but then there are those memories - sharing a bottle of red wine on warm stone steps overlooking ancient Rome; jumping off a 20-foot cliff into the clear water and swimming to the next cove to do it all over again; hiking along the narrow ridge of a volcanic crater surrounded by wild hydrangeas with the ocean on one side and a lake on the other - that we just want to go back and do all over again.
One foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breathe out.
We don't talk much. It's nearly impossible to find the air required for polite conversation at this altitude and with this incline. Instead we walk, one foot at a time, hearts racing, heads pounding, lungs burning. Silently encouraging one another to continue the climb to our first night of camp at 14,000 feet.
We’re two of eleven people, crammed in the back row of a 1990’s grey minivan cruising down the Pan-American Highway. Sitting sideways and grasping onto the seat in front of us as the van slams over potholes, we watch the sandy desert roll by. With the blue ocean on the horizon, we get further from the Ecuador-Peru border and closer to the small beach town of Mancora. Wiggling our toes to encourage blood flow in our squished legs, we glance at each other, a silent acknowledgement that after more than six months of travel, we still enjoy these uncomfortable moments. And how can we not? We’re out of the Andes (meaning the van is moving faster than 35mph and in a straight line), the sun is shining, we’re in a new country and we’re beach bound. Life is good.
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