There are all kinds of travelers out there. Some form traveling communities with people they have just met and migrate from place to place in peaceful loving herds. They watch each other’s backs and prop each other up. These are some of the most laid-back people on the planet. Other travelers wander from place to place carrying a notebook. They are quizzical and approach strangers without hesitation to pick their brains. If there is a language barrier involved they will figure out how to get around it. There are those fashionable or trendy travelers who move to their own music and tend to pull others to them like magnets. And then there are people who stand back and watch how the world works. They feel like strangers in new surroundings, strangers even to themselves, and worry a good deal about looking stupid or uncomfortable because that is exactly how they feel.
I would not normally consider myself a timid person. In a familiar situation, I am just the opposite. I walk quickly, laugh loudly, and ask a lot of questions. I am blunt and rarely get embarrassed, stating things like “No thank you, grapes give me gas” without missing a beat. I make it a point to remember people’s names and will cross a street to help someone who looks like they are lost or confused because I myself hate being lost and confused. I will walk them to where they need to go. I will sit right next to them on a coach. I will ask to try their pasta and then offer them a bite of mine because it is so stinkin delicious. We will likely correspond for years to come.
But take me out of my comfort zone, like to Ecuador where my husband and I have recently moved, and I shrivel up like a sad little prune. All of that energy and confidence just disintegrates and I find myself lurching out of people’s way on the sidewalks and murmuring “Lo Siento” in horrible Spanish with flushed cheeks. In restaurants, my eyes skim the menu like a scared rabbit and that is when I quickly point to a random item written in a language I don’t yet read and mumble “Por favor.” When the waiter leaves with an amused expression, I hang my head.
It is no secret that traveling can be intimidating. I myself have never been much of a traveler and I have recently married a wonderful person who has also never been much of a traveler. One of many major differences between the two of us is that my husband has a passionate desire to travel. While I’ve always thought that it would be a highly worthwhile experience, I never imagined that I would actually be brave enough to try it. But behold! The stars aligned and we had the opportunity to try something new and so we took it. Who cares that we’re two unemployed, blond-haired, fair-skinned country bumpkins from rural Wyoming. He said “What do you think?” and I said “You bet.”
We are beginning our journey in Cuenca, Ecuador where the city’s population of 500,000 people is roughly that of the entire state from which we’ve recently sprung. Ye-haw. Our plan is to continue traveling through South America for the next two years to visit Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. As I have mentioned, neither of us can speak Spanish or has much experience traveling. But Ryan is good at research and I have a travel wig and a willing attitude. During this time, it is my goal to become a less timid traveler. Wherever I am, I want to feel like I belong there. I want to find a way to make a home away from home in any way that I can, for Ryan, but more importantly, for myself.
Wide world. Here I come. Hola!
24 Responses to Introduction
Great start to the new adventure. your honesty Is your strength. Looking forward to your posts.
Thanks Mom! So glad you're reading. Love you.
Manda! I love it! I feel like I was there with you- thank you for sharing! !!!! You are being so brave- im very proud of you! LOOK OUT WORLD- HERE SHE COMES!!!! 🙂 And you will get used to tp in the garbage! It ain’t no thing 😉 Not sure if this is a problem thete but in Iraq i learned to hold down buoyant turds with the toilet brush while flushing- very effective and saves water/time/frustration 🙂
That is hilarious! Thanks Meg, good to know!
I loved reading this and can’t wait to hear more. Along with the pictures on facebook I feel I am actually experiencing it! I feel people romanticize traveling to foreign countries… But there is a huge learning curve which you are actually speaking of!
So well written!
Thanks Kira!!!! I know exactly what you mean. The learning curve has been something I've needed to adjust to a lot, so it felt fitting to write about it. Thanks so much for reading. Love you!
I am so glad you two are being brave and plotting your course. Also, that you are paving the way for all of us to come! Te Amo! (Not sure if that is spelled right, very rusty in the Spanish dept.)
Good job Sheree, perfect spelling! We are going to have the best time!
Pea, when people meet you they fall in love. I'm very proud of you both
Thanks Uncle Dan! The support has been incredible and means so much to me. Thanks for reading! Honi Honi.
Love the adventure. I really enjoyed it all…Hugs
Do you remember when when I used to read the stories to you? You were the best audience, don't ya know. Love you!
Amanda, I am so proud of you guys and I love it that you are posting pictures and writing this blog. I can follow along on your adventure. Miss your beautiful face hip sister!!!
Thanks for your support Rita, I miss you too! Hip hip. 🙂
I have no doubt that you will "seize the day". Your spirit is infectious and you will find a place to belong no matter where you are. Keep writing my girl. (And listen to Ryan. He has sense) 😉
Thanks Wendy, I will. Miss you.
When John sent your post this morning, I put it away until I could take the time to savor it. So glad I did–it's great, and I look forward to following you and Ryan on your adventure. We miss you at CWC!!
Thanks Sue! I miss you too and I really appreciate you reading. It helps me feel connected to home to hear from you all.
Dear Amanda and Ryan,
Love reading about your adventures!!! You are troopers! Hope you've gotten over your sniffles and are enjoying your new surroundings. Stay well and happy. Love to you both.
Aunt Lisa and Uncle Kelly
Thanks Lisa! We are doing much better now, thank goodness. Good health can make all the difference. Miss you guys!
Hi Amanda – WOW – what an amazing adventure! I loved reading of your time. Hope you and your hubby are feeling better (no fun to start such an adventure feeling under the weather)…. hope to read more!!
Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for reading, it helps me feel less homesick to stay connected to family and friends. I am going to start posting Mondays and Thursdays so that people know when something new is out. I miss my CWC family!
Amanda, wonderful! Your mom gave me your .com and I enjoyed every description. I imagine you have a motive here ….a travelog of South American countries that will be a best seller. It is stimulating reading!
Thanks Sallie! I've been enjoying it. Blogging is something different for me and it's been a really helpful warm up for my real work. I'm working on three novels and having a ball!