Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated in any way by any of the businesses or affiliations mentioned in this post. All opinions and thoughts are my own. This post was originally posted to one of my other sites www.somethingaboutthirty.com.
I had what I am now calling a breakdown. An insane series of unfortunate events and an inability to handle them in an intelligent way. So, I did what I always do – I ran away. Because that’s what I do. I run away and seclude myself until I have it all together again. I was completely (blindly) in love with someone who did not love me back, I had lost my job with no other work in sight, the winter was brutal and as a nature lover that sucked the last bit of my spirit.
I traveled for 4 months. I travelled alone. I encourage everyone to travel, alone if you can. It’s the only way to grow in ways unimaginable and in my opinion, the best way to truly get to know yourself. I’ll begin with sharing the most incredible day of my life – May 5, 2014.
May 4, 2014
I had read about the Quilotoa Loop in my Ecuador and Galapagos Lonely Planet book which I used to plan most of my trip. I saw a photo of the Quilotoa Crater and I was dead set on visiting it. I had met a woman at my hostel in Quito who was on her own journey. She was a Brasilian Nanny based in San Francisco traveling and writing a book about her divorce. It was one of those chance encounters and although I will probably never see her again, I am grateful for the moments she gave me. She raved about a Bed and Breakfast she had stayed in in Chugchilan just outside of Quilotoa. On May 4th I travelled to Chugchilan by bus, on my way to the Black Sheep Inn Ecolodge. I met with the owner Edmundo who was very kind and showed me to my beautiful room with quite the view…
I was surrounded by the Andes Mountains. It was the perfect kind of peacefulness I needed.
The lodge was incredibly eco-friendly. The bathrooms doubled up as greenhouses with plants in front of the toilets that were watered with the water used to water your hands (how cool!) Walls around the showers were made with cement and old wine and beer bottles, allowing for the sunlight to light up the stalls (so cool!).
Dinner was served at a communal table with other guests. The guests that I shared dinner with that night were a group of British friends in their 20s. Two couples traveling for months. One couple was on their way to Patagonia before heading off to Southeast Asia. They were four months in what was an 8 month trip. We had some delicious soup among other vegetarian dishes and shared stories of our travels while exchanging travel recommendations. They spoke of a hike from the Quilotoa crater back to the Black Sheep Inn. The group seemed to think it was a fairly easy hike (I later learned it was not so simple for me). I could choose to go on the hike on my own or with a guide. I would choose to go on my own on what turned out to be the most incredible experience.
More on May 5, 2014 and my hike around the Quilotoa Crater through the Andes in a future post.
For more information on the Black Sheep Inn you can visit: www.blacksheepinn.com/