A Travellerspoint blog

Quito, Ecuador

Arriba!! I made it!

all seasons in one day
View Miss Kailyn's Gap Year on misskailyn's travel map.

Quito is everything I had hoped! The houses liter the hills and mountains as far as the eye can see, and further. As the highest capital in the world, it is literally breathtaking.

Arriving at night, the lights across the city shown as bright as stars and lit the way to my hostel, Community Hostel in the Historical District. In the morning I woke up and had a beautiful breakfast of fruit, breakfast sandwich, fried egg and coffee (for $2!). I wanted to take a picture, but resisted my hipster ways. After breakfast I went on the free walking tour led by Ovi. I HIGHLY recommend this tour to anyone. We walked for about 3 hours, touring La Rhonda (the bohemian district), the Historical District, markets, the Presidents House, San Francisco Church, the Basillica, museums and more. After sight-seeing and trying various market foods, a group of us continued on for lunch, then ventured to the Mitad del Mundo-city in the middle of the world.

When I said we ventured, I am not exaggerating! Our group of Aussies, Canadians, Germans and English boarded the city bus and navigated ourselves north to the equator. Two buses, lots of traffic and the best fro-yo ever, we made it to the museum 10minutes late. Lucky for us, the tour guide was so sweet and showed us around anyway. I had no idea how cool this area would be! It was like black magic! On the line, water drained without pooling, yet a foot in each direction and the direction the water rotated switched! (Think Bart Simspon calling Australia to ask which way the water spins when the toilet flushes). Other tricks included being able to balance an egg on a nail, and losing all strength due to the magnetic pool of this crazy equator line! We were all like little kids at a magic show! As if that weren’t enough, we got to see a REAL shrunken head, eyelashes, hair and all.

After leaving the middle of the world, we bussed back and had a late night dinner of beer and pizza (not real authentic….)
Yesterday, my new friends (the Aussies, Canadian, English, German) and I bussed north to Otavalo Market. This market is known throughout all of South America and is definitely a sight to see. Clothes, food, music and so many people pack the streets for this Saturday market. We indulged in coffee, chocolate, mused about street meet and purchased hippy harem pants that look utterly ridiculous.

After the market and bussing back to our perspective temporary homes, Theresa and Jacquie and I decided to enjoy a bit of night life. It was definitely a night to remember! We ate at an awesome restaurant called D’Vinci’s. The staff was soooo incredibly sweet and tolerated our atrocious attempts at hablo-ing Español. After two cocktails we wanted to find some dancing. The staff literally ran out the street to direct us into a karaoke bar across the street. He talked to the bouncers and next thing we knew we were singing Spice Girls in a club full of Ecuadorians with margaritas in hand. It wasn’t pretty (which anyone that has heard me sing can tell you), but as we looked around the club was full of people dancing and encouraging us on! It was such a blast. Then of course, we danced. Everyone was so lovely and we laughed the night away.

Today is my last day in Quito before I take the night bus to the Amazon. Needless to say, I will be heavily off the grid for the next 6sh days. Wish me a malaria free journey!


Posted by misskailyn 16:02 Archived in Ecuador Tagged quito Comments (0)

Hasta luego Seattle, I love you!

"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see specks dispersing? It's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's goodbye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."-Jack Kerouac


It is hard to put into words how fortunate I am. I am so full of love for my family, friends and the emerald city I have called home most of my life. It is with this beautiful foundation I am boarding the plane for South America.

This journey started as an idea, stirred up while pouring over grad-school textbooks and glasses of study wine. I found myself refreshing The Lonely Planet website, and picturing myself anywhere other than in my Queen Anne basement. Instead of researching beaches and resorts, I was drawn to the romantic dirt roads and bright port cities of South America. I wanted passion, grit and something to challenge my ability to not only survive, but to live. This whim turned into a plan when I announced to my family "I am going to leave and go to South America." Half testing the waters, met with surprise and support, these words concreted my daydream into a resolution. Slowly, I started to tell close friends, realizing that with each acknowledgement, my leaving became real. I sold my car, donated my belongings, quit a job I loved, packed a backpack, and now here I am, less than 12 hours away from my departure.

During the past year of anticipation, preparation and contemplation, I feel like I have ran through a gauntlet of emotions. I have felt my heart being pulled by wanderlust, nomad-ism and excitement, but also by sadness, fear and denial of what I was "giving up". Now, as the day is here, I feel like I have gone full circle. What means the most I will carry with me, and this realization gives me fortitude and strength. I now know that the friendships I have made cannot be severed by miles or time. What fits in my backpack will let me survive, but what I am carrying in my heart will give me life. I am full of love, excitement and a sense of adventure. I am ready.

Now, onward!

Posted by misskailyn 08:04 Archived in USA Tagged travel adventure friends south family love america leaving backpacking goodbye Comments (3)

Goodbye Wifi (And Blogging Attempts)

“If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction-and ultimately, without a major resolution.” ― Jasper Fforde, Something Rotten

View People to People Volunteer Trip on misskailyn's travel map.

Welp, the best intentions of mice and men...

To the disappointment and frustration of the parents and students, Wifi seemed to be a fleeting idea across the miles (or kilometers) that make up Australia's outback, cities and shores. Internet connection was either unavailable, pay by the minute, or so slow that it took me over 2 hours (and many grey hairs) to upload 18 pictures. Email communication was a no-go, and as soon as I had brief access to any sort of lifeline across the sea, I quickly promised families that Shutterfly would be updated from back on American soil. As you can imagine, every intention I had of blogging was quickly thrown out the window.

Because of this, I recorded the adventures (and misadventures) by hand on a paperback journal. Instead of re-typing everything, I decided to upload pictures and retry the blogging idea while in South America.

Although somewhat frustrating, it was also a very relaxing and freeing being so cut off from technology. As a result, it has taken me over a month to update Travellerspoint. I think I was trying to stay in the isolated Outback of Kroombit Farm for as long as possible...

Posted by misskailyn 19:04 Archived in Australia Tagged australia down internet under wifi isolated Comments (0)

The Night Before

I said, "Do you speak-a my language?" He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich -Men At Work

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I stood over my bed and lovingly gazed down at the disheveled piece of baggage I would be bringing with me. The small, black, backpackers bag had straps and pockets littering its cushioned sides. It was used, loved, sold and signified my freedom. I first saw it in a second-hand travel store in the ocean port of Ballard. In its small outer pocket I found a crumpled ticket for the Euro Rail. It made me smile to think that this bag had traveled around the world and found itself in the same part of town as me. In fact, in the exact same spot as me. With the help of someone in the store, I lifted it from the shelf and shuffled it onto my back. It fit my height-challenged frame of 5 foot 3 perfectly, so I bought it. In September it will house everything I own. But not yet. Now, it will follow me to the Land Down Under.

Tomorrow morning I will be heading off to the Seattle International Airport to meet 43 anxious 5th and 6th graders. Together, we will be embarking on a whirlwind tour of Australia's east coast. I am full of nerves at this tremendous responsibility (how do these parents all trust me to do this?!) and am extremely excited for the adventure.

My bag was packed, unpacked, repacked, tossed, turned, emptied and stuffed. I removed pants, shirts, shorts and dresses. I replaced them with rolled-up tank tops, coats, t-shirts and skirts. Converters, check. Chargers, check. Band aids, check. Wish me luck!

Posted by misskailyn 17:54 Archived in USA Tagged australia down packing bag bags luggage under Comments (2)

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