Along the Ecuador Coast

It's been exactly one week since my last blog post. I'm currently sitting at my hostel called Balsa Surf Camp in a coastal town called Montanita. I'm staying here for 3 days in exchange for professional photos. It's a beautiful place surrounded by trees right on the beach. Free yoga, surfing lessons, massages, spa, hammocks, and restaurant with a friendly staff. I'm enjoying this chill laid-back environment after loud party music blasting all night at the bear next to Selina. Regardless, I made the right decision since I now have connections to the managers of the hostel and even received a personal email address of the owner. I've been making an effort to get in touch with the right people in charge of marketing at this hostel chain ever since my travels last year in Costa Rica. They're rapidly expanding to Quito and Cuenca in May. I look forward to working with this business (and possibly their partner WeWork) in the near future! I'm traveling the world, doing what I love, occasionally working in exchange for free accommodation. It may seem like I'm having fun all the time but these people are overlooking all the hard work behind the scenes. They may cheapen my efforts my claiming I'm just lucky. I am definitely grateful (the path to true happiness) to live this type of lifestyle. However, there are many sacrifices I've made along the way; leaving friends and family, work opportunities, and skipping SXSW in favor of a higher calling for long-term travel. All of this while making consistent efforts to achieve my goals by bootstrapping on a shoestring budget.

I've been traveling along the coast for just over a week now. It's been a beautiful experience full of relaxation, eating ceviche, and no surfing (yet). My first destination was Salinas on the southernmost peninsula for 4 nights, then further north to Puerto Lopez featuring a long-awaited all-day tour of Isla de la Plata, followed by one night in Olon at a cheap hotel with a beautiful view of the beach. Ecuador is definitely my favorite country I've visited so far. The people are friendly, it has something for everyone (rainforest, coast, farms, nature, city life, hiking, etc.) I'm excited to announce that I'm in contact with a woman at the Ecuador Tourism Board. She recorded a video interview of me during my visit in Quito that will be featured on their social media channels. I've been sending her emails regularly with no reply until I finally made the decision to call on WhatsApp earlier today. It turns out the video interview was accidentally erased. She apologized and we agreed to meet up on April 4th in Cuenca. This is my next destination. I will probably stay with a few friends I met my hostel in Salinas. After many years of hard work and struggle, I can finally see my ship coming into shore! I look forward to continuing onward to Peru, Chile, and Argentina over the next 3+ months! And I'm in no big rush to reach my final destination in Patagonia... Enjoying the moment, here and now, is the key to true contentment. With so many distractions vying for our attention these days. From social media to email to friends and family, this is something I'm continually improving at. I'm learning so much from books and the fellow wandering souls I meet along the way. Acquire experiences, not things.

Thanks for reading! I will conclude this post with a few beautiful photos from Isla de la Plata...

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