I'm typing this blog post from Viejamar Hostel on the beach near Puerto Lopez, Ecuador where I'm staying for free in exchange for aerial photos and video. The owner purchased the land 18 years, lived on the property for years with no money, and built this place from scratch with his own two hands. Now he's writing a book and surfs in his free time. Very inspiring guy! It's located in a small town on a private beach about 16 km north of Puerto Lopez along with a few other hostels and restaurants. The bus ride is about 25 minutes into town and only costs $.75. You don't have to be a millionaire to live like one! Richness is a state of mind. I literally have about $100 to my name right now. Lots of people are waking up to the reality that it's no longer necessary to work in a cubicle from 9-5 every day, go home, sleep, and do it all over again. The digital nomad movement is inspiring more people to live and work anywhere in the world all while working from coffee shops and co-working spaces on your laptop.
I've been traveling around Ecuador for just over a month now. I crossed over the border illegally from Peru after exploring the country for 3 months. In mid-September I plan on traveling through Peru again by bus on my way to Chile. It's going to be the longest bus ride of my adventures so far (over 40 hours) but it's way cheaper than flying to Santiago or Buenos Aires ($450). I would love to visit the Galapagos Islands before leaving Ecuador but it's very expensive. You have to pay $100 just to enter the park and tours are over $1200 for 7 days of island hopping. This would be the perfect place to practice diving for the first time, but there's also opportunities in Isla de la Plata, also know as "The Poor Man's Galapagos".
Yesterday I went on a whale watching tour on a boat leaving from Puerto Lopez. I hailed a ride back to the hostel with a nice Ecuadorian family since the bus wouldn't pick me up. This was my first "hitch-hiking experience". The timing of my visit is perfect since it's whale season until early September. I was able to capture some decent photos. I left my drone behind because I didn't want to risk flying it from the metallic boat over the ocean with only one battery remaining. I've yet to crash it once during my travels in South America! My previous drone went down in the cloud forests of Costa Rica during an "all-expenses paid" assignment. It wasn't insured and we never found it again. That was a $1300 investment. Luckily I was able to capture some incredible footage shooting on assignment before the fatal moment.
I'm really excited to continue my travels south toward Chile! My goal is to reach Patagonia by early December (their Summer) and celebrate my birthday in possibly the most beautiful national park in the world! If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough!