Friday, August 30, 2013


the main thing on my mind right now is home. carving out a little place for myself in a new environment. of course, the first thing that comes up, is stuff. what we fill our spaces with to individualize them and create comfort.

after the exhilaration of seeing all my furniture walking out of the house, even getting rid of many sentimental items, what is left?

i have to admit. i am having a stuff-related panic. which i wasn't expecting.

currently i am sitting in a pile of the remaining privileged items, obsessively reading all the blogs i can get my hands on. expats, travellers, what they thought was absolutely essential to bring to south america.
in reality, we need very little. it's amazing how we adapt, and 'things' in general are an illusory comfort. travelling is about losing the stuff and gaining memories and experiences. but tell that to my 'ohmygoshi'mmovingtosouthamericaforthefirsttime' addled brain. and to be fair, there are a few things it's handy to have with you before leaving.

apparently electronics is a big one (far too expensive over there), and good footwear.

therefore i have spent more time than is healthy combing over online department stores. some things i do not regret, ordering a nice lightweight pair of rainboots for trekking on dirt roads, and a set of compact but great-sounding
computer speakers. hopefully the next purchase won't disappoint, a small e-reader to replace the large suitcase that would consist only of books.

also on the list, a few essential oils (also compact and multi-purpose, mostly in keeping me sane, thank you lavender), and a big bottle of grapefruit seed extract, which apparently can last for years and is good for anything from fighting infections to cleaning your vegetables. so with that, a few favorite photo's and letters, my laptop and camera (obviously), a couple sets of sheets and towels, my clothes and guitar, i should be ok. (at this point it may still sound like i'm packing light, but you should feel the weight of that suitcase.... haven't even started on the other one!)

while i was travelling around, meeting many people who packed up their lives and moved to ecuador, i found it interesting to observe what each person did to make it home. one couple bought a super fancy washing machine and imported the contents of their kitchen. another couple kept it really simple, but took time to cook and enjoy some pretty posh-looking meals. a couple who had lived there 20 years built a massive western-style log house on a hill, and one girl i met was living in a one-room apartment tucked into the back of a building, cooked on a tiny burner, and was happy as a clam with her music collection (girl after my own heart!). my favorite was the couple who seemed to choose their apartments based on great views, so even if it was basic, it felt luxurious.

 i've been thinking a lot about what i want my home to look and feel like, where i will put down my bags at the end of the day and breathe a sigh of relief. will see what the final shape is. but after settling down and recuperating from moving stress, i'm looking forward to doing what i love again and home being more about people and purpose. 'stuff' will naturally settle back in its not so important place.


  1. that last picture reminds me of Baños for some reason... perhaps because we placed a similar book on a similar stool. ;)
    happy to hear your plans are coming along well! have you worked things out with a visa?
    oh, and essential oils are so cheap here! there are loads of shops with natural products, I´ve no idea why it took me so long to notice them.
    on the topic of stuff, I recently stumbled across a filthy piece of flat wood with some menacing nails stuck in it, but after scraping the dirt with a spatula and beating the nails out with, well the same spatula come to think of it, I plopped it down over two wooden boxes (also trash treasures) and voila! after more than 2 years in south america, we have our very own coffee table! I honestly don´t think anything we had brought or have purchased here tickled me so pink. :)

    1. yes, it is banos. possibly the same hostel. going to do the visa tomorrow or monday, finally have all the papers for it, just need an ecuadorian address to put on there.
      i'm so happy for your coffee table! trash treasures truly are the best. anything made using a little ingenuity and imagination.
      (i will be tracking down some of those stores, thank goodness. i was about to bring a 5 year supply of oils with me.)