Tag Archives: Traveling

Dogs of Colombia: A Photo Essay

For anyone who has traveled in Latin America, you are aware of the number of dogs wandering the streets. Some are house pets just out for a stroll. But most are stray- to be clear, we avoided many, many dogs for hygienic and safety reasons. These friends we made  were all friendly and safe and as clean as can be expected when living outside on a farm or beach…

She was our first love. Up in the mountains in Minca. She didn’t actually live at this hostel and eventually got kicked out. We never even got to say goodbye…

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This beauty lived at the hostel in Taganga… went back into our room and got the bejeezus scared out of me seeing a face peeking out from under the bed apparently her favorite spot to nap.

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Tiniest, cutest puppy ever!!

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This was our first time camping out on someones farm. This pup ran up to help us cook. And knock things over. And bite our hands. And in general be as annoying as possible…

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Second time camping on a a farm. They had many dogs but Chocolate here was the friendliest and snuggliest.

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This big boy was at a stop we made not long after cresting a mountain peak. After sitting and warming up with a cup of deep black joe, he kept blocking my way so I couldn’t leave. Ok fine, I’ll stay a bit longer to give you the loves…

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The route this day was pretty flat. And seeing a bunch of dogs on the side of the road, and having learned from past experience, I slowed way down and stayed on guard for how these dogs would react to me and my bike. They barked a bit then most left me alone…except this guy. He started running along beside me. I stopped, and he stood and waited. I gave him some crackers, which he ignored and we started off again. He stayed with me for at least 15 minutes! Stopping when I stopped, though not getting close enough for me to pet him. Eventually I got to a town and he went a different way. I thought for sure we finally had an official bike tour dog!

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While visiting Bogota we used CouchSurfing, met a wonderful family who also had a dog. We quickly became bffs.

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Another hostel dog. He was always tied up and every time I passed him on my way to the tent I spent a few minutes hanging out.

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Our last night camping in Colombia. The pavilion did surprisingly little to stop the rain. But this guy loved playing fetch with a plastic bottle and did not mind at all to track his wet little paws all over our stuff.

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Moral of the story: I love dogs.

 

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New Ways of Adventuring: Cycle-Touring

If someone had asked me a year ago what I would be doing now- I think I’d have said something like “I don’t know, maybe moving to Portland?” or “I don’t know, maybe going to travel Australia?” or “umm, I don’t know…” **awkwardly changes subject**

What I wouldn’t have said was “Bicycle touring around Colombia with 2 people I just met a few months ago who, like me, have never done anything like this before”.

But hey, life is full of surprises! In less than 2 days I will be off to South America to explore Colombia, Ecuador and Peru by bike for 3 months. Things I’m feeling right now: excited, nervous, ready, unprepared, pumped up, freaking out, scared, and SO HAPPY.

Since I have the “I Want To Go Everywhere” version of wanderlust, South America was of course included in my To-Do List. But seeing it by bike? Not even on my radar. Not until my friend essentially told me that’s what we were going to do and I surprisingly agreed.

After 2 months of planning and researching and purchasing, I have my bike (a Surly Long Haul Trucker) all supped up with racks and panniers, loads of new gear including SheBeest cycle shorts (the best most comfortable shorts ever), and for the first time ever bike shoes with clip pedals. And yes, I did fall once while clipped in. And yes, it was near a busy intersection where plenty of people got to watch. #winning

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It was difficult for me at first to fully commit to doing a bike tour. I am used to traveling by bus/train/plane and living out of a backpack ready to move and adventure at a moments notice. Adding a bike to the mix complicates things. What if I want to go on a trekking tour for example, where do I leave my bike? I don’t want to miss out on the experiences I am used to having…

…On the flip side, there is a whole new world opened up to me by traveling by bike. All of those little villages and towns my train zooms past are now available to explore at my leisure. All of the beautiful nature I miss by being in a plane? Now I will be right in the thick of it! And all of the locals I’ll get to meet by camping out in farms, or fire stations or having to ask for directions..they will surely add to my positive experience!

And that’s basically as far as my thought process has taken me. There’s only so much reading other people’s blogs and looking at maps can do until I am actually down there. The plan is to stop someplace after a while to find a farm or school or hostel to work in, partly as a cultural experience and partly as a rest for our bums.

So cheers to new adventures!

**wish us luck!

 

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My Worst Travel Fear Come True

I was stopped at a border.

The US border.

I’m not sure why this is such a major fear of mine.  I am and American citizen. For some reason I have this fear that they will not only not let me back in, but that they will put me in jail, too. As an avid traveler, I would think I would be happy if they didn’t let me back it. Free pass to keep traveling, right? Cool.

But it finally happened. On my landing card I put that I had not brought anything with me back into the country. Which was a LIE.

At the gate the guard asked for my ID and from where I had just arrived. Then he asked if I had any food in my bag.

I could have just said no and no one would have known. It wouldn’t have mattered. But I panicked. I imagined him searching my bag and sending me to jail. So I said “Yes. I have 2 apples”.
It was the truth after all. Straight from the Lidl.

What followed was the bumbling conversation of me trying to explain why I lied and hadn’t put those two apples on my card. I probably made some awkward joke about always needing snacks when I travel and totally forgetting but I think I blacked out for a minute and umm can this be over now??!

I had to go through this special area to document my forbidden apples. They re-scanned all my bags. They joked about how I had so much stuff (which was true) and I joked about wanting to eat my apples for lunch. It was a no-go.

I finally made it out and I was officially back in America. Phew.

Dressing While Traveling

I love to wear sweatpants. A lot. Anyone who has spent any time with me will know that. People used to be shocked to see me in anything else. Wearing jeans is still kind of dressing up for me.

I should mention that I’m an not exclusive to sweatpants. We are talking yoga/harem/hammertime/gypsy varieties as well.

I enjoy being comfortable.

This includes while I travel. I don’t care if it’s a 1 hour car ride or a 10 hour bus trip. I will wear leggings. I will wear any shoes and still bring nice, warm socks to put on for the trip.

My hair will be in the way that annoys me the least for that day. In a way that could allow for sleep if I were able to succeed in sleeping on a bus/train/plane/car.

The longer the travel time the less likely there will be make-up*. I hardly use it anyways. Who am I trying to impress on a red-eye to London anyways?

I don’t smell. I stay clean. But I will dress like a bum. And I will travel with my own snacks packed.

 

 

*I usually spent time putting on water-proof eye-liner the day before I travel as a way to procrastinate from the packing process. I don’t know why. It’s just something I sometimes do.