Passion and Prose- Shane Brown

Quote from Shane Brown-

“Is a shell of his former self. A busted knee that hadn’t yet gone back in place, and lack of sleep for three days, has meant I spent the better part of half an hour crying like a baby in the airport toilet. Still, awesome weekend.
Thanks guys.”

The Above quote explains more about Shane than any introduction that I could write, although I am going to try.  He travels and he´s good at it.  He knows how to find the real experiences and make the most out of them.

I met my savvy friend when he was in Quito volunteering at the Secret Garden and I was tending bar at one of the groups favorite watering holes.  What stuck out was that he was really enjoying his time and making the most out of it.   His enjoyment spread around to those he was with and he was intelligent about the people and places that he had met and had been.

He started his blog for spicy travel after he left and has been writing about his experiences in Ecuador and South America.  His articles are witty and helpful.  In his own words you can find him, “armed with a Macbook Pro and a double scotch Shane spends most of his Saturdays writing for the likes of Have Pack, Will Travel, Art of Backpacking and his very website –”  He graciously took some time to let me  ask him a few questions about his experiences in South America!  Here´s some of his notes from the road!

1. What ispired you in your travels here? Anything you miss?

I chose to travel to Ecuador because I really didn’t know what to expect. You often hear about Columbia, Peru and even Bolivia, however Ecuador is one of those places I knew nothing about, except the Galapagos Islands of course. I’m so happy that I took a chance, Ecuador was the first country I travelled through in South America, and was by far my favourite. The things I miss most of all are dramatic views of the valley from the Secret Garden rooftop bar, Pilsener Ceveza’s, and the Quito locals – by far the friendliest people in South America. Well, Except for the guys that rob you, but still, they’re awfully polite about it all.

2. You wrote a great article about the different kind of backpackers people find on the road.. Do you have a favorite experience from volunteering at The Secret Garden?

My  favourite experience from volunteering at the secret garden was the day Ecuador qualified for the world cup. Darwin (my Spanish teacher) and David (the chef) had a few too many celebratory cerveza’s when they came to pick me up for my Spanish lesson, and they took me to the little corner store around the corner where they enlisted the help of every passer-by to teach me a myriad of swear words in español. Afterwards we went back to the Garden for dinner, the weekly quiz night and then salsa dancing on the rooftop patio.

3. Besides for the cost factor, what other benifits do you think volunteering added to your travels?

Getting to meet so many interesting travellers in a short period of time. Working behind the bar you get to chat a fair bit and I found that most of the people I met were so warm and friendly and so happy to be there, it’s a different class of traveller than you meet in Europe or Asia. Besides the travellers though, getting to meet the locals and ingrain yourself in everyday life there (however fleeting your trip might be) is such a rewarding experience. There’s really nothing quite like it. If you’re looking for a nill to small cost volunteering opportunity in South America, I stumbled across this website that has a pretty comprehensive list:

4. From hanging with you in Quito, I remember you finding the genuine experiences that savvy travellers figure out when travelling here, Do you have any tips for people travelling here that want to get off the gringo trail a bit?

Get up to Cotopaxi. Secret Garden have another hostel there so they can hook you up with transport and accommodation, but climbing the volcano Cotopaxi is unbelievable. Also, there are a few places in Ecuador where you can stand on the ecuator, ask a local about them. If you choose the right one you’ll be able to get an experience that’s different to most others, and you won’t have all those tour buses in the background of your photos.

5.Are there three places that you would go back to in Ecuador? Why?
I didn’t get a chance to make it to Baños, so that’s definitely on my to do list, and I want to spend a lot more time in Quito when I come back next year, so I’ll be knocking on the door at Secret Garden and Finn Mccools for sure. I also really enjoyed Cuenca, it’s a cool, colonial university town down near the Peru border, great food and beautiful architecture.

6. What´s left on your bucket list? What´s one thing that you crossed off in the last year?

Last year I was fortunate enough to take the Trans-Siberian rail – 3 weeks travelling from Beijing to Moscow. It was the middle of winter so the scenery was just beautiful, and getting to stand on the middle of a frozen Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest lake, was pretty awesome
The next thing for me is a 19 day trip aboard a freighter ship, from Mumbai to Tangier, through the Suisse Canal. After that it’s back to South America! There are a lot of volunteer opportunities in Ecuador, especially schools and animal refuges that I’d like to look into.

The Backpacker Cliques by Shane Brown

One Response to “Passion and Prose- Shane Brown”
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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sanchezjalapeno, sanchezjalapeno. sanchezjalapeno said: I was just interviewed about being a volunteer in Ecuador. I enjoyed it. Here's the fruits of someone elses labour […]

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