The Galapagos Post Office

When someone mentions the Galapagos I think of wildlife, cruises, pirates,and the U.S. Navy using the location as a base during wartime. 

If pressed I might come up with a few different people I know who can help with a trip there or a volunteer trip to three islands that I think is a pretty cool way to see the islands for longer on a budget. 

The Post Office isn´t really on my radar when it comes to the Islands or Ecuador either.  During the two years that I have lived here I haven´t seen a piece of mail.  Sort of a downside of travelling and living in another country.. No permanent address!

Just recently I learned that I´m not the only one in these circumstances and someone a while back figured out how to correct this problem on the Galapagos by starting a post office.

The story goes that whalers first came to Floreana and started leaving letters at a central location for other ships to pick up on their way to whatever destination that the card was addressed to.. Apparently it worked!

In present day, the post office is still alive and working on Floreana.  Cruise ships stop at the island and guides hand out postcards that people fill out to themselves, family members, or friends and then leave them for others to pick up.

I recently heard a story I´ve heard from a fellow traveller about finding a card addressed to someone nearby their hometown and returning home to hand deliver the cards.  Another reported that people also address cards to their future selves in the hopes of returning to the islands at a certain date to collect the cards!

In addition to being the ultimate answer to post trip come down, I think the idea is what travelling is all about.  Finding ways to help while exploring and discovering new places and people.

The first time I heard of an idea like the post office on the Galapagos was from my friend Joel, who started a free blanket when he travelled during the summer in his hippie van.

Joel would visit friends on the road and they almost always gave him something that they thought he could use.  After a while it got overwhelming so at a concert he came up with the idea of giving some of what he wasn´t using away.  Hence the free blanket.

The Free Blanket, like the post office, causes people to pause.  Why would anyone give something away for free?  Just because is the easiest answer and I think that the post office works on the same concept..

Why not grab a postcard and take it home and deliver it..  Doesn´t harm anyone and it might turn into some fun by meeting a fellow traveller!

I see things like this happen here all the time.  It´s part of what makes living, working and travelling here fun.  For example..

At the bar where I work that is frequented by expats, someone looking for a cruise or a tour meets the right person on the right day that helps them to get a personal contact that makes the trip.

At the hostel where I´ve worked a guest gets robbed leaving them penniless and a fellow traveller plays good Samaritan and covers all costs until travel essentials can be recovered. Or someone leaves their belongings unknowingly and another guest takes them with them to be returned at the next stop on the journey.

I personally met someone who needed someplace to live and together we found them a room and a job, have found someone unhappy with their internship another option by introducing them to a friend who runs a foundation, and have introduced countless people to the people I know here doing the best they can for those wanting to explore Ecuador.

I am good at this kind of thing.  That´s why I started this blog, to help others for the sake of helping by sharing what I´ve learned living in Ecuador.  For me it´s keeping the spirit of the Galapagos Post Office and the free blanket alive.

So if your planning a trip to Ecuador, why not shoot me an email.  Maybe I can help.  It beats going through pages of travel forums, trying to get a straight answer out of a travel agent, or finding yourself in a situation on your trip that doesn´t suit you!

And if your like me and think that helping others is a part of travelling anywhere, check out my post on bringing a book when you come for Project DCR in Quito.  It´s a foundation that helps street kids get an education.

As for the bit of fun part, stop by Uncle Ho´s in the Mariscal and meet Kevin, myself, and the gang of locals for live music, sports, and the best Monday night steak and mash in Quito if not Ecuador, you won´t be disappointed!

I can be contacted at savvytravellerecuador@gmail.com

Project DCR

https://savvyroundtheworld.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/project-dcr-how-you-can-help-while-exploring-ecuador/

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Comments
One Response to “The Galapagos Post Office”
  1. hi!This was a really superb post!
    I come from roma, I was fortunate to come cross your theme in yahoo
    Also I obtain a lot in your subject really thanks very much i will come every day

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