Passion and Prose-Ayngelina around the world from Bacon is Magic!

 A suprising rule of thumb that I´ve found since I´ve been in Ecuador is that people travelling here tend to find what they are looking for!  After all the worry, the planning, and the stress of making the trip actually happen I´ve seen people arrive in Quito and the circumstances that they find themselves in just happen to include the person that knows the places that they spent hours searching for on the travel forums, a fellow traveller who is going the way that they are, or even showing up at the airport to find someone in the baggage check that is going to the same hostel.

A general example of this is how certain nationalities tend to find each other far away from home.. On Australia Day this year the hostel where I worked was packed with fellow countrymen and women who just heard about the Aussie owners on the road.  At the Irish bar where I´ve spent long hours behind the bar, people stop in and find themselves next to someone who grew up an hour away from their hometown.  Last week at the Canadian owned bar where I currently spend my time working; a man from Canada who had been in town for a week saw the flag, wandered in, and spent hours realizing how much he had in common with the owner!  Small world indeed..

This is not to say that life is without hiccups when travelling but even when things get goofy somehow the global tribe  tends to sort themselves out once the tickets have been bought and the passport has been stamped.

This week I am featuring one member of that tribe who bought a one way ticket to Mexico and has been travelling through the Americas on a round the world trip to find those moments and discover the people and places that she meets on the road.

 Ayngelina packed up shop in Toronto, made a plan without using travel guides, has hit the ground running and is currently travelling with Mr. Bacon, a four-inch tall plastic icon that She has named her blog in honor of!

As you will see from the following interview, Ayngelina know how to travel well.  Her savvy for finding things while she is on the road and her wit in describing the experiences that follow are what I think traveling is all about.  She has just landed in Ecuador for a few weeks and I am seriously waiting for her first post about her experiences here..  They should prove to be interesting, funny, and inspiring!

Q. From reading your blog, Bacon is Magic, I found that you had a lot of experience travelling before deciding to go for it and take a year off for your trip. You quit your job, took a chance that you still had more to discover, and hit the road. Looking back after a few months travelling, what was the most difficult part of getting away?

A.  The hardest part was making the decision to go. For years it was always in the back of my mind but there was always a reason not to go. Once I paid off my student loan I was debt free and I realized all of the reasons were just my fears acting as excuses. But once I decided I plan a financial plan and sticking to it was rather easy

 Q. What’s the route been so far. I know you started in Mexico and played it by ear from there. What’s the most common factor for where you go? Word of mouth? Do you find people who are going your direction and join up for a leg of the journey? Where are a few places that you’ve been that weren’t on the agenda that you wouldn’t have missed?

A. I booked a one-way flight into Mexico and have traveled South through all countries (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama) except for El Salvador. While I heard there are beautiful beaches in El Salvador I wasn’t prepared to take the risk on my own. Also, I was only technically in Costa Rica. I passed through in a bus, staying two nights to break up the travel. But it was far too expensive and touristy for this trip.

 I used delicious bookmarks the year prior to leaving and every time I read of something that interested me I bookmarked it for future reference. But I always take recommendations with a grain of salt as travel is so personal. To be honest I don’t have an itinerary at all, often I show up in a place, check my delicious bookmarks and ask other travelers.

To plan something as long as a year I think you could get too wrapped up in the plans if you were so rigid.

Q. It’s obvious to me that you have a sense of humor. What the funniest thing that’s happened so far and biggest surprise?

A. Most of the challenges and humor derive from a language barrier. In university I lived with 5 guys from Mexico doing their PhD and they all spoke English so I naively thought that there would be more English in Mexico.

I quickly realized how wrong I was as I had many funny encounters: In my first week in Mexico I ordered food from an outdoor vendor, he was attempting to ask me where I was sitting so he could bring me the food but I thought he was asking me to dance. Finally someone came over to explain and I felt like an idiot.

In Guatemala with a week of Spanish under my belt I thought I had confidently ordered mayo to come with my french fries, a few minutes later I received chicken fingers.

 I can name countless things like this as I’ve struggled with the language. Fortunately people in Central America have been so kind and patient with me. I’ve been taking classes along the way and am now at an intermediate level and it’s really enhanced the experience.

 Q. I’ve sort of collected good hostels and people who own/run them around Ecuador. I worked at The Secret Garden and volunteered there and we tried to make it a one of a kind place with the talents and help of others who were volunteering. Do you have three hostels that rank on the top of your list? What makes them stand out?

Oh wow. Such a hard question:

Lost and Found Lodge in Panama: While I don’t normally write about where I stay, this was in a cloud forest and it was an amazing experience. Animals everwhere and the owners really care about the community. Many arrive and stay weeks to volunteer.

Hostel Calendaria in Valldolid, Mexico: The cleanest hostel I have ever been in. There is a team of women constantly mopping and cleaning.

Le Sous Bois in Montreal: Not a Central American hostel but whenever I visit Montreal I stay here. It has an amazing atmosphere and is in the heart of Old Montreal.

Q.Your blog covers the practicalities of travelling for a year like saving money and planning without a guidebook. Do you have any tips about spending, finding good spots, or travelling in general from the road?

As for spending I try to get by on $30 a day or $1000 a month and I really haven’t had any issues with that in Central America so fingers crossed for South America. I keep a daily record of what I spend in my journal and some days its over $30 and other times under $30.

I won’t turn something down just because it doesn’t fit in my budget but I am choosy. For example, sailing from Panama City to Cartagena Colombia does not fit under $30 a day but the experience is priceless. I can cut back a little for the next month to make it work.

The most expensive aspect is often the hostel and I generally ask travelers at the current hostel for recommendations, usually a few will quote Lonely Planet’s most popular and more seasoned travelers know cheaper destinations.

Q. Your coming to Ecuador from Columbia on the first of August. What’s on your bucketlist for your time here? Anything planned or have you heard about a must see spot from others who have been here?

This is actually a very important time in my trip as my mother and sister are coming to visit me for two weeks. My sister has only ever been to resorts and my mother has only been to the US and Spain.

Neither have backpacked before but want to join me on my trip which is very brave. We’re still ironing out the kinks but it looks like we’ll be doing a two-week loop which will definitely include Quito, Otavalo and Banos.

I need to do a bit more research though as getting to South America has been monopolizing my time.

One of the more notable aspects is that we’ve chosen not to do the Galapagos Islands. Based on our interests and budget we decided time could be better spent elsewhere.

You can read about Ayngelina´s travels on her blog, Bacon is Magic, which follows her and Mr. Bacon around the world while giving the rest of us time to plan our own trip!

4 Responses to “Passion and Prose-Ayngelina around the world from Bacon is Magic!”
  1. Nick Laborde says:

    $30 a day, that’s what I’ve been figuring for my trip. The language barrier seems like it would be a challenge, of course that makes for interesting stories.

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