Natasha in Ecuador – Blog 6
A piece of pure paradise entrapped in walls of mountains; a crystal blue lake reflecting the sun’s rays at the bottom of a breath taking walk down the sides of a volcanic Caldera. Quilotoa was hands down the most breath-takingly beautiful place I have visited on my wondrous adventure so far. Photos will never be able to do it the justice it deserves. However, for many of you they will have to do until you can get your lucky little butts over here to experience the stunning serenity for yourself. The path down was “mildly dodgy”, wild, extremely dusty, and totally worth the near misses with face planting the ground. Once down the watery centre piece lured the majority of us onto its shimmering blue surface in a band of kayaks. When Julia and I stopped paddling to catch our breaths at frequent intervals, the feeling you got was beyond words. Looking up at your surroundings and being struck by the sense that you were at peace with the world, in a pocket of purity. So filled with happiness and contentment that I thought I’d never leave. Instead of walking up the previously mentioned path there was the option to ride a donkey/horse. While it may seem like the ‘lazy’ option I reasoned with myself that riding a donkey up the sides of a volcanic caldera was an incredible opportunity not to be missed! I respect all those of you that battled the walk – you are absolute super stars – and if it’s any consolation the insides of my legs are now thoroughly bruised. I would also like to thank my wonderful donkey. You were a trooper. I wouldn’t have been able to get to the top without you, and I just wish I had had a carrot handy to show my gratitude for lugging me up the side of a mountain.
In the theme of mountains, breath-taking views, and actual breathlessness from altitude, yesterday we ventured up the Teleferico – a cable car up the mountain side in Quito. Due to our escapades the day before the thought of getting up there at 8am was never going to be an option. Therefore, we forfeited the chances of the best view and went up at the reasonable time of 12pm – much more civilised. Despite what we had been told we did manage to get a pretty spectacular view between clouds. In actual fact it was the clouds that I enjoyed best. I always thought it was such a shame when I was told that in reality you cannot walk on clouds. It seemed so magical, and had been on my to do list from a very young age… but being inside one is the next best thing. Comparable to being in a white out whilst skiing (just less scary), I felt like I was perched in the sky, looking down on the tiny world below through a mystical veil.
My life at the moment is one never ending, bottomless adventure. No minute wasted: always learning, always exploring. I love that word: ‘Adventure’. It is so apt. Every day, regardless of whether you are half way across the world from home, just starting university (so excited for all of you, and sending you the best of luck and love), or you are where you have been for the last 18 years, life is a delightful adventure – you just need to open your eyes to see it. This world is full of lessons to be learned, places to be enjoyed, people to connect with, experiences to be had, and if there is anything this trip has taught me it is that you don’t need to be anywhere exotic to join in on the fun. One of the other precious volunteers, a beauty from Sweden called Linnea, said that this trip has ignited her desire to travel her own country. I am in agreement: don’t leave home until you have explored the splendour it has got to offer, and don’t ever take it for granted. So what are you waiting for explorers? Today is another opportunity for adventure; Ecuador, New Zealand, England and beyond, find those hidden treasures wherever you are.