Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Through the Eyes of a Tourist

When we initially decided to go to Ecuador for 2 months, our first order of business was to go to downtown Vancouver and buy ourselves a couple of pieces of luggage. We spent a fair bit of time exploring the whole luggage mystique. Carry-on vs checked luggage, convenience vs capacity, different sizes, shapes and colours. What we ended up with was 2 pieces of what was supposed to be carry-on luggage. They were gray, so as not to show the dirt. They had wheels for easy movement. They also had back-pack straps in case we got into a situation where the wheels weren't practical. They had hand carry straps and retracting handles. We thought we had it all! Turns out we over packed them to the point that they were not carry-on luggage anymore and we had to check them. Best laid plans of mice and men.

Throughout our trip in Ecuador they bumped over cobble streets, were dumped into the trunks of tiny taxis and pushed into the luggage compartment of large buses next to bundles of sugar cane and bags of corn. Filled with dire stories of luggage going missing or being stolen, we kept an eagle on them whenever not directly at hand but never had a problem.

These days, preparing to move to Ecuador permanently, we've had to consider how much stuff we absolutely must take. Brian has a few books and the beautiful brass horn he feels obligated to take as his friend Jan gave it to him for Christmas. We both have some essential clothes along with our CD collection, our new Mac computer, and so on. Family heirlooms and hard copy pictures have already been distributed to the children. We went back downtown to the store to see what the largest piece of luggage was that the airlines would allow. With that one, plus the large piece of luggage we use to do our laundry every week, it would give us 2 large bags as well as the original 2 small carry-ons. So now it's a matter of reducing all our personal possessions to fit this space.

Another one of our preparing-to-leave projects is to take pictures of Vancouver to show our new friends and neighbours in Ecuador.

Your perspective changes when you start looking at your own city through the eyes of a tourist. Old buildings you see every day and take for granted, turn into photo ops. The SkyTrain becomes an attraction; Science World a major site. Then there's the nostalgia factor. What will we miss when we move?

We're leaving the boat, a major life style event. We've gotten used to the coziness and minimalist nature of the boat. Will we suddenly feel a strong need to fill up closets once we have closets again? Will we be able to stomach all the shopping necessary to refurnish a whole life? Will we miss the sound of halyards in the wind and rocking on stormy nights?

Sure...we'll miss it all. It'd be a lot sadder having spent so much of our life on something if we didn't miss it when it ended.

These days, with the funny mind games that we're having to go through regarding selling the boat, it sometimes feels like it'll never happen. And that'd be OK too. This fall we'll go for a boat trip, dangle at anchor somewhere and enjoy the peace you find on the hook that's nowhere else in the world. This winter if we're still here, we'll listen to the endless rain on the deck head, cozy and comfortable in our salon with our satellite TV and our new Mac computer to provide entertainment. Maybe Brian'll volunteer at the Retirees Radio Network and his dulcet tones will be put to use once again. We'll see. Life is an unknown adventure.


  1. I am envious of the freedom you both have and the kind of lifestyle that allows you to have little in terms of possessions but a lot of amazing memories.

  2. Big wooden shipping crate, that is how you should get all of your things to Equador. It could travell by air and sea. It should arrive 3-6 months after you have settled.