Life Lessons

August 14th, 2017 Today is important, not just because we are only two weeks away from taking our first step on the Inca Trail, but because it was one year ago today that we took the real first step by deciding to commit ourselves to this goal. Back on that fateful day last year, we were completing a second-in-a-row 5+ mile hike out to La Puntilla, a nearby nature preserve, when a chance encounter with a friend who was planning to...

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As of today (Saturday, July 22), we are now only 37 days away from setting out on the 26-mile Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Put another way, it has now been 339 days since we decided to completely change our lives around in order to get ready for a 4-day event. Of course there has been more to it than that; we really did need to get into better shape, me especially. But I'm not exaggerating when I say we...

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We have been spending time each day now preparing for our written Ecuador citizenship tests that we will have to take later this year. This involves working on our Spanish, in addition to trying to cram some information into our old, tired brains. As I struggle to try and memorize the names of Ecuadorian Presidents and their accomplishments, the provinces and their capitals, major geographic features, dates of holidays, and random cultural facts, I find myself thinking about both the...

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I've got some good personal news to report, and another important milestone in our quest to prepare to hike the Inca Trail - now just 53 days away. As I was able to announce to the attendees at International Living's Quito conference, "Hooray - I'm Fat!" Constant Readers among you may remember that back on October 11 of 2016, I was able to announce that I had cracked the 35 BMI barrier, and was then considered "obese" rather than "morbidly...

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At the risk of sounding like saps or even worse, fuddy-duddies, we have always tried to follow the correct paperwork procedures in each step of our lives overseas. When we applied for Visas, we collected all of the documents according to the Consular website and our Ecuadorian attorney's advice, and took no shortcuts or "money-saving" steps. Maybe it is just coincidence that our Visas were ready for pickup at the DC Consulate's office three weeks after filing, but I think...

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Here we are, just 76 days from setting off on the Inca Trail, and we have successfully completed our first major tests of hiking at altitude. The results were mostly positive, but also quite sobering. I think at the moment we both feel that we can probably do this, but it is going to be, pardon the pun, an uphill struggle. We began this new phase just four days ago on Friday. For me, the day did not start auspiciously....

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I've been thinking a lot lately about women's rights issues. It is not an easy thing to do for a person of the male persuasion, much like how a white person who grew up in a middle-class suburb really cannot understand completely what is it like to grow up black in a ghetto. But with all the things going on politically in the US that seem detrimental to women specifically, you can't help but wonder exactly what is going on with...

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Happy Anniversary to me and Rita! It as 8 years ago today (May 3rd) that we had our first date. Although to be honest, I did not know it was a date at the time. Let me explain. I got married in December of 1983 to Carolyn, and we had two children. We had a happy marriage, which ended in December of 2008, just a few days short of our 25th wedding anniversary, when she died of complications arising from breast...

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I was talking to someone in the States the other day about life in Ecuador, and he asked the question an expat hears fairly often – “Don’t you get homesick?” This is not a trivial question, and one that anyone thinking of moving to another country should consider. “Homesickness” has been recognized since ancient times, with references in the Old Testament of the Bible, and Homer’s Odyssey. Even Hippocrates recognized it as a valid complaint, suspecting it had to do...

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With the start of our Inca Trail Trek less than six months away now, we have passed some important milestones - despite almost constant preparatus interruptus over the few months. First milestone: we have now walked over 1,000 miles in our exercise walks. To put that in perspective, if we had set out from Washington DC heading south on US95 back in mid-August when the madness first consumed us, we would be between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida right now. Second...

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