Read All About It!

“They say, timing is everything. But then they say, there is never a perfect time for anything.”
― Anthony Liccione

Well, it seems like half of the country is locked down in self-quarantine while the other half is out rioting and protesting. Nobody is flying to other countries unless they absolutely have to, and many people can’t even return to their own nations even if they wanted to. At times like this, what is a sensible thing for a writer to do?

Why, publish a travel book, of course. Better yet, let’s pick a destination that currently is not allowing any entry at all – The Galápagos Islands!


Yes indeed, this is a wonderful time to announce that I’ve just completed and published a book describing how we were able to plan and execute a fun, informative, and self-guided tour of the Galápagos Islands on a reasonable budget.

“The Galápagos Islands:On Your Own and On a Budget” is now available as an e-book on Kindle and in a full-color paperback edition on Amazon as well as . It is also offered for a free read to KindleUnlimited subscribers. Better hurry, with this incredible timing, I’m sure they will be flying off the virtual shelves.

I know it sounds crazy, but in my defense, I did not intentionally plan to pick the worst possible time to publish a Galápagos book. We researched and planned our own trip in January of 2019, back when we thought a government shutdown over funding the border wall was a big disruption and inconvenience. Our travel dates were in August, when the only death everyone was talking about was Jeffrey Epstein’s in jail.

Then at the end of January of this year, when we were starting to see news articles about this odd pesky virus in a small area of China, I posted a few blogs sharing pictures and some of the details of our little excursion.

The blogs were very popular, and I got a lot of positive feedback in comments and emails. A surprising number of them boiled down to “Dude, this is great information – why are you giving this stuff away?”

It seemed like a valid point. I began to see that I did have some useful information and tips that I had not encountered in any of our preparations and planning.

So for the next four months I was bent over the computer keyboard, hard at work. I expanded on those initial posts, added a lot of new material, researched some of the unexplored options we chose to bypass, and poured over the thousand or so pictures we took. I joined Adobe and licensed stock photos, maps, and even satellite photos to help illustrate and educate. I contacted the Galápagos Conservancy for data and clarification on some points, and for their input on sites we did not visit. I struggled to put together a guide that would be full of useful information, practical advice, personal experiences, and a dash of humor to make for a more entertaining read.

Then I studied up on how to use the Kindle Direct Publishing tools, re-formatted documents and photos to match, designed a cover, uploaded documents, fixed errors, uploaded again, fixed MORE errors, and after much trial and even more errors finally had both versions ready for distribution. By golly, I even created my Amazon Author’s Page!

When I finally looked up from my keyboard at the end of May 2020, the world had gone full goose bozo.

So here we are. Completed and published. Yay me.

Hopefully, it is not a completely wasted effort. My hunch is that people will still want to read about a way to afford a great Galápagos experience. Some will enjoy just dreaming about it, or living vicariously through our trip. For some maybe it will be a pleasant way to escape the stressful drumbeat of current events, even if just for a while.

And some glorious day in the future, the world will recover, travel will pick back up, and the Islands will open again to the public. When it does, the Galápagos Conservancy and Ecuador will certainly need every tourist dollar they can coax into the country.

Meanwhile, here we are. If you order a book or download a copy, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed our experiences on the Islands.

As for me – gee, I guess it’s time I get back to work on my book about training for and tackling the Inca Trail ….. yes, another travel book!

“You can create something that is pure genius, but you have to get your timing right.”
― Lang Leav, Sad Girls

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  • Marilyn says:

    Forwarding your email to my brother. He and his wife have a visit scheduled for that area in January 2021.

  • Theresa says:

    I followed you somewhat as you prepped for the Inca Trail and then hiked it. Looking forward to that book!
    Thank-you for your work!

    • Jim Santos says:

      Thanks for the kind words. The Inca Trail book has been kind of hung up, as I was trying to wrap it around dealing with survivor’s guilt and a couple of other topics. But I think it is best to treat the heavier topics on their own in the future, so now I can at least see the shape of trail narrative.

  • Larry says:

    Thanks for this. I am contemplating a move to Quito in about 2 months to live with my fiancee. What things other than of course learning the language would you suggest a future ex-patriot from Georgia, USA to study for? Do you think the coronavirus is going to make a lasting change to South America

    • Jim Santos says:

      Thank, Quito is a beautiful city. Rita and I have visited at least 6-7 times, and always enjoy it. We even considered moving to Cumbaya, a suburb between the city and the airport at a lower altitude. Other than Spanish, it really was not that difficult a move for us. The people of Ecuador are really wonderful. If you are new to the block, search “Ecuador” and you will find 60 or more posts about our lives there. There is also a post on driving there that gets a lot of hits, just search “driving”. As for the coronavirus – I know they just lifted air restrictions, and plan to re-open the Galápagos (which had 0 cases, btw) on July 1. I’m pretty sure it is going to make a lasting change on the whole planet, the problem is, no one can say exactly how things will change. Let me know how your move goes, and if you like I can pass your email address on to expat friends who live in Quito.

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