March. 21. 2012

March 29, 2012

Well hello family and friends and whoever managed to find themselves stumbling upon our page. ..

Jeff and I want say thank you for reading ,viewing pictures or following along with our videos. It was exciting for us to share our experiences and thoughts with you along the way. We appreciate the comments and love you shared with us while we were away. It helped us to feel connected to our home.

Below, we have added more pictures of our time in Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile! Hope you will enjoy.

Argentina was quite the switch from adventurous Bolivia. We enjoyed lounging, walking around the city and drinking delicious malbec. As we drove through the Andes we knew our trip was coming to an end. The dry mountains hugged the roads as we smiled and felt the comfort and power of this beautiful mountain range. We sensed a feeling of accomplishment as we had made it and were embarking on our last planned bus ride. Santiago surprised us in many ways, we found eclectic parks and amazing views while walking through the large metropolitan city.

For our finial 2 days we chose to spend it in the small town of Ritoque, 2 hours north of Santiago. This felt more our style and was the best way to say goodbye to South America. We realized we were somewhere unique as we were relaxing in the sand with the cold pacific waves rolling into the sweet oceanic cove. The locals made you feel like you had known them for years and the whole (tiny) beach town had a vibe that felt like we had gone back in time. Intentional conversations around the fire, genuine gestures at the local restaurant, and sun setting yoga in the sand dunes all came from the heart.

Really a perfect way to close out our adventures. .

Thanks again for viewing our blog. We feel very fortunate for each day we experienced over the past 2 ½ months. We are looking forward to letting the lessons we have learnt about ourselves, each other and a different way of life, shine light into our own lives back in Vancouver

Love and Peace.

Kendal and Jeff.

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Chapter 5: bolivia.

March 15, 2012

Copacobana, Lake Titicaca, a view of La Paz, Sucre and Uyuni Salt Flats

On our way…

March 3, 2012

(Written Feb 20, 2012)

As we drive to the Bolivian border I can’t help to feel a bit sad to leave Peru behind. I know there is more excitement, and adventure to come but I really enjoyed our last month in Peru. Experiencing the culture and seeing the land diversity alter as we traveled from one end to another was incredible. A country I recommend to experience and to cherish.


When you think back to experiences you have had, many times the people that you connect with stick out in your mind. Even small interactions with many local people warmed our hearts, and just the general vibe of the Peruvian’s aura we really took a liking to. At the same time traveling with 2 fellow Canadians through Arequipa and Cusco couldn’t have been better. So nice to met people that you instantly feel a positive energy from. With Tara and Glen, we went to the Colca Canyon which was one of Jeff and I’s highlights! From them on we traveled to Cusco and from place to place, constantly laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It was sad to say goodbye, but I can’t wait to visit them in Toronto.

Being in the highlands of Peru in rainy season is an interesting thing.. First off, roads are a constant worry but for a more positive outlook.. the hills are alive with green and the touristy towns such as cusco don’t have an annoying buzz of tourists at every corner.. There is just a diverse walk of people and a calm energy.

I will miss seeing the Peruvian women in their traditional highland dress. A bold bowler hat on top with 2 long black braids draping down their back. Wrapped around their shoulders is usually a brightly woven sash that is tied in the front holding their child tight to their back. Below the waist is always a full skirt with warm tights tucked into their tiny loafers. Smile lines etched into their faces as they care for their children and sell their goods to live. Incredible weaving talents. Dedicated, strong, interesting women. Simple life, but pure and true.

The ruins in the scared valley left a lasting impression for Jeff and I. The energy from the villages at the bottom of the green slope shone with vivacious colour. The playful nature of the children running in and out of the markets made us feel something more. There were perfectly cut terraces sloped down as far as the eye can see, and as you looked up to the Inca Ruins you felt the energy and power of the height, in all it’s weight, directly where you are standing.

The calm yet vibrant energy of the highlands: not to be forgotten.

k.

Bolivia.

(Written March 1st, 2012)

I feel we have experienced and endured so much in less than two weeks in Bolivia. Granted, that seems to be the nature of travel. Every other day on a Bus would be tiring at the best of times. When you add in all that Bolivian transportation has to ‘offer’, it was an adventure.

Starting in Copacabana, avoiding Carnivals’ water balloons and eating local trout we jumped on a boat to Isla del Sol. The island was beautiful, domesticated desert terrain inhabited with goats, pigs, donkeys and farmers. Both Kendal and I feel a little bit spoiled by Canada’s lakes but really enjoyed the intriguing visuals and novelty of experiencing the highest lake in the world as the deep blue shimmered below.

We then moved down to the highest capital city in the world, La Paz. With only two days to explore this sprawl, we feel we hardly scratched the surface. We spent most of our time here weaving our way through the Alto Markets and avoided being seen by the Witch Market llama fetuses. Don’t ask.

From La Paz we continued down to a breath of fresh air in a city called Sucre. We stayed at the top of a hill in a beautiful bed & breakfast overlooking the colonial city. Wine, steak, and a bright, white start. Luxury in Bolivia, who knew?

Here is where the real ‘adventure’ began. We had taken the Salt Flats in Uyuni out of our plans due to lack of time and poor road conditions. However, we realized that we couldn’t let a bit of rain hinder us twice (Machu Picchu, we will see you one day!) so we booked a crazy set of tickets with good recommendations from travel agents and tourist. Here is a quick synopsis of the next 3 days.

Day 1.

Morning bus from Sucre to Uyuni. Half of the roads paved, half pot holes and dirt. 13 hours. Spirits were high as we bumped along in the sunshine. Enjoyed some pizza with british friends we met a day earlier.

Day 2.

Morning Jeep – 2 hours to Salt Flats (Amazing views! We got ‘the picture’). A thin layer of water floods the entire salt flats making it feel like you are standing on a giant mirror.

Jeep back 2 hours down bumpy road.

Evening bus to border. Most all unpaved roads, driver goes at least 80 kms/hr with a constant hammering as if we are in the worst massage chair ever made. 10 hours.

Day 3.

Unable to sleep and ‘woke up’ in the morning at 5.30 am in Villazon, the Bolivia/Argentina border. They don’t open the border until 6.30 and the line-up was already over 50 people long. 5 hours to get across the border.

Hungry, tired and sickly, we made it to Argentina and the last stretch of our bus trip. 6 hours to Juluy where we transferred and on to one last bus to Salta for 2.5 more hours. Unfortunately, we drove right through the worst lightning storm we have ever been in. Deep black clouds transformed day into night and non-stop lightning created an atmosphere of strobe lights surrounding our bus. Kendal’s knuckles were clenched white and I was pretending to be ‘brave boyfriend’ but we made it through.

… I just did the math, 40.5 hours of transit in three days. No wonder we slept well that night.

Here we are, smiling in Salta, Argentina. Bolivia was an awesome adventure.

j.

On to Mendoza to drink some well deserved Vino Tinto!

k and j

Highlight!

February 18, 2012

Highlight!

The highland mountains are very lush in the rainy season!

Colca Canyon, Arequipa Peru

Change of plans…

February 18, 2012

Initially we were going to try and make it to Machu Picchu through a 3 day jungle trek early this morning. This is really the only way to get to the site now as the trains going there are closed due to heavy rainfall. We were informed that a road we take as part of our trek now contains 2 massive landslides. It is rainy season after all! (As everyone keeps ‘reminding’ us). Our guide said it was possibly do-able but more dangerous and may take way longer. We decided not to push our luck and to leave it out for this tour. We also flipped a coin to leave our decision in fates hand’s, the odds were for us to stay.

SO here we are, a bit let down that it didn’t work after making it all the way here to Cusco but also feeling like it was the right decision with no regrets! That’s just travel. We are ready to explore some of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and then move on to Lake Titicaca!

Who’s up for a another trip to Machu Pichu in the dry season? :)

Chapter 3: Deserts

February 18, 2012

Travelling down Peru’s coastline provided some great beaches and sun. Volunteering in Lima was filled with amazing moments to last a lifetime. The ruins of Chan Chan were spectacular. Sandboarding Huacachina was a surreal experience.

 

A Temporary Home

February 16, 2012

The following entry is a blog we wrote previously but haven’t had an opportunity to post. We just arrived in Cusco after spending a few days in Arequipa and the Colca Valley with a great Canadian Couple we met along the way. It is amazing to see how quickly the land transforms as we enter the highlands from deserts to lush mountains. Here is our previous entry. We will update again soon!

Date: Feb 9th

It has been a while since our last entry and we have experienced a lot in that time. We are 5 hours south of Lima in a quiet (as quiet as South America gets) little Oasis town called Huacachina. This entry is a little long so please brace yourself.

Since leaving the Galapagos we spent 4 days in Mancora; a place known for parties, surfing and fresh ceviche. It was a great place to be for KGs birthday and an unexpected Australian day celebration.

We ate, we danced, we partied, we played agua volleyball.

From Mancora we continued on to Huanchaco (a quiet fishing village) and then Lima for a perfectly timed change of pace. As many of you know we were both very excited for this volunteer experience with a local organization called TarpuySonqo translated to ‘Spreading Love’.  In truth, I was a little bit skeptical on how much of a difference I could make in a short week. The experience completely surpassed my expectations and I am grateful for being so welcomed.

It is hard to put in to words exactly what we did and we were not allowed to document the majority of the places we went. Our program was titled ‘Orphanage Work’ but we still did not really know what to expect.

Upon arrival we were greeted into a beautiful family home that can house around 15 volunteers. The people that run and volunteer for this program are all amazing and I am sure we have made friends that will last a lifetime.

We had a couple days of orientation to learn about all of the different placement opportunities available within Lima. From there we were left with 5 days to volunteer at placements of our choice.

We spent the mornings working with children and youth with disabilities. Most had very limited to no motor functions and needed help with feeding and moving. We spent 3 mornings here and each day tried to bring a positive energy along with us. The clinic really appreciated our help as the nurses each have 6-8 children to care for. This is not an easy task at the best of times let alone during feeding times or if the children are having an off-day. My best memory that I will hold on to for a long time from here was when I brought my guitar in; seeing some of the kids with such joy in their faces while listening to the  music was a special moment. One child was fastened into his wheelchair with a skipping rope to prevent falling out. He used the ends as a microphone and held it to my face as I sung. We both had smiles on our faces that lasted for hours.

There were moments like this at each of our placements and I can say that they were all amazing experiences. Another placement we were involved with were working with a church in a very poor area of Lima. Here, Kendal and I taught a basketball class on a large concrete floor that we had built the previous day with many local community members and other volunteers. I still have the blisters on my hands from many wheelbarrows full of wet cement!

In the afternoons we volunteered at an orphanage called San Antonio for children ages 5-14. Most of these children do not have a family or have been abandoned at a young age. Kendal and I both really felt a connection to these kids as they are all so positive and full of energy. They all have such unique personalities and seemed to value our presence there. One day Kendal taught her first dance class in Spanish and it was very well received. I was the assistant to keep the kids in line and help with the steps. She’s a great teacher, even I was able to get it! One of the kids would run up to me each day I arrived and give me a big hug saying ‘Weff, Weff! Todo Bien?’. It was nice to be remembered and to see a smile when they kids saw us arrive.

I am loving our adventure.

‘weff’.

Introspection from the Peruvian desert. Here are some more reflections from our past volunteer experience

I think it is important to realize the brilliance everywhere in the world no matter how different it may be.

  On Tarpuy Sonqo

First off I want to commend the volunteers who are staying for quite some time and working hard for this organization. Good on you for really experiencing a different way of life and walking in the shoes of those around you. I know you all are having a positive experiences but I just wanted to say that appreciate and admire you.

  A view into a different world

The way of life at an orphanage or in a disadvantaged part of town, is something we are not used too. The children are craving love and affection. It was kind of surreal as it is different that what I am used to working with kids in the western world. It makes me think about our culture as we are staring to drift further and further from a need for interaction and a need for more “stuff” that usually brings about isolating counterparts. It is refreshing to see happiness inside out rather than happiness being based on the material things one has. I also thought about this a lot as we would ride the local bus each day and I would people watch the individuals around me. Most would be having a conversation or just contently watching the world go by. Different than our public buses ridded with technology dependance. I appreciate technology in our world I just enjoy a part of  this striking comparison that provokes thought and reflection.

    On volunteering

Back to volunteering.. There is sort of an idea that you will experience different emotions you when immersing yourself in a different situation as this. It is true that you do but really when you are truly into it with your heart it is easy to just see the place for what it is, and the minute you start working with someone you see through to the individual rather than getting stopped by their situation. This feeling is what we strived to hold onto throughout the week. This was easier to do because of the family we were  staying with. Our host family was so welcoming and genuine. They give up the privacy of their own home to complete stranger, in order to make a difference in their city. They truly believe that we can help and make changes, and this gives volunteers fuel. I am amazed by Lidia (our host mother) and supportive husband Juan for being who they are.

  On moments

There are many moments I had with different kids, teenagers, or adults that we worked with throughout the week, and I am happy for each moment either challenging or exciting. It is important to create moments. Moments that stand out, moments that mean something more to you,  or to someone else. Holding on to these moments  inspires you to recognize more moments big or small where ever you go…

     On lima

Going anywhere different I feel that I have a tendency to try and relate it to a place I have been before. Lima was different. I couldn’t really relate it to anywhere  I had been. The fact that it was so drastically different made it intriguing. On our one day off this past week we took a tour to the top of San Crystolbal to see the view of all of lima. I have never seen a sight like this before. A eerie sort of calm washed over Jeff and I as we stared at in awe. So many buildings so close to one another crowding the Peruvian Desert. It  felt quiet and still almost as though we were on the outside of an intricately intertwined world expanding faster than usual. It’s hard to know what we were feeling at that moment, but all I know as it was a moment to remember.

  On lending a hand

It seems a little weird sometimes coming into a different world feeling like you are going to help. Even if it is for a short period of time, we look at a person’s life and think “okay how can I use the skills I have to  enhance a certain life”. Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t, but regardless it’s about respecting the other individual’s way of life and appreciating them for who they are. Sometime people will surprise you.. you will be thinking wow I cant believe they live like this.. but then instantly that divide is broken down by seeing how happy they may be. That is something powerful and true.

  Being non-judgmental

This type of work, or travel always leads you to feel grateful for the world you are born into.. if you can take anything away from reading this blog, it would be to soak up the present moment and be non-judgmental with your own life and situation. With any experience, you get what you put in and you create how you feel about your world. Make sure that no matter where you are, you create moments and feel grateful for the life you have.

Be glad for the connections you have webbed around you that provide you the right amount of love. Feel lucky to be where you are living and proud to be in the life you’re in, no matter how much you have or wherever you may be.

Fill your heart.

Thanks for reading.

k.

Chapter 2: wild.life

January 31, 2012

Surrounded by wildlife on the Galapagos and a contrasting experience in Montanita.

This experience was so cool.

Adventure to the Galapagos

January 24, 2012

I sit here on the Galapagos Islands looking forward to a sun setting on the white sand beaches that are home to a plethora of intriguing wildlife.

 

 

Earlier today I sat on the lava rock as giant iguanas hissed seawater out of their noses at me as they crawled within feet of my perch. I could reach out and touch them as they are such docile creatures. I expected them to hiss at me and scurry away but they didn’t seem to mind my presence.

 

 

This place is surreal.

j.

__________________________________________

Jeff and I went to the Galapagos Islands not really knowing what to expect. We didn’t want to set our expectations too high as we were going on a tight budget and were just happy to be going at all.

When we arrived we went for a walk to the local pier for our first night in Puerto Ayora on the Island of Santa Cruz. A local volleyball game caught our attention as players from the town, young and old came to the court to play some hard-core v-ball with someone’s beat up soccer ball. All the locals were out watching hooting and hollering after the reff’s calls. Smiles and laughter all around the court, we were happy to be the only tourists apart of the crowd.

As we walked a little further to the pier a giant pelican came within sight on the dock’s railing. He sat there with a peaceful aura, staking the waters below for his late night dinner. We remained silent as we crept forward to get a better look. Our attention was then brought down into the greenish water below as the dock light was illuminating. To our surprise little manta rays slid through the water doing back flips and gracefully dancing below us. It was quite a thrill. At this moment we realized this place was rare . . .

Thank you Galapagos for showing us a great time. We enjoyed all the wonderful people, local boat tours, snorkeling, and hiking that we did. What a unique set of islands offering an unbelievable energy. Here are some visuals for you to see as well..

k.

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