After nearly six months of travelling with my sister, we’re splitting up. As I write this, Ellen is on a flight back to Saskatoon, where she’ll be for two weeks. Her plan is to go home, catch up with old friends, have a few nice beers from the local microbrewery, go shopping for things she can’t easily find in Latin America, and catch a couple of poetry nights. She’s considering it a vacation from her vacation. And why would she go to all this expense? While she’s there, she’ll also interview for a place at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the next step toward her lifelong dream of becoming a vet.

While Ellen is back in Canada getting her life together, I’m hanging out here near Quito. I wish I could say I was doing some lone adventuring while she’s gone, but instead I’m working on putting to rest those nagging worries that keep me up at night – making a dental claim on my insurance for the root canal in Popayan, getting my taxes done, and putting my banking in order. I also have to decide what to do about my tourist visa in Ecuador – I have three weeks left and need to figure out whether I’m leaving Ecuador as soon as Ellen gets back, or whether I should go on to Peru for a few weeks while she’s gone and try to get back in with a new visa. I’ve been assured that overstaying one’s visa isn’t considered serious here, but I know I’d be uncomfortable being in the country illegally.

My life over the next week won’t be nothing but errands, though. I’m going to take a day or two to explore Quito (first impression – UGLY!), find somewhere inspiring to do some writing, and maybe sit in a park with a sketchbook. I’m tempted to hitchhike somewhere new for a day or two as well, just so I can see more of Ecuador before my visa expires. Guayaquil sounds tempting – I’ve heard that while Quito is the conservative, business-minded city, Guayaquil is the liberal centre of the country. If that means Guayaquil is the San Francisco of Ecuador, I think it might be more up my alley. I haven’t made any plans, though. We’ll see where the wind blows me. And if that means I end up back at the farm in Mindo, that’ll be nice, too.

The not-so-pretty city of Quito, as seen from my hostel's amazing balcony

The not-so-pretty city of Quito, as seen from my hostel’s amazing balcony