With all the xmas festivities out the way and fresh off the slopes of the Swiss Alps I’m craving 2 things – sun and surf.
Luckily on Sunday I’ll be well on my way to both of these as I jump on my first flight of 2014 and begin my next adventure…
South America Bound
Yup I’m heading back to South America – or to be more precise to Ecuador. I first visited this rather overlooked south american country back in 2008 during my final year university project, when I headed to the bustling surf town of Montanita to document the fledgling industry of eco surfboards.
If you’ve been a long term reader of the site you’ll also be aware of the fact I headed back there again a couple years ago after landing my dream job as a surf instructor.
And given the fact I want to sit still for a bit after a pretty hardcore stint of backpacking travel in 2013 I could think of no better place that was easy on the wallet, full of fun and had some epic surf right on my doorstep. So that’s what I decided to do!
I’m heading back to Montanita for at least a couple of month to simply unwind, unpack, save up some money and pass on some surfing stoke working as a surf coach again.
In Good Company
Not only that but I’m being joined by two awesome buddies of mine – Gijs and Tink.
Some of you may remember Gijs – he worked with me for 3 months on my last trip to Montanita and then joined me for a month whilst I was based in Taghazout, Morocco early last year. He’s an epic guy to be around and statistically he’s also the person I’ve spent the most amount of time with since I started travelling! That’s what I love about travel – a chance meeting can turn into many adventures and life long friendships. Needless to say I’m pretty stoked to be sharing some waves with him again.
Tink is also another friendship forged on the road – I first met her whilst living in Byron Bay, Australia back in 2010 on my first long term solo trip. She’s a mental girl to hang around with and has plenty of stories to tell too – she’s spent the last few years working the luxury yacht circuit navigating the globe and enjoying some pretty damn epic adventures. Since I have her joining me for a few months I’ll see if she’ll spill some of her adventures for you guys!
She’s got the surfing bug in the last few years and is hoping to get her instructor certification after a few months of wave hunting in South America with me.
Finally is Vago – this loveable Ecuadorian was my partner in crime during my last stay in Montanita and my fellow surf coach. He’s been bugging me over the last couple of years about coming back to surf and party with him so I’m pretty damn excited to see his face again…and of course all the other awesome staff from Montanita Spanish School!
Explore Some More
One of my biggest regrets on my last trip to Ecuador was not exploring the country more. I literally sat in Montanita for 3 months and surfed! At the time it was exactly what I wanted to do but in hindsight I feel like I neglected an opportunity to really get under the skin of the country.
This time around I’m vouching to take more mini adventures to places like Manta, Cuenca and Quito to explore more of the latino culture and the awesome history that Ecuador is full of.
…as long as the surf isn’t pumping of course!
I’m also hoping to fit in another trip to the Galapagos Islands too – budget permitting – as I REALLY want to dive with the schools of hammerheads out there. I miss out last time but armed with my new found love for scuba diving and all my free diving kit hopefully I’ll have an even more epic adventure second time around!
I’ve also booked an onward flight from Peru – so after I’ve finished up in Ecuador I’ll be heading back there for a few weeks. No idea of the plan there though, but I’ve got plenty of time to sort that out!
The Aim Of The Game
I know a lot of travellers will wonder why I’m returning to a place that I spent so much time in for another long stint – and to be honest I pondered my decision for a while before making it a solid plan.
But the aim of the first part of my year though is to get my finances in order, but I also didn’t want to sacrifice the surf and sun to achieve that.
For me Montanita is one of my favourite backpacking surf destinations and the fact I know the town, know the locals and I’m being joined by 2 of my travel buddies means my overheads are pretty damn low (I’m aiming to spend under £300 per month!) and coupled with work for accommodation means I can really tighten up my belt and allow my freelance projects to slowly build up my bank balance!
I’m also pretty stoked to be able to unpack and settle for a few months again.
The end result will hopefully be a relaxed Chris with a health bank balance, recharged and ready to see some new parts of the world and experience all the chaos along the way!
I’m stoked to be heading back to Latin America – roll on the mojitos, surf and salsa!
Have you explored Ecuador at all? Any places or experience I should add to the list?