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Snorkelling with Sharks at San Cristóbal

“Tiburones! Tiburones abajo!” My heart sank. Only an hour before, I’d learnt that this was the Spanish word for sharks. Plural. And now I was about to swim over a whole school of them. “Los tiburones están aquí!!” I got the distinct impression our snorkelling guide was about to have a heart attack if I […]

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Volunteering with Children Abroad: the Issues You Should Know

When looking for volunteering projects in foreign countries, one of the first things to catch people’s eye is working with children. There are so many orphaned and impoverished children around the world in need of love, care and affection, and those of us who want to help know that we have the ability to deliver […]

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Six Days for $900: Doing the Galapagos on a Budget

“It’s clearly the cool thing to do here…” Sherri’s voice carried quickly in the early morning Galapagos air; a mother walking her son to school looked back at us over her shoulder. Along the road, cars filled with diving gear and men in board shorts passed by. “Everyone sits on the kerb outside closed up […]

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Colour, Chaos and Crazy Graffiti: Travelling the Age Gap

“Do you feel older than us?” asked Mhairi, as we sat in a cosy cafe on a Wednesday afternoon, discussing our travelling plans for the months ahead. I didn’t know how to answer for a minute. It’s a pretty loaded question to be honest, particularly when you’ve chosen to spend six months of your life […]

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Eating All the Food in Ecuador

As is often the way when travelling, my daily lifestyle in Cuenca tends to revolve around food. More specifically, the time of day and my location in the city dictates what exactly I’ll be eating. So there’s a strong likelihood that a bowl of fruit salad will be sat in front of me at 10:20 […]

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A Fiesta of Fireworks at School Founder’s Day

It’s been two months since I started working at Collegio Miguel Merchan as a voluntary English teacher. In that timeframe, there a few things I’ve become certain of. Firstly, teaching is not as easy as I thought. Secondly, there are elements of the Ecuadorian school system that I can never hope to understand. And finally? […]

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Cuenca to Cusco and Back Again: the Pitfalls of Planning a Trip to Peru

I stood in the small office, studiously trying to avoid the unflinching gaze of a prostrate Jesus. Under his crucified frame, a nun was peering at a computer screen, clicking idly through her Facebook page. “So…is it ok if I go to Peru next week?” I shifted uncomfortably as the nun looked me up and […]

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Learning the Ropes at the Rodeo

“Hola Piña! Como vas?!” I turned around for the fifth time in half an hour to see a group of girls eagerly clambering down the stone bleachers towards us. In front of me, the tall figure of ‘Piña’ – otherwise known as Jose, and still further known as my friend Sherri’s host brother – stretched […]

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Citizens of the World: A Manifesto

“Excuse me.” A middle aged woman passing our table stopped for a moment. She looked down her heavily made-up nose at us haughtily; a group of English girls in an Ecuadorian coffee shop on a weekday evening, eagerly discussing our travelling plans for the next few months. Clearly the concept was not at all appealing […]

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An Enlightening Easter in Montañita

“It’s basically Ecuador’s equivalent of Zante!” The words echoed through my head at 7am, as we bundled bags and bodies into the bus for a seven hour ride to Montañita. The tiny coastal town, encompassing just a handful of streets and a long stretch of beach, is a mecca for travellers, hippies and surfers, both […]

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