NYE lessons from Ecuador

Australian New Year’s Eve traditions mostly involve drinking hard, watching fireworks and calling it a party. This is followed by spending 1 January sleeping it off. Where Christmas Day is family time, NYE Down Under means time with friends. In Ecuador, I was introduced to the tradition of making and breaking monigotes (mon-ee-GO-tez): life-sized replicas of yourself and people you know. These effigies are also known as muñecos … Continue reading NYE lessons from Ecuador

My biography, as told by my booze

A personal atlas of alcohol.

Before you get the wrong impression, this post is not about booze-filled nights from my backpacking days. It’s an anthology of anecdotes and memories, linked by a common theme: alcoholic beverages.

My discovery of different drinks parallels some important memories. These are what I’d like to share with you.

So let me take you from my childhood, all around the world and back home again. In this brief autobiography, I’ll let the alcohol do the talking. Continue reading My biography, as told by my booze

How South America messed me up good

People always ask me about my time in South America. Some are genuinely interested, while for others it’s the polite and logical thing to ask. In either case, the truth is that these conversations have started to get a bit repetitive and I’m often left wishing I could say more than: that Latinos are warmer; that Andean dishes contain too many carbs; that working with survivors of child sexual abuse was hard as you’d imagine but so rewarding; that I’m not sure how to answer your question about how good my Spanish is.

The worst thing is that I can’t seem to do Bolivia and Ecuador justice – not in a brief conversation that could turn to a different topic at any given moment.

So below are a few noteworthy things I don’t generally get to share about the impact that my time in South America has had on me as a person and who I am now. Continue reading How South America messed me up good

The photos you delete anyway

I’ve finally gotten around to the task of going through the 12,000+ photos I took in my two years in South America to select which ones to delete, which ones to keep, and which ones to develop and stick in my photo album. It’s a helluva task. Lesson learned: stop taking so many photos. You don’t need 20 pictures – over split second intervals – of someone … Continue reading The photos you delete anyway