Hello! Good evening/super early morning!

I have filled and emptied my big ‘ol hiking backpack multiple times, with no success. “…be aware that passengers are allowed to check a maximum of only 25 pounds (11 kg) of luggage, plus a small carry-on bag. Please plan accordingly when you pack for your trip!” Twenty-five pounds? My fat small dog weighs more than that. I probably use more than 25 pounds of cocoa butter in a year. I’ve probably gotten more sand stuck in my swimsuit at the beach than that. Twenty-five pounds doesn’t provide a lot of wiggle room. That small excerpt from the Course Information Packet has been the cause of much frustration these last couple days. I have to fit all of this:

Into this:

Packing sucks because I make everything too heavy. I am that person who, for a five day trip, packs 8 pairs of shoes ‘just in case’. I literally have a travelling pharmacy nestled my carry on bag right next to my knitting.

I am equal parts nervous and excited. My biggest source of anxiety is the packing, getting weird illnesses, and also Atlanta Airport.  Did I bring too much? Did I bring enough? Did I even bring the right things? What if I get scabies? What if I get some rare disease and get quarantined in Ecuador for three years? I suppose one can ‘What if?’ themselves to death. In Atlanta, I have an hour to gather my whereabouts after landing and hot foot it over to my connecting flight, but my gate for that flight is still listed as n/a. I am not always good at things; I’m worried I’ll do something dastardly dumb and as a result miss my flight. But, there is no turning back now! The show must go on, dumbness be damned.

I’ll arrive in Quito late Monday (May 28th). The next day we’ll take a day trip up into the Andes and visit the hot springs! I’m looking forward to the hot springs part. I am now just finishing up packing and getting the nervous wiggles out of my system. With more to come, this is Jungle Adventurer Riley, reporting from a pre-jungle location, over and out.