Born and raised in Indiana, Brooke is an adventurer, endorphin junkie, and lover of the outdoors who has traveled to five continents. A freelance multimedia journalist, Brooke’s craft enables her the freedom to travel. Brooke is fascinated with languages and can order a coffee in Hindi, sing Swahili lullabies, and ask for directions in Mandarin.
A Dream Come True
I honestly felt like The Clymb’s Ecuador & Galapagos trip was created just for me. I loved hiking in the breathtaking Cotopaxi National Park and summiting Cotopaxi. One of the best days we had was mountain biking through the East Andes in the morning, hiking up and down a stunning waterfall, and zip-lining in the evening. If I had to choose a favorite activity from the entire trip, it would be snorkeling in the Galapagos. I just kept repeating, “este es mi sueno hecho realidad,” meaning “this is my dream made a reality.”
My packing list is always written in orange sharpie. I start making a list from my feet up. For this excursion I knew I’d need my running shoes and Chacos. I brought active clothes suitable for a warmer climate. I could’ve used a few more warm clothes when staying in the mountain region of Ecuador. However, that gave me an excuse to buy an alpaca sweater. If I plan to shop for local or interesting clothes on a trip, I’ll purposefully not pack the items I think I’ll buy to free up room in my bag for one-of-a-kind treasures. I also always bring my water bottle and protein bars for flights. My favorite item to bring on my travels is my camera, and I never forget a set of earplugs.
Giovanni, Sebastian, and José are the best guides I have ever had the pleasure of traveling with; Ecuador Pure Life spoiled us with these guys! Sebastian helped me with filming and being able to go ahead of the group to get the best photo vantage points. Giovanni is an encyclopedia of information about Ecuadorian culture and environment. He even met up with me in Quito weeks after the trip had ended to show me around his hometown. José was our driver, but he was way more than that to all of us in the group. He is learning English, and is one of the most charismatic people you’ll ever meet. Santiago is an incredible freediver in the Galapagos, so we had a lot of fun snorkeling and diving around the archipelago.
The Galapagos archipelago has a stunning array of wildlife. Giant tortoises are found only two places in the world, and seeing these Jurassic-looking creatures up close was a true dream of mine. I snorkeled with sea turtles, sea lions, sea horses, stingrays, penguins, and blue-footed boobies. I gained a newly found love of llamas along the way too!
When landing in Quito, keep in mind the airport is about 45 minutes to the city. If you’re on layover or have time to kill at the airport, head to the international terminal for a coffee from Juan Valdez Café (tell Santiago I said hello!) and strong, free Wi-Fi. Also, languages are a skill that continually need to be used and perfected. I improved my Spanish immensely on this trip. If you plan on doing some serious photography or video, pack a carbon fiber tripod. They’re lightweight and sturdy!