Published: Nov 30, 2022
Today was the first full day we had completely off. And my goodness, we needed it.
I should explain that I’m Jewish, and whilst I’m personally not religiously observant, my family is, and they keep the Shabbat – the Jewish day of rest. They aim to observe it as traditionally as possible on our trip, so last night began with a Friday night dinner, and today, we’ve all been sloths. That being said, I’m trying not to sleep too much, as I’ve had a sneak-peek at tomorrow’s itinerary and I think it’s probably best if I make 4am as easy as possible by not getting accustomed to the luxury of anything past 7am….
With regards to our day of rest, I was so touched by how respectful the locals we’ve interacted with have been, helping us to honour “Sabato” and doing everything they can to understand it. As with every time we go to an unfamiliar place, before starting our travels, my family were discussing whether it would be dangerous for the male members of our family to walk around wearing their Kippot (skull caps), and my brother even asked whether he should take off his Star of David necklace. But so far, we’ve only had positive experiences with regards to our religious and cultural identity, which we’ve been grateful for.
Anyway, as I’m a week into my trip now, I thought I would reflect on some things I’ve learned so far:
1. Closing my suitcase will always be a seven-person job. In every location we’re in.
2. That being said, it’s becoming abundantly clear that we aren’t unpacking much at all.
3. As much as I complain, 5am is a really beautiful time of day.
4. It is so incredibly difficult to switch off from work back home. But it’s also incredibly difficult to actually do work efficiently from out here – I’ve had many moments where I’ve felt self-conscious about how not-with-it I’ve sounded in my emails!
5. Apropos emails: I’ve realised that not receiving emails is 100 times sweeter than usual when I’m on a break. And receiving emails is 100 times more stressful than usual when I’m on a break.
6. Having no Wi-Fi for the majority of the day is the best thing ever.
7. Jet-lag is tough, even when it doesn’t seem tough. When travelling, I think it is so important to be extra aware of the fact that thoughts can take on an anxiety-based structure more than usual, and to practice the art of releasing oneself from the grip of those thoughts. I’ve had times on this trip where I have had to tell myself that my thoughts aren’t to be taken seriously; they’re just ‘jet-lag thoughts’.
8. The high altitude in Quito is giving all of us really, really weird dreams.
9. The term ‘vegetariano’ doesn’t always mean vegetarian out here. We found out the hard way…an unexpected shrimp made a surprise appearance in one of our dishes. My family are trying to keep Kosher as much as they can on the trip, so they’ve settled for vegan and vegetarian options – the closest to Kosher that’s possible, given our itinerary. And I’ve been vegetarian for the last 12 years, so our dietary restrictions are pretty much the same here. Hence it was very interesting for us to discover that a vegetarian dish in Ecuador very often means that the main ingredients are vegetables, but may also contain meat or fish…
10. I feel so lucky and grateful to be on these travels, and with my family. This hit me properly today.
So there we go – I’m using the day to reflect, relax, catch up on emails and messages, start reading The Book of Hope by the legendary Jane Goodall, and do a bit of exercise. And trying to avoid thinking about how tiring tomorrow will be…
Location for the day = bed