Archive for Inspiration Posts

published in Beauty, Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 20, 2019 | 2 Comments

Welcome to the Jungle – Ecuador Photo Blog #5

 

MA, Lynne & gang on the Nepo River in the Amazon basin, Ecuador

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

– Robert Swan

Finding the above quote for today’s blog sure got me thinking.

This is the fifth & final photo blog about our Ecuador adventure…

After the Galapagos, we returned to the mainland (Cumbaya, a suburb of Quito). I love this photo…I was buying a belt from a guy outside a market and this old fella was supervising the transaction:

Basílica del Voto Nacional, Quito, Ecuador

Then we headed to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Our base was the ever so lovely La Casa del Suizo jungle lodge (I highly recommend it…the food was outstanding). From there, we did day trips as well as an overnight stay in a local community…right IN the rainforest (our hut was on stilts; the ants were HUGE).

Our mode of transportation was by boat on the Nepo River (a tributary of the Amazon River):

Amazon-sized leaves, primary forest

Yours truly ticking another item off the bucket list: hiking in the Amazon 🙂

Our community-stay in a local village…

Muddy trails

 

Margarite the matriarch

 

Goofing around with selfies (looking a little wild)

 

Goofing around with a blow gun

And look what we found on a tree in the village…if you look closely, you’ll see it is hundreds & hundreds of caterpillars:

Another thing we found in the village…two of our own group dubbed as princesses:

Lynne & Nancy were singled out (in a good way) by the local women for asking lots of questions

Back at the La Casa del Suizo, we heard an informative presentation by the sister (third from right, back row) of our Altropico guide, Sante. She works with OMASNE, an organization that raises awareness about mining development in Ecuador. Their hashtag is #Bosques Sin Mineria, which means Forests Without Mining.

Some of us in our OMASNE t-shirts

“Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.”

– E.O. Wilson

We also visited a butterfly farm just down the road from our lodge…

Check out the GOLD cocoons!

After leaving the butterfly farm, we walked past a school and I popped my head in a classroom and snapped this pic:

Not to be outdone by Lynne’s princess-status, I received some recognition of my own on the tour as a DOUBLE WINNER of the Party Animal Award AND the Sung Hero Award. No wait…I think it was called the Unsung Hero Award – but by the time I was finished wearing it for a few days, they may have had to rename it…a humble Double Winner I am not.

And that’s a wrap! Our adventure was truly a trip of a lifetime and I am beyond grateful that I was able to go. Thank you for sharing in my photo journey…and if you have a hankering to go to Ecuador yourself, I highly recommend traveling with Experience International and Altropico. I have been blessed to travel to many places but these two organizations ensured my time in Ecuador was a truly unique (and fun!) experience that I will never forget.

Thank you Charlie & Sante…and Lynne, of course, for putting up with me. Rooming with a Double Winner cannot be easy 🙂

About Experience International Study Tours

Experience International (EI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization based in Bellingham, Washington. Incorporated in 1988, their mission is to embrace and create opportunities for international understanding and human resource development through technical and cultural exchange in a wide spectrum of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture and natural resources. EI also works with community and choral groups of all ages that travel and often sing to celebrate human diversity, peace, and social justice; to exchange and share with local groups and communities off the beaten track.  Please click here for details. 

About Altropico

Altropico is an organization committed to social and environmental causes in the binational region of Ecuador and Colombia. They collaborate with indigenous, afro-descendant and mestizo organizations, with programs and projects oriented to the good living of their populations. Please click here for further info.

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Great Galapagos – Is that a Giant Tortoise or What?!

Surviving Inti Raymi – Ecuador Photo Blog #3

Magical Moran – Ecuador Photo Blog #2

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.

 

The Gift of Tough Love

“Today, I live where I want to live, do the work I believe in, and travel where I wish to go. I have a freedom I never thought imaginable. But not a day goes by that I don’t remember the tremendous cost at which this freedom came. John gave me everything he could in life and what he couldn’t, he gave me in death. As difficult as it was for our relationship to end with an argument, his tough love words turned out to be a tremendous gift.”

– Maryanne Pope

Need a kick-in-the-pants to get you back on track to achieving YOUR dream? 

You might want to read this article of mine that was recently published in Love What Matters:

What would you do if the death of your soul mate meant the birth of your dream?

‘I am so scared,’ I said to my husband, John, while walking our dog, ‘of waking up 20 years from now and still not having finished writing a book.’

John stopped, turned to me and said, ‘You’re probably right about that, Maryanne…just as long as you know that will have been your choice.’

Ouch.

Then he leaned back his head and laughed. ‘Geez,’ he said, ‘I can be a real jerk.’

But in all fairness, we’d been together for 12 years by that point. That’s a long time to listen to someone talk about writing—yet doing very little in the way of actual writing. John’s dream had been to become a police officer. It had taken him eight years to get hired and I had watched him every step of the way as he worked towards his goal. Little did I know he’d also been teaching me the perseverance it took to achieve a dream…

Please click here to read entire article.

A huge heartfelt thank you to Eliza Murphy at Love What Matters for sharing our story!

Maryanne & John, 1994

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.

 

 

 

 

 

published in Animals, Beauty, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 15, 2019 | 4 Comments

Great Galapagos…is That a Giant Tortoise or What?! – Ecuador Photo Blog #4

 

Iguana pals on rock, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

– Charles Darwin, 1800 – 1882

Wow, wow, wow…

From sea lions, sharks and dolphins to iguanas (land and marine), Blue Footed Boobies, Darwin’s famous finches, flamingos and, of course, the giant tortoises, seeing the wildlife of the Galapagos was a dream come true.

Our five days there were jam-packed with seeing animals, swimming, snorkeling, eating, boating, hiking…and locking out my travel companion’s credit card. Oops 🙂

Let’s start with the giant tortoises…

The males can weigh up to 500 pounds. A giant tortoise can live up to 150 years.

Whoops…wrong end.

Tortoise love

Iguanas…

Iguana in the mangroves, Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island

Iguana crossing

“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.”

– Edward O. Wilson

Sassy Sea Lions…

Sea lion yoga on dock, Santa Cruz Island

 

Sea lions lounging on park bench, Isabella Island

Snorkeling Shenanigans (Homo Sapiens)…

MA & Lynne happy on boat (before the credit card incident)

Team Snorkel

 

A delightful lunch on board…

 

Back home again in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island

Lovely Isabella Island…

White-tipped reef shark

 

Lone flamingo

And then we had crepes…

Right after this photo was taken, Lynne and I had a scrumptious feed of crepes and beer…possibly more beer than crepes, which might partly explain the credit card faux pas. When the time came for me to pay my bill, I cheerfully punched in my PIN. Wrong number. I punched it in again. Wrong number. I punched it in a third time, which is when I remembered that you only get three chances. Wrong number again.

“That’s odd,” I (finally) thought to myself then pulled my credit card out of the machine.

Except, of course, it was not my credit card. It was Lynne’s. No wonder my PIN didn’t work! So I casually handed Lynne her card back and said (rather softly), “Your card is probably locked out.”

“Pardon me?” she said.

“I’m pretty sure your card won’t work anymore,” I said sheepishly, then took another sip of beer (why stop now?).

It didn’t (which was confirmed after a rather panicky call to her credit card company). There ended Lynne’s access to her credit card.

Thankfully, she had a second card. So all’s well that’s end well. The moral of this story is be careful who you travel with. No wait…that’s not right. Always have a back-up credit card…yes, that’s the lesson here 🙂

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Surviving Inti Raymi – Ecuador Photo Blog #3

Magical Moran – Ecuador Photo Blog #2

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

About Experience International Study Tours

Experience International (EI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization based in Bellingham, Washington. Incorporated in 1988, their mission is to embrace and create opportunities for international understanding and human resource development through technical and cultural exchange in a wide spectrum of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture and natural resources. EI also works with community and choral groups of all ages that travel and often sing to celebrate human diversity, peace, and social justice; to exchange and share with local groups and communities off the beaten track.  Please click here for details. 

About Altropico

Altropico is an organization committed to social and environmental causes in the binational region of Ecuador and Colombia. They collaborate with indigenous, afro-descendant and mestizo organizations, with programs and projects oriented to the good living of their populations. Please click here for further info.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.