Ever travel and find out you want to bring back home more than you can fit in your luggage? With this experience, we picked up a few tricks and lessons about how to go around this when you are trying to travel light.
Some of the items we brought (like the sharpies), expecting to use up and throw away. Except they were still useable so we let the owner of the Airbnb keep them.
We ended up leaving behind (starting top left to right): leftover cat food, a light jacket, a t-shirt, two electronic cords, a little glue applicator, a draw bag, four little cat toys. On the bottom row, we left behind two small fabric blankets, a bunch of sharpies, a bottle full of kitty treats, a few pairs of (cleaned) pairs of socks, three pillowcases, and a hand towel. On the floor, I also left my boots. We had brought John's combat boots and I just wore those back home instead. Having both of the shoes packed was just too much and wasn't worth dragging back. These boots had seen some better days and I should be able to get another from Walmart down the line anyway.
This does look like a lot doesn't it? Well, we flew over with two carry-on luggage (our backpacks), two personal bags, and a cat carrier. So this is actually is quite a lot when you look at it. Spirit was charging over $100 per extra bag so we weren't going to pay that!
During our last week, we did practice packing to make sure we could fit everything. This helped us to decide what we were leaving behind. We could either leave '[insert item here]' behind and take something new back from Ecuador...or is it worth lugging back with us? Many items were easily replaceable, it just was a bit unsure of when we could replace them. It also gave us another look at what we actually packed and what we possibly could just not bring next time. There were a few things I just rarely if ever touched.
We also had picked up a lot of various shells and rocks samples and later found out how heavy our item switch really was. Though it is worth it. So many unique pieces with tons of project ideas we hope to use them for! Some of these were split and given to siblings as Christmas gifts. We hope they enjoyed a piece of a beautiful country!
It was really exciting to lay everything out and start divvying up the gifts. We had almost 20 people to make gifts for and I think we succeeded! Everyone got to have a good sampling of Ecuadorian flavors. A lot of coffee, candy, nuts were split and of course, we kept a few samples of our favorites for ourselves too. My little sister's favorite candy from what she tried was the Mogoz gummies. Those were delicious and reminded me of sour straws! The last image shown is actually all of our rocks, shells, and Tagua nuts. I had them sorted such as the shells that were separated by 1) those to be given as gifts 2) our top favorite samples 3) shinies 4) pieces we want to use in other art projects. The Tupperware we bought in Ecuador and ended up using them as gift boxes fitting everything perfectly for each person.
We will plan better next trip so we can bring back more and leave behind as much as possible! Excitement will continue! Hope we can share what we make with the Tagua nuts and seashells as soon as we can get to them. Missing a few tools that we can only buy once we have moved to a more permanent location. Keep a lookout!