Two months from today, we will be embarking on a long, international journey. My very generous and well-traveled in-laws are treating the entire family to a 10-day excursion to Ecuador to visit the Galapagos Islands. When they first suggested this trip, I was intrigued. Honestly, I hadn’t had the Galapagos Islands on my list of places I must see on this planet, but how could I not want to go and experience what so few others have? How could I turn my nose up at an opportunity to see blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, and marine iguanas (iguanas that actually swim)? How many people get to walk where Darwin walked and see what Darwin saw? People talk about “the trip of a lifetime,” but this one truly is.
We’re not just taking any old tour, either. We’re taking the National Geographic Expeditions’ Galapagos Family Odyssey trip. We’re traveling with naturalists and photographers from National Geographic. It’s a family friendly voyage where we’ll have opportunities to swim with sea lions, snorkel with sea turtles, and stand feet away from the islands’ giant tortoises and where the boys will be provided special activities to enhance their experience. We’ll take six airline flights and spend 7-days aboard a small cruise ship. I’ve had to buy new luggage, expedition clothing, and shoes that can get wet. We’re doing research and reading about both Darwin and the islands, their flora and fauna, and their history. This is no lightweight island vacation where you lounge on a beach. This is an expedition of the highest order.
This vacation has been planned for over a year now, so I’ve delayed my enthusiasm and excitement to live with the wait involved. But today, as I looked at the date, it hit me that it’s finally almost here. I’ve got to brush up on my Spanish, review the trip packing list and determine what we’re missing, and try to figure out how I am going to blog daily from a ship off the coast of the Galapagos. I know I often write about living in the moment, but this is one of those cases when you have plan ahead to be appropriately prepared and to get the most from the experience. Two months from today I will wake up early, fly to Miami before boarding a plane for Guayaquil, Ecuador, and then step foot in South America for the first time. August 3rd will be here in a flash. Time to start taking this trip of a lifetime seriously.