And so with all our best intentions, two days after arriving in Quito, Ecuador, sitting outside the Galapagos Islands Travel Operator, we negotiated our first major travel decision, and changed the course of our trip together.
Sue and Pete had a budget that we’d all agreed to. And I had a clock that had started ticking down. Rodrigo, our tour operator, had placed in front of us a deck of multiple last minute Galapagos tours. We now needed to find a “once in a lifetime” experience amongst the cards we were dealt.
Option A – 8 days on a boat, an itinerary that took us to remote areas of the Galapagos, a first class boat, a start date that required us to kill 5 more days around Quito, and a budget that was way over our limit.
Option B – 5 days on a boat, a very popular itinerary that would takes us on a well traveled Galapagos journey, a tourist boat (lower class size), and a start date two days away, well within our budget.
Given the options, our choice was pretty clear based on our going in parameters, but here came the wrinkle – what happens when you throw your constraints out the window? What happens when a long-term traveller wants the ‘once in a lifetime’ experience and is willing to negotiate on his budget? What happens when a short-term traveller willing gives up a few more precious days in one country to travel a little more in another?
You choose Option A.
Now there are consequences to our decision – Pete and Sue will be WAY over their budget, and I’ll be VERY short on time. Rather than continue leisurely with the twosome over land, I’ll be parting ways with Pete and Sue a little sooner than we’d planned, so that I can fly to and experience Machu Picchu in the seven days that I’ll have remaining on my trip. The twosome will slowly make their way in a more economical fashion and likely arrive in MP a little after I’m back at home.
But as I sit here on the catamaran soaking in the ecological idyll that caught my imagination during Biology 101 so many years ago, all I can think is Sue, Pete, and I now have one more adventure to add to our collective memories that we call our friendship. And what a memory it’ll be.