Appointing Myself as Ecuador’s Unofficial Tourism Ambassador

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You guys, I grew up in Ecuador. I spent the first 18 years of my life living there. I loved it, and it was a totally idyllic childhood.

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Fast forward to today. I’ve been to around 50 countries all over the world, and I still say Ecuador is super charming, beautiful, accessible and EVERYONE SHOULD GO AT LEAST ONCE.

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Lucky for me, my sister still lives there, so I have an excuse/reason to go more often than most.

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Look: tiny country, 4 distinct geological regions. Amazon jungle, Andes mountains, Pacific coast and Galapagos islands.

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Quito is one of the oldest colonial capitals in the New World, and the city has done so much restoration in the past 10 years. Downtown is a treasure trove of architecture and charm. And cobblestones and bare electrical wires strung between buildings.

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There is so much to do, see, experience and EAT, especially if you have savvy locals like my sister’s family to scout them out.

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We spent 12 days there over Christmas, and we were able to do and see so much in a short time, all with 4 kids 6 years old and under.

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Over the next several weeks I promise to INUNDATE you with photos.

And maybe I’ll even stop yelling about it at some point.

But really: PUT ECUADOR ON YOUR BUCKET LIST now.

The Coconut Man

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After breakfast one day, I caught something out of the corner of my eye.

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It was the coconut man, headed up the tree with rope and machete in hand.

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One by one, he climbed the palms barehanded.

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At each tree’s top, he’d tie the rope to the coconut bunch, then skillfully chop and lower the bunch to the ground.

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I watched as he climbed tree after tree, harvesting coconuts.

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And then he spotted me. And a little showing off was in order.

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That coconut man has some serious ab strength.

Mombasa Beach

I had one morning to walk on the beach by myself and shoot. Right away, this sweet young lady approached and asked if she could model for me.

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This new theme is making my photos wonky. Please click through to see the proper dimensions as I attempt to fix it.

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I had just wanted to shoot the fishermen and the boats on the wide, reflective flats of the low tide, but I couldn’t say no to her offer, especially since she basically planted herself in front of me and started wrapping and unwrapping her blanket.

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Her friend got in on some of the action, too.

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I was feeling self-conscious out there alone with my big, expensive camera, but if you don’t go out, you don’t get the pictures.

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So I shot my friends, and I watched the fisherman wait for low tide.

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Lamu County Life

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We visited in the middle of a terrible drought.

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Every day we checked the skies for slivers of white cloud, but there was none.

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Dusty billows spat from the wheels of our vehicle.

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A yellow-brown coating covered the green bush on either side of the roads.

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We hoped for rain; they were anxiously desperate for it.

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Crops were withering on their stalks; months, years of preparation wasted, and potential starvation facing every family.

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The Somali herders walked hundreds of miles with their herds, anxiously searching green bits to feed their charges.

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Hope seems far away.

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But as they’ve done for centuries, the people survive.

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They survive, make do.

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A dry and weary land in need of water.

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