I'm sure you all have a friend, family member, or at least a distant acquaintance that have packed up their lives and flew off to a faraway land without ever looking back.

You may have thought they were crazy at first, "why would they ever want to leave their lives here and go to some sketchy country where they could get robbed or worse?"

But then they jet off on their adventure and you start seeing pictures of their trip all over Facebook and Instagram. Maybe you started to get a little jealous and started to rethink your initial judgement. Why couldn't that be you standing at the top of the 15,000 foot mountain basking in the breathtaking view or swimming in crystal blue water with the giant sea turtles?

Well, I'm here to tell you why it can be you!

Couldn't have asked for a better place to celebrate my bday ?

A photo posted by Mia Shabsove (@miashabsove) on

I recently went travelling for a month and a half and it was the best decision I've ever made. I started my adventure in Quito, Ecuador then I flew over to the Galapagos Islands and then lastly, Costa Rica. Taking a trip like this may seem a little daunting, or a lot daunting, but I can honestly say that I don't regret it for a minute.

The scariest part about planning a trip like this is booking the flights. That's the first step and it's usually the most terrifying because once you've booked those flights there's no looking back. They can also be very expensive depending on where you decide to go.

Catch me if you can ??⛰

A photo posted by Mia Shabsove (@miashabsove) on

I know that sometimes it's hard to justify spending that much money but trust me it's worth it. The best way to help ease your mind into spending thousands of dollars on a trip, is to save up. Give yourself a few months or, if you need it, a year to put away a little bit of money from each pay check into a jar, or a separate bank account, dedicated to your trip.

Once the time comes, you'll be ready to book those flights!

Next stop: Galápagos Islands ???

A photo posted by Mia Shabsove (@miashabsove) on

The trip I went on was part of a program at my university which sends 16 biology students every year over to the Galapagos Islands to participate in conservation work and research on a reserve.

My adventure began in Quito, Ecuador which is a very cheap and entertaining city. While half of our group went to the Amazon Rainforest, I stayed back with the other half to experience Quito.

We spent the first 6 days venturing out to various towns outside of the city where we saw amazing waterfalls, bought traditional alpaca sweaters at bustling markets, soaked in natural hot springs heated by the nearby volcanoes, and hiking thousands of meters above sea level up Pichincha volcano!

Just chilling in some natural hot springs heated by the volcano beside us #nobiggie

A photo posted by Mia Shabsove (@miashabsove) on

We stayed at the Secret Garden Hostel while we were there, which is probably one of the best hostels you'll find. Everyone there is insanely friendly and it's so easy to meet people from all over the world. You wake up and get to eat breakfast with an amazing view of the entire city of Quito.

After the rest of our group returned from the Amazon, we took our second flight over the Galapagos Islands. This is where the bulk of our trip began. We spent the first week island hopping and exploring the unbelievable ecosystems.

been here a few hours, already tan❤️ #cgpconcordia2016

A photo posted by @catherinewd on

The first day we took a boat over to a place called Kicker Rock, which is a giant rock in the middle of the ocean which is home to some amazing species inside and outside of the water. We were insanely lucky and got to snorkel with multiple sharks, rays and fish!

The next day we hopped on another boat from San Cristobal Island to Santa Cruz Island and spent the day at a Giant Tortoise reserve where they study and protect the magnificent animals.

Hung out with some giant tortoises today ? Fun fact: they live for 200 years!!!

A photo posted by Mia Shabsove (@miashabsove) on

The most insane thing I experienced on the Galapagos Islands was a snorkelling excursion we took to Los Tunnels on Isabela Island. The tunnels are formations of volcanic rock that formed after a volcano erupted and while the top layer of volcanic rock dried, water rushed through the bottom causing these tunnels to form.

On this snorkelling trip our guides pushed us down into caves full of sleeping sharks, we swam right beside the biggest sea turtles I've ever seen, we got up close and personal with a sea horse, and posed face-to-face with Galapagos penguins!

Penguins in South America?

A photo posted by Nathalie Jreidini (@natjreidini) on

We spent the next two weeks volunteering on a reserve doing our research and conservation work which was the main purpose of our trip. We eradicated invasive species, learned all about the process of conservation, and researched Darwin's Finches on the island.

At this point in the trip we were able to seriously get in touch with nature and absorb as much information from our knowledgable guide, Cesar, the owner of the Jatun Sacha Reserve. Of course it wasn't all hard work, I spent a whole lot of time napping in hammocks too. 

It's machete time #squad

A photo posted by Mia Shabsove (@miashabsove) on

After we completed our two weeks of volunteering on the reserve, our time on the islands and as a group was almost at it's end. We flew back over to Quito and spent our last couple days exploring more of the city before most of the group travelled back over to Canada.

I continued on with two other friends to a hostel called Secret Garden Cotopaxi, which is an amazing hostel located at an altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level at the foot of the active Cotopaxi volcano.

We mountain biked beside giant mountains and caught our own trout for lunch, walked to more amazing waterfalls, and did another high altitude hike to the top of Pasachoa volcano, 4,200 meters above sea level!

Taking a well-deserved break with Milo at the top of Pasachoa ⛰ 4,200 m above sea level

A photo posted by Mia Shabsove (@miashabsove) on

At this point you're probably all a little overwhelmed with this crazy adventure I'm throwing at you right now. Bear with me, it's unfortunately coming to an end. At this point, my two friends and I finally made it our last destination, Samara, Costa Rica.

This was the lazy leg of the trip. We spent a relaxing 5 days on the beaches of Costa Rica, basically just soaking in our last moments in paradise.

A photo posted by Mia Shabsove (@miashabsove) on

After my month and a half long adventure across Ecuador and Costa Rica, I was left feeling rejuvenated and inspired. While you're travelling you're able to leave all of your real life worries behind you.

Instead of focusing on the drama between your friend group, you get to swim underneath a flowing waterfall in the rainforest. Instead of stressing about your nearing deadlines at work, you get to drink wine with a view of a snowy mountain. Instead of dealing with your landlord, you can lounge on a beach surrounded by sea lions.

For whatever reason you're hesitating to pack up your bags and travel, let it go and take my advice: go travel right now!!


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