Backpacking In Ecuador + Packing Tips


The counting down is over and the packing is down, I am off on my big adventure to Ecuador, via Atlanta. I am super excited, so much so that I have not slept properly and I just want to board the plane - I am also definitely one of those people who love flying...I love the take off, scrolling through the inflight entertainment, and I love aeroplane food {perfectly packaged into those trays ~ OCD heaven}

So, I have spent the last few weeks getting ready, reading up, planning, learning about the slums we will be working in, oh...and not learning any Spanish! I packed yesterday, after weirdly suffering from some kind of packing phobia (maybe because none of this actually feels real yet), but I got there in the end and this is my life-in-a-bag for the next 5-6 weeks...

I have a stopover in Atlanta first and will be staying with a good friend from my time living and working in India.  Ayanna and I worked together at Raffles Design Institute; the University I helped set up and run in Bangalore, and where she was heading up the Fashion department and I headed up the Interior Architectural department.  She left a few months before me so it will be amazing to see her, her family and hometown.  I have wrapped some presents for them, this picture will act as a good tease if she is reading this!

From Atlanta I fly onto Quito in Ecuador where I have a couple of days to acclimatise and get used to the altitude.  Quito is the second highest city in the world at 9,350 feet (2,800 meters above sea level) and I have never experienced altitude of any sort before so this could be interesting. The participants of the workshop are staying in apartments and I'm looking forward to meeting the people I'm sharing with. 

A few days to settle in and meet the other participants (academics, designers, architects, students) then we will take a tour of the slum areas we are working in and start to find out more about the aims and objectives of this workshop.  so far, i am aware that the main aim for this workshop is to develop design ideas for the "Buen Vivir" (meaning good living) neighbourhood.  It is hoped that these ideas and outcomes can inform and help shape the Urban Revolution Agenda in major Ecuadorian cities in 2013. A big challenge so lets see what we come up with!!

It's all very exciting but at the same time, as I don't know exactly what we will be doing until I get there, I am a little nervous too ~ but that just adds to the excitement. 


  • Use a large backpack so you can get it on your back and talk around easily

  • Use cable ties to secure zips closed when travelling and your bag is out of sight

  • Have scissors in an accessible place to cut the cable ties

  • Use a travel wallet and stash your valuable and cash in different locations on your and in bags

  • Scan and save copies of travel documents and your passport

  • Put travel documents in a waterproof bag

  • Use cloth bags to separate laundry and clean clothes, rustling of plastic bags is no ones friend

  • Bring some travel wash to hand wash your smalls

  • Use a travel towel or two as they're small and easy to dry

  • Pack a small first aid kit

  • Bring a travel adapter and spare batteries, cable, etc

  • Notebook and pens, keep postcard addresses in there