Just a small coastal town in Ecuador..
If you ever visit you may soon see or hear the words ‘I love Montanita’. The place is addictive and popular to many and has been for a few years. In the 1960’s it was a hippie hotspot, now its much more than that. Whether you are a local Ecuadorian visiting for the weekend, or a gringo like me just exploring somewhere new, Montanita is a place you may never want to leave. You can surf, scuba dive and party here. The sandy streets are almost like the Thai islands, with drink, food and market stands in rows leading to the ocean. I met some cool backpackers. Even better locals. At night I consumed way too much alcohol with sand between my toes. During the day I scuba dived including deep sea and night dives which were incredible. Some days I’d just hang out by the ocean in villages just outside of the main riffraff. There wasn’t a care in the world. Montanita was great. Its possible that sometimes you can get attached to a place whilst being detached from the world.
So I wrote this
blog letter whilst I was there. It almost comes across as a speech to attempt to inspire, to reflect and reminisce. Take what you want from it but if you’ve ever been to Montanita, and got caught up in it all, maybe this might relate to you afterwards.
The first day feels like an eternity ago. I’m now sat here at my hostel, with all my fellow new and old backpacking friends all gone. I feel alone, I am the only one left. Even people I know work here have gotten the f*ck out of this place. It can be too much. But in the mist of it all, its exilerating. It’s tempting and comfortable. It’s a happy place. It’s enthralling. It’s new. It’s electric. Night after night hitting the parties from Hola Ola to Cocktail Street. Partying late on the beaches until the sun comes up. Sleeping until the afternoon haze of the skies linger. This place is small version of Koh Phangan island. It’s weaving lanes full of bars, restaurants, street stalls, promoters, stray dogs, motorbike traffic, surf boards and local tourists. There is something about this place that is addictive. We know we have to get out, we know we should. Our plans are more than this. We want to see more. But sometimes, we have to take advantage of what is within us. Sometimes, when I’m in a group, a cult, a place like this, where everyone is happy, I look around, and think ‘ We will never be here again’, ‘ Embrace this’, I think ‘This is life’. And as much as there are times we are desperate to get out, but we convince ourselves ever so easily for ‘One last night’ we need this kind of place you know? We need a break from the buses, from the constant new surroundings and ‘new beginnings’. We live for these kind of places you know? These places are what travelling can be about. This is what life is. It’s all around us. What we want. Freedom.
And when we look back, we will have found memories. At first, we may think ‘We stayed here too long’. But when we do look back, whether its in our minds of the memories, the conversations or the photos online, we will think ‘ That was awesome’. Some of the best times happen when you get stuck. But we have a guilt in the modern world to feel we need to do more. We are now programmed or at least taught to think that way. Sometimes we have to have it like this. The best times of your travels are the best times. We feel the unknown may present the best times, but who knows when you have this togetherness once again? With the same people, it will almost never, ever happen. But that bond with other backpackers, minds are free, un-sober, and able to laugh and love so easily. We want that intoxication. It’s a new world for a night. And we can do it all over again. For we are the backpackers of the night. It ruins us and our dreams during the day, but as the night shades over, the place sets up, we live for these moments. Because moments and places like these, will forever be in our memories and in our future plans.
Partying is about socialising. Socialising is the biggest backpackers trait. ‘Where you from? Where you going next? Where have you been?’ People, backpackers, living for now, in the moment. It doesn’t matter what you have done, it’s about now. Where you come from doesn’t matter. When you get to this place, it’s inside of you already. The music amplifies that. The alcohol develops that. Your free soul encourages and wants that. We are ready for here. We want to get out but we can’t. The black holes of travelling. This one, is in Ecuador. This one is Montanita. Why not treat yourself to not remembering things. Instead of taking photos for you maybe to look back in the future, maybe forget that. And just feel what you are in. What you are part of. Things can never be replicated nor be done justice via social media. You have to be there, feel there, do there, live there.
Montanita, I may not see you again. But I tell you what, I will finally leave you. But, I’ll never forget you.