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The Dandy one signs Off

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It seems almost a lifetime ago that I said goodbye to my father that cold Wednesday morning of August, 2017, with a giant ball in my throat. I turned away, so he wouldn’t see the tears in my eyes, because I knew I wouldn’t see him for a long time, if ever. As I descended down the stairs I looked back one more time at his warm smile and saw his eyes sparkling equally. I was scared. I thought of running back and hugging him one more time, and I am not sure what stopped me from doing it.
I have gained many things from my trip to Ecuador. I have seen a plethora of astoundingly beautiful sights and, as it happens, some ugly ones as well. I arrived a young boy and am leaving a man, with many adventures behind me and stories to tell my friends back home.
I have learnt that although it may be lots of fun, I am not a philanderer, because I love to wake up next to a beautiful woman, watch her slowly opening and revealing her hazel-brown eyes, blink a few times, and smile, which prompts one to …

Don’t leave your common sense at home

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Currently, most of Europe and North America are baby proofed. Some health and safety regulations would make Darwin shake his head with a bemused smile. E.g.: If one goes to a hotel in the United States, the shower cap clearly explains that it “FITS ONE HEAD”. Or if one buys an iron, the box will say “WARNING! DO NOT IRON CLOTHES WHILE WEARING THEM!

So while Andre and I were sitting in a café in Quito on my last day before flying to Dallas, we discussed the fact that most people would deem Ecuador dangerous, simply because it’s not baby proofed. We both agreed however that this is exactly why it is so beautiful and exciting. One must make judgement calls like, “will that rope take my weight?” or “should I dive into the lake from that bolder or could I hit a rock below and die?” 
So for those who might have troubles with making these decisions, we came up with 33 rules that these people might find useful during their trip to Ecuador, South America, or generally most places in the world…

Spiritual Crisis

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“Philosophy estranges us from the familiar, not by supplying new information, but by inviting and provoking a new way of seeing.” – Michael Sandel (Political philosophy professor at Harvard University)
Three weeks ago, because of the books I had been reading, I was questioning a lot of things in my life. For example, who I was in the grand scheme of the world or if I was the person I imagined myself to be. Was I the person that my parents and education had shaped me into, like a piece of clay or a tabula rasa, or just the mere reflection of my immediate friends and acquaintances. Or perhaps, I was born to fulfill something greater than I am, in which case I would have to possess my very own personal qualities that are independent from my surroundings and past.
These thoughts soon led me to truly examine whether I believed in a higher power of any sort, after which I arrived at the question of what was real and what was simply an illusion created by others or my own mind.
Too much thinkin…

Secrets of a River

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Two weeks ago, Saturday afternoon, the Wilf and I set off for another trip, this time a little shorter than around Christmas. We headed to Celica and stayed the night at a hostel which was by the main square. After suffering through the 'comforting' sounds of the night (motorcycles buzzing, people shouting and singing with alcohol-induced confidence and vocal talent), we woke up early and got a lift from the owner of the hostel and his son. The old man took us to his favorite spot on the river, which ran in the valley next to the town, and led us to an astonishing river pool. The water was crystal clear, with tadpoles swimming around the bottom. Wil even tried catching some with a stick, but had no luck. On the other side of the river, two giant boulders sat in the water belittlingly. On the stones we could see a giant iguana, which to me was an extraordinary experience, because before I had only seen them in movies or on the cover of National Geographic. After posing for photo…

Divine comedy and friendship

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“Gee but it’s great to be back home, home is where I want to be.” – Simon & Garfunkel
So there I was, posing for a photo on the bank of a magnificent river pool near the Peruvian border, thinking about my life, my goals, my ex-girlfriend and my future, and all of a sudden a deep sense of peace came over me. Everything went quiet in my mind. I could only hear the merry chirping of the birds, the sound of water flowing into the lagoon and Wilfred’s voice calling out, “Ollie, a little to the left. No! Go back. There. Stay there.” I felt calm, happy and peaceful. And I realized, I felt at home, because even if just for a few seconds, that was where I wanted to be: in nature with a true and sincere friend.
Lately I had been feeling morose, mainly because I felt homesick. The problem was that I had looked at pictures of Budapest and I realized that my home wasn’t Budapest anymore. I knew, if I had flown back, I wouldn’t have been happy. I wouldn’t have felt like I had finished what I star…

El Gringo valiente (The brave Gringo)

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Over the three-day weekend my friends and I went to Quilotoa. I had already been there once, but it was half a year ago with my dear friend Charlie, but this time it was during the rainy season, which made the whole experience very different.
We set off Thursday night, and arrived near Latacunga at six in the morning, from which point we took a taxi to Quilotoa and was there in an hour. After checking into our hostel we decided to go down to the lake. Let me just say that it looked closer than it was. “Nature lies, people!”
Walking down was challenging enough already, but Erato told me that going up would be even harder. The cold wind mixed with the dense humidity cut through our clothes like butter.
Once we got down, Brian, Beth, Erato and myself went kayaking on the volcanic lake. After paddling around for a while, it started raining, which dampened our lively moods on the water (pun intended). Once we successfully guided our kayaks back to shore, we set off back to the top of the …