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Where Will You Go?

For Joanna McBride travel has always been about adventure and the resulting stories

When this is all over, I’m going to Ecuador.

Ecuador?… Seriously? … Why?

If they don’t say it, then rest assured that it’s coming in loud and clear from their inside voice. Some cock their head slightly… and just stare directly at me, as though I’d just told them that I was going to spend my vacation in my underground parking lot.

It really doesn’t matter how I present the country; how I frame my adventure, or to what degree I embellish my future journey prospects, I’m always met with the same puzzled look.

Ecuador doesn’t have that overabundant tourist lure… or popularity. Not yet, anyway. Nor does Ecuador lend itself to the demographic that frequent all-inclusives, five star resorts or time shares.

I get it.

People like convenience. People like to be pampered. They thrive on familiarity. Most sun-seekers and holiday enthusiasts expect relaxation in an atmosphere that is entirely void of stress. I too, enjoy this to a certain extent. There is nothing I love more than relaxation.

But… I enjoy my relaxation in the form of a good bubble bath, a bottle of wine, comfort food or full-body massage.


Not so much.

I would categorize myself as the kind of person who invites stress along for all of my vacations and get-a-ways. In fact, I insist upon it. If stress wasn’t willing to accompany me on my trips, I would personally pack for it and drag it along.

Let’s get this straight; I invite stress along in a somewhat different manner than most would think, or even want. I invite stress along in the form of adventure.

Flat tires. Broken down buses. Missed trains. Late check ins. Lumpy pillows. Awkward menu choices. Border patrol. Wrong directions. Sketchy hostels. Creepy strangers. Bad reviews. Language barriers.

Bring it.

This stress makes for the best stories; out of the best stories, come the best memories.

Out of the best memories, comes the desire to want to keep on traveling and keep on building upon these chronicles.

Of course, safety first, and I would never encourage anyone to chase stress or adventure by being too dangerous. Let intuition and common sense guide you… always.

I’m a firm believer in stress during adventure because without it, you would just come back with a nightmare of a slide show. No one wants to see four hundred pictures of you at the local zoo or all the sunsets you just couldn’t help but capture again and again.


The stress of the adventure makes each individual journey real. Every single hilarious story or scary situation or awkward moment, is yours.

In fact, anywhere I go, after this pandemic, I will gladly welcome any stress in the form of an unpleasant situation that wishes to accompany me. I will welcome it with open arms and let it work its magic to enrich my experience.

Long flights. Jet lag. Sand in my bathing suit. Cold showers. Thin walls. Torrential downpour. Stinky bathrooms.

And one thing I promise never to complain about again… crowds.

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