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Living the Adventuress Life: traveling the Amazon & having surgery in Ecuador.
January 22, 2016
Dear VIA (Very Important Adventuress)

Welcome to another edition of Living the Adventuress Life, the e-zine from

In this issue, we want to tell you about our new magazine site map, tell you the story of the first woman to travel the length of the Amazon River, and share with you what it’s like to have emergency surgery in a foreign country..

New magazine Site Map

At the suggestion of Associate Editor & Adventuress Cam, we’ve added a new site map page where you can search for real adventuress’ stories by COUNTRY! CHECK IT OUT HERE

Adventuresses in History

The earliest known woman to travel the length of the Amazon—in the 18th century—was Isabela Godin, and her story is one of love and tragedy.

Here’s the story of how Jacki Hill-Murphy put together a small expedition of women to follow Isabela’s journey through the Amazon. READ THE STORY

My emergency surgery in Ecuador

For the past four years I have lived high up in the Andes (8,300 feet) in Cuenca, Ecuador. Every month I pay $73 into the government’s “socialist” health care system.

Last Wednesday I had emergency gall bladder surgery at the Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social (IESS) hospital, performed by a man who could play a visiting South American doctor on Gray’s Anatomy, Dr. Dario McDreamy.

Four days and three nights made for an interesting cross-cultural experience. Most staff speak b-a-s-i-c English. It was part of their formal training, but they are shy. I got smiles when I asked (in Spanish), “Do you want to practice your English with me? Or do you want me to practice my Spanish with you?” So almost all the time I spoke my Me-Tarzan-You-Jane Spanish.

Under stress and the influence of liquid pain meds, you can get language-disoriented. I forgot the word for arm is brazo. I used the word arma, so what came out of my mouth in Spanish was, “I have pain from here to here in my gun.”

Staff you see on Gray’s Anatomy, walking around with clipboards, in this hospital carry open laptops crooked in one arm.

The worst part was waiting 20 hours in emergency with no food or water (I had an IV) while tests were taken and surgical arrangements made. In this land of no ice, they do not give you an ice cube to suck on. I learned I could ask for little wet towels for my dry mouth, out of which I could secretly suck some moisture. The constant bright lights and activities prevented any sleep. I was so bored I was reduced to trying to use the Spanish dictionary app on my cell phone to translate the labels on drawers.

After the surgery, I was in a 3-bed room. I learned there are no televisions in any of the rooms at IESS. There are also no pretty paintings on the walls, which of course gave me an idea for a new volunteer project….

When a nurse comes to take your vitals, or for any other reason, not just one comes. Often, at least three. They seem to move in smiling, friendly flocks, like perky sparrows.

This is a touchy-feely environment. When someone speaks to you they may touch your shoulder, arm or hand. I liked that.

My new Spanish vocabulary includes: Vesículo Bilial (Gall bladder) Aspire profundo (Breath deeply) Orinar (to pee) Puntas de suturas (stitches) Pinchar (I’m sticking the needle in now)

When I left the hospital there was no administrative visit or paperwork to complete and sign. With your doctor’s approval, you just dress, say good-bye to all your new friends, sign at the pharmacy downstairs for your follow-up drugs and walk out. No wheelchair service to the curb. Guess they figure if you’re not well enough to walk out of the hospital you’re not well enough to leave the hospital.

The highlight of this cultural adventure was seeing Dr. Dario McDreamy blush the morning he asked me if I would like to go home and I responded with my best geriatric flirt, “Yes, would you like to come with me?”

Here’s a travel quote to make you smile:

As big fans of humorist and author Dave Barry, we were delighted to run across this quote:

“The major advantage of domestic travel is that, with a few exceptions such as Miami, most domestic locations are conveniently situated right here in the United States.” – Dave Barry

Carry an adult coloring book with you when you travel

What a great way to kill hours in an airport!

If you’ve discovered the adventure of Adult Coloring, please check out The Art of Caro HERE and Color Caro’s Mystic Mandalas HERE

Have you had a memorable adventure you’d like to share?

We welcome your travel stories from home and around the world.

You don’t have to be a "professional writer" to submit a story. A breezy, letter-home-to-your-best-friend approach suits us just fine, with a few facts thrown in, of course. 

We like your personal observations, how you felt about the place, what you ate, your most embarrassing moment, etc. CLICK HERE to learn more about the perfect length of your essay, and how to submit photos along with it.

Join our community!

If you’ve already done this, thanks so much! If not, please go to our Facebook page, and give us a “like.” Here’s where we are:

What do you think?

I'd love your feedback! Let me know your thoughts on this issue or the Facebook page.

Also let me know if you have any ideas for types of travel information you’d like to see. And tell me what you think about the Facebook page.

Happy travels!


—Carolyn V. Hamilton, Editor and Chief Adventuress

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