Roughing It in the Galapagos Islands

Relocating Isn’t Quite the Same as Vacationing

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Photo credit: L. Tripoli

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Photo credit: L. Tripoli

No matter where I go, I always try to picture myself living in that place, like by Hemingway’s pool in Key West, Fla., or with a little apartment by the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, or owning an antiques shop in Hamilton, N.Y. When I take the Youthful Adventurer to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, I envision life on a boat, or maybe running a souvenir shop in Puerto Ayora.

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What I come across in The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, a 2013 documentary, is a group of adventurers far more bold: Two Germans leave their spouses and head to Floreana in 1929 to live a solitary life in paradise. (Cate Blanchett reads the words of Dore Strauch.) They soon learn that working in paradise isn’t quite the same as vacationing there. Also, they aren’t so solitary for long. A handful of other Germans arrive, and somehow there’s not room enough for all of them on this particular Galapagos island. Beyond petty infighting, suspicious deaths and disappearances ensue.

Birds in paradise? Photo credit: L. Tripoli

Birds in paradise?
Photo credit: L. Tripoli

The problem with paradise is that it can drive you crazy if you’re there alone trying to make a go of it. The problem with paradise is that it takes a lot of maintenance. Growing the food and getting it from farm to table, and making sure you have drinking water, and building and maintaining a home, and somehow figuring out clothing take up so much time that there’s not a whole lot left over for deep contemplation, afternoons spent looking at the clouds, writing novels, or just playing. The whole business could make you snipe at your neighbors just like you were doing when you had a day job, a mortgage, taxes, and everything else.

Which, of course, is what makes vacations so wonderful. Someone else is doing the hard part, allowing the vacationer to contemplate, look at the clouds, write novels, and play.

—Lori Tripoli

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Planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands? You might like these posts:

Darwinian fight for survival? Photo credit: L. Tripoli

Paradise, or a Darwinian fight for survival?
Photo credit: L. Tripoli

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