Colonial Hostel: Doin’ the Cusco

At Colonial Hostel, travel finally became what I expected it to be: exploring incredible places, eating delicious food, dancing all night, and meeting awesome people (you guys know who you were, thanks your for making the hostel feel like home). The place itself was fantastic: toilet seats, toilet paper, clean rooms, comfy couches in the many common areas, a communal kitchen, a kitten named Waiki, and a 12 year old named Franco to show you goofy Spanish youtube videos if you ever looked like you weren’t doing anything.

15554766_347918822234268_266328262_n

After a wonderful week of just going with the flow, I figured it was time to actually do some of the things that I’d been dreaming of for months. The first thing I did was book myself a tour to Rainbow Mountain. Yes, a tour. I was cringing hard as I listened to the agent explain the itinerary and handed over the money. I was really not excited to get herded around the mountain in a group of 20 bumbling tourists, but there wasn’t any other way to get there unless I wanted to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a taxi from the last town to the trailhead. Read More »

South American Vagabonding

The best way to tell how nice your hostel is in Peru is to take a quick look at the bathrooms. Does the toilet flush? If yes, then you probably won’t get too sick just from staying there. Is there a toilet seat? If there is, then it’s a pretty swanky place. Is there toilet paper? If there is, then you’re at a literal palace, you fucking princess. Don’t even bother checking the hot water in the shower. The answer is either “no” or “sometimes”. It’s best not to know until you have your towel in-hand, or you’ll never convince yourself to take a shower.Read More »

Juliaca, Puno y Muy Mala Suerte

When my flight landed in Juliaca, Peru at 8am, I was more than a little bit of a wreck. I had slept no more than 10 hours in 3 days, I’d forgotten my altitude sickness medication in my checked bag, and I was still reeling from being kidnapped by a supposed taxi driver, taken to an ATM in a bad part of Lima, and forced to withdraw the maximum allowed amount. Yup… I fell for a fake taxi scam. I lost 600 soles, but I got a tour of Lima’s ghetto and a valuable lesson for that price. I’m an idiot, but I think we already knew that. Read More »

The Great Escape (Not About Peru)

I’m not gonna lie… I celebrated the conclusion of my 6 weeks on the farm by drinking whiskey on a street corner in Ashland. It was a great evening, but the only details I’ll be sharing publicly are that there were 2 tiny fluff ball akita puppies present, I dyed some random guy’s hair red (a classic drunk Allie move), and I met up with my friend Lang, who had driven up from San Fransisco to road trip back with me. Read More »

Longterm (a poem)

I’m not sure I’ve been anywhere I’m destined to remain.
I know I like highways, riding around in cars, windows
down, hair blowing, I can’t help but fall in love at every turn.
Though I’m not sure I’ve met anyone I will know a year from now.

I know whales breaking from broken ocean, salt marsh stretching on for miles, swells
of land disappearing into distance, green and gold, fields of sunflowers in saskatchewan,
trees like old gods and trees like the dead, trees I’ve cried for, remembering.
Sometimes there’s so much sand that I panic, recurring nightmares of counting to infinity,
cities— dark, even in the hot sun, each one the same as the last, and small towns
I remember each detail, though their names have packed up and left.

I must be an infinite power source, bright flash of light, connecting to others in fleeting
trust and kept promises— love, maybe. Paths crossing, undetectable to stationary eyes.
I miss the taste of “I love you” in my mouth. I miss the feeling of it against my lips, but how can I find my people when we all move so fast, passing like semis in the night?

Same experience, so many places.
What is it about somewhere that can make you return?

I have impossible amounts of love to fit in one backpack. I show up laden, bursting
in through doors left cracked ajar— “Will you take some for me?” In pieces, a mess
on the clearance rack, deteriorating in half lives that last a millennia. I can’t seem to get rid
of all this shit, all this red hot feeling, all these stories without endings. But somebody needs
to get these things where they’re going, and I don’t see anyone else walking this highway.

Wherever I am, I miss everywhere (everyone) else.

img_1067

Read More »

This Way

After a big fiasco at customs that I’d better not discuss in detail just in case the government really is watching, I made it on the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. I showed up at the terminal at 9am, planning to get on the 10:30 ferry, but they CBP agents so many questions for me that I missed the first boat and didn’t make it to the United States until about 5pm.

A post shared by Allie Quelch (@gonevagabonding) on

Read More »

Goodbye BC: A Victory Lap

At some point early in the 6 weeks between my last exam and the day I left Canada, I said to a friend, “I love how I’m treating the fact that I have to get to Oregon soon as no big deal at all.”

You know, just playing the character: Cool, calm, collected solo female hitch hiker. Not afraid of anything. I play it so well sometimes that I believe it, but there was something about saying those words that day that flipped a switch.

“Oh shit,” I thought, “I have to say goodbye to everyone I know for a long time and hitch hike to southern Oregon in a few weeks.”

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-8-40-30-am

And so, my time for me turned (blissfully) into time for others. I went on a mad-dash around southern BC, clocking about 3000km, clawing after connection, having fun with far flung friends and family, but all with the shadow of how I wasn’t going to see them again for a long time hanging over us. Read More »