Back to
Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Instructor intro – Brian Reilly

Hi friends,

I can hardly believe that I’m already writing you this letter, that another course is about to begin, and that I am about to return to South America after so long away. For the past few weeks, I have been traveling around Central and then North America to visit friends and family. I needed to spend time with the people and places that inspire me and also unwind after a summer course in Guatemala.

That course was my seventh with Dragons and only four weeks long. I’ve done several others that have been even shorter. Nonetheless, each engages parts of me so intensely that I need time afterwards to rest and recover. It’s like a tough workout that strengthens the character and deepens the sensitivity that I rely on as I confront whatever challenges I find or find me in this big world. I feel thankful to have work that pushes me so much so that I am constantly learning and growing.

Last night, I visited one of my best friends in the world who I had not seen in many months. As we caught up, I was very happy to hear him express how strongly he felt a sense of purpose in his work and how grateful he was to be able to engage his passions so intensely each day. I know that when he is in such a place, he routinely does amazing things – some might say crazy things – by the invincible force of his will. We have chosen different paths but have walked each the same way, I think: all in. I also feel a clear and strong sense mission in what I do with my time and energy and moreover a lot of gratitude for having that privilege to follow my heart as intensely as I have so far.

In less than two weeks, I’ll be in Peru for instructor orientation. You will arrive to La Paz shortly after then. So now I ask us to begin mentally preparing ourselves for the opportunity we have before us with regard to the two privileges for which I have expressed gratitude in the paragraphs above.

First, get ready for a challenge! This experience will push us all to learn and grow constantly. Sometimes it may seem like too much, but don’t worry. Your instructors are not just passionate; we’re competent too and will keep you very safe. How do you hope to respond to the challenges that await us?

Second, I can’t wait to hear about the senses of purpose that each of you feels. What are the passions in your life for which you do or would do crazy things? We will hear stories from the land and people who will host us as their guests – yet another great privilege! –and share our own with one another. Above all, we’ll add to our own stories and write one together, too.

Speaking of stories, here are two expressions of my own that you may find interesting, if you don’t want to wait three weeks to get to know me more:

Until then, consider me at your service! My contact info is attached here. I’ll be available on my US cell phone until September 4th. After then, WhatsApp, email, and this very Yak board will all work.

Thank you for reading. Here we go!

Very sincerely,


+1 (703) 408-4262

[email protected]