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

A little about me

Hey, everyone!

My name is Louis and I am from Potomac, Maryland, just outside of D.C. (about 15 minutes away from Ned). I’m 17 and I graduated from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in June. After my gap year, I will be attending Dickinson College.

I was drawn to this gap year program because of the diversity of the itinerary and the opportunities that are offered to learn and grow. I also wanted to return to Peru, which I visited in the summer before my Junior year. I stayed in Urubamba (where we’ll be staying for a significant amount of time) for about 10 days, but the memories I made on that trip felt like months. We helped build cement irrigation canals in the rural village of Yanahuara, and built a schoolhouse in the village of Chakkuar. After our time in Urubamba, we visited Machu Picchu, so this will be my second time witnessing its beauty and I simply can’t wait.

During my travels, I bought some souvenirs for me and my family, which is one of my connections to Peru. My other connection to Peru is a Peruvian chicken-based restaurant chain called Don Pollo, which we discovered shortly after my trip, when I was craving the famous Peruvian specialty (on my first trip, we had chicken for every meal except one: alpaca! It was nice to have a little break). They even have Inca Kola, which really brings me back to the train ride to Machu Picchu.

I find that home is wherever you make it. I know it sounds cliché, but I don’t think there are many answers to this question that aren’t :p. What I mean by this is that my feeling of belonging is entirely dependent upon the people with me and my natural surroundings. If I have good friends around me, any place feels like home. Similarly, I find that, even alone, I feel at home in nature. When I know my surroundings and am comfortable with the terrain, there is a certain beauty to being alone, that can only really be expressed in words as freedom. Sorry for getting deep there, but home is certainly subjective and varies from person to person.

Sorry for posting so late! I just got back from an RV trip in Norway and a boating excursion in the Chesapeake Bay, so I’ve been busy getting ready and packing! The nerves are setting in, but I couldn’t be more excited to go on this journey with all of you!


Louis P.