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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.

¡Buenos días a todos!

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My name is Rebecca. I am 18 years old, a gemini, no longer afraid of getting shots, and a proud Michigander from Ann Arbor. I graduated from high school in June of 2017 and I live with my dad, mom, two younger (identical twin) brothers, Coco our chocolate lab, two cats (Oscar and Laila), and a chinchilla named Jerry. I went to Iceland last July with my boyfriend but traveling to Bolivia and Peru will be the farthest I’ve been from home and the longest I’ve been away. Nonetheless, I am phsyched to trek through the Andes and Amazon with you all and to be fully immersed into a different culture (my apologies for probably being the last person to write this post. Now you know why I chose to take a gap semester as opposed to going back into the classroom). I tried to find some sort of connection to Bolivia and Peru in Ann Arbor but I wasn’t so lucky. It turns out the Peruvian restaurants that used to be downtown on Main street closed it’s doors years ago. I do however have ties with the Andes region through my pet chinchilla Jerry. Chinchillas native habitat is the Cordillera de Los Andes (which is where we begin our first trek!) and the Chinchilla is names after the Chincha people of the Andes Mountains.

Home can be best defined by the memories I’ve made in the places I’ve spent the most time in throughout my life. Although I’ve lived in Ann Arbor for the majority of my life, I’ve been going to Northen Michigan, where my family has a cottage, in a little town along M119 and lake Michigan and Captiva Island in Florida since before I was born. I love photography, ceramics, singing, 70s classic rock, and being outdoors and in nature more than anything. I have been an animal lover, insect enthusiast, and swimmer since birth and I’ve hiked and camped in in Aspen Colorado and in the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan but I’ve yet to do any backpacking. I can’t wait to meet you all later today and I know already we’re going to have the trip of a lifetime.

Hasta luego!