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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.

Hello!/¡Hola!

Hi everyone!

My name is Zoe, and I’m from Cambridge, Massachusetts (near Boston). I’m so excited for our upcoming adventure and can’t wait to meet you guys!

A little bit about me: I have two younger siblings and a dog, all of whom I like to think are very jealous of this trip. I love the outdoors (it was one of the pillars around which I shaped my gap year) and just about anything you can do outdoors (hiking, skiing, running, biking, soccer, swimming). After graduating from high school in June, I spent my summer learning how to be a yoga teacher, visiting Canada for the first time, cleaning my room for the first time in five years, reading, writing, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.

I’ve never been to Peru or Bolivia but here’s a totally random connection to Peru: I was backpacking last week on the AT in Western Mass when in the dirt at a campsite I found a coin for two Peruvian soles. I have no idea how it got there, but finding it felt significant, and that’s when I really started getting excited for the trip, as if I hadn’t believed we were really going until that moment. Also, I’m not sure if anyone else is encountering this, but I’ve been really surprised by the sheer number of people who have told me they’ve been to Bolivia or Peru (and loved it!) when I’ve told them my gap year plans.

I’m one of those people who always refers to wherever they’re sleeping that night as “home,” and I think that is because, like many of you have said already, home is not about place, it’s about people (and maybe about memories). I love to get out of my comfort zone by exploring new places and trying to bring a little bit of the feeling of home to wherever I am.

See you all in a few days!

Zoe