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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.


I’m happy to be a part of a group traveling for this amount of time, where the majority of students are willing and actually have a drive to start and/or partake in difficult and intellectual conversations. At this point in my life I´ve taken a huge step towards this mentality and I couldn´t be in a better place to let that happen, and couldnt be more grateful for the instructors and students who engage in this with me.

That being said what better time or place to have conversations as a group than during trek in the beautiful, distractionless mountains.

Emerging from intense analysis of our groups norms and what we want to strive towards, it was mentioned that our group has a strong masculine vibe. This sparked very strongly opinionated and voiced conversation that I think will not cease perhaps until the end of the trip.

Unfortunately I´m writing a yak about it and I can´t just hold a conference for all to hear. I feel I will not do the conversation justice, from the aspect of the way I speak being lost through my writing, and the fact that it will be a constant stream of my thoughts, not a collaberation of many. That being said I´m going to just go over a couple points and hope you guys get the gist, it was heavy.

A huge component to this conversation that I realized, is the time period we are in and what implications this has had on our life (“our” being my generation). What I mean is no matter how little we know or realize that we might be implying by something we say or do, previous generations have set social norms in our society (speaking for the united states in this, since I live there..) that we have inherited and express wether we knew it or not. This makes conversations about specifically masculinity and the negative effects it has had on our group (and society) difficult to conversate about without the male gendered students feeling attacked. For example, when this conversation was first sparked up I felt like myself and the other guys were being strongly targeted as negatively affecting the group and I was super defensive. (how do I explain…) From here tons of opinions were said, as well as clarification from the girls that they meant the females embodied these qualities as well and although society tends to place these masculine roles upon males more often, its a problem of our entire group and what we are choosing to bring to our personality and thus the group. Furthermore these idealized masculine traits we are focusing on certainly are a problem, but not a problem myself and I believe the majority of our generation has consciously embodied. That being said I think as difficult as it will be when we approach these problems (and whether these problems will be approached, by whom(us?), and when, outside of this trip, is a whole nother idea) to not become defensive, but to talk about it openly, assess the problem and to put some work into if not actively fixing the problem, at least understanding where you stand in it and what you choose to embody.

Im very interested in seeing how this conversation will be brought up in our everyday life as we grow older because I think huge changes will be made in our lives.

Although very difficult for me to convey through writing, conversations like this are why I am on this trip and I can´t be anymore grateful for the friends and family that have made these possible both at home and on the trip.

In other news I can conversate with people in Spanish now. We said goodbye to two friends yesterday, they will be missed. X-phase begins today. I am so excited to come home, while so excited to enjoy and make the best of the last few days we have left.

More love to my family, my beautiful girlfriend and her family, and the friends who know its coming to them.