Queridos estudiantes y viajeros,
Welcome to the Dragons family! Together, we are about to embark on a transformative, powerful and beautiful journey through Bolivia. I am so thrilled to welcome you to our traveling family and to be one of your Instructors. For me, this is a “full circle” experience as I once was in your very same position as a Dragons student. Congratulations on making this bold and courageous decision to get out of your comfort zone and explore a new land!
My name is Sarah and my journey with Dragons began more than a decade ago as a student on a summer program; I later returned as a gap year student on a semester program. I am so excited to be supporting you in your journey as a Dragons student and I completely empathize with your feelings of nervousness and excitement in this moment! I promise you, this summer will be one that will change you in a way that you can’t yet imagine and that will both challenge and inspire you beyond what you believed possible. You will have unforgettable experiences learning about the diverse, immense and beautiful culture of the Bolivian people and landscape. And, you will create lifelong friendships in your homestay families, trip mates and instructor community. From the bottom of my heart, I am so happy to be walking this path with you.
A little bit more about me… I was born in Chicago, raised in California and moved to Washington DC for college. I have lived in the Mid-Atlantic ever since graduating from college with periods of travel, work and play in several other countries throughout Latin America, Asia and Europe. I first traveled to Bolivia as a college student. Bolivia is an immense land of of so many different landscapes, peoples and histories that once you visit you are filled with the deep understanding that you will have to return. I often process and document my experiences through photography and journaling. I encourage you to pack your own form of creative expression to help you remember your journey. Actually, in this photo you will notice I am the women holding the camera.
I come from a family of two different cultures (my mother is from the US and my father is from Guadalajara, Méxcio). This has blessed me with the ability to sense and understand nuances of multiculturalism as it is expressed within oneself and within a larger culture. For me, traveling has always been a mirror for understanding myself and my culture in a new light. Each and every time I travel I have a new realization of what I thought to be a fixed reality. I hope this is true for you as well!
I am an educator by profession and have spent the past several years working as a classroom teacher. Believe me when I say, I am just as excited as you are for summer to begin!
I invite you to post your own note of introduction as well as any wonderings or curiosities you may have about our upcoming adventure here on the Yak Board. And of course, please feel free to write to me directly. For now, I will leave you with one of my my favorite Dragons-inspired writings:
Why We Travel by Pico Iyer
We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.