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



I’m Lyla, and I’m so excited to travel with all of you and experience Peru and Bolivia and go on this crazy adventure.

I’m from rural Vermont, and Tuesday’s temperature got to -14° F (a super fun walk with my dog!!) But I love Vermont, and growing up here has been a large part of my identity. I’ve been surrounded by nature since I was four, and that’s instilled in me a deep appreciation of the outdoors. The quintessential small town, I’ve grown up with barely 3 restaurants and a general store that people would give their life to defend (Dan & Whit is amazing, don’t question it). While Norwich fosters a strong sense of community and wacky traditions that I love, it’s also homogenous and can act as an echo chamber. With this gap year, I’ve tried to counteract that; branching out and experiencing as many new ways of life as I can. Through part of the summer and fall, I interned for a New Hampshire Congressional re-election campaign. With crazy hours and all kinds of projects, I loved the opportunity to immerse myself in politics and fight for my beliefs. I’ve also worked for UPS, acted as a nanny for a special needs child and worked at a local restaurant.

Through this program, I’m looking forward to expanding my view of the world and continuing to learn. Where There Be Dragons will help teach me how to authentically travel, and I will be able to use that skill for the rest of my life, exploring the world near and far. I also wanted to participate in a socially conscious program that would encourage me to think and examine issues I hadn’t thought of before — not simply be along for the ride. And I’ve always wanted to travel in South America!

See you all soon!!