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Hi everyone! I mirror Jax’s apologies for posting my intro so late. My name is Joe, and I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I just finished my junior year at Culver Academies, a boarding school in northern Indiana. Life at boarding school is quite different and hectic, but it has definitely been one of the best experiences of my life. As for my hobbies, I enjoy running (yes, I know, gross) and run both cross country and track. On top of that, music is one of my passions. I have been playing piano since I was five, and have been playing saxophone for almost eight years now.

I chose this trip because I enjoy hiking and the outdoors. Backpacking has been a hobby of mine, and I’ve been on several trips to various cool places. I also want to practice some Spanish, so this trip will be a great opportunity to dust off the textbooks and get some real immersive experience speaking a foreign language.

For our assignments, I read the post Illegal mining in the Amazon at unprecedented levels, high-tech mapping could thwart criminals and How the Potato Changed the World. The first new story captured my attention for two reasons: one, I never knew that this activity was occurring in the Amazon and two, anything technology captures my interest. It is truly incredible how far technology has come, and even more impressive that it can be used for good. The second article was very interesting, because who knew potatoes had such a history? Moreover, who knew there was more than one type of potato? The advancements in agriculture and the scientific discoveries that have been made over the centuries can be easily overlooked, but are really revolutionary in how our world is shaped.

My favorite quote from the Pico Iyer article was “[Emerson and Thoreau] insist on the fact that reality is our creation, and that we invent the places we see as much as we do the books that we read. What we find outside ourselves has to be inside ourselves for us to find it.” The quote captured my attention because I recognized the names of the authors from my APUSH class, and as I dived into the quote I was not disappointed by its contents. I like this quote because it reminds me to keep an open mind when traveling and to be committed to my discoveries, because what I put into learning about the places I visit is what I will get out of them.

I can’t wait to meet everyone, and I am super excited for the trip!