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Photo by Anna Hiltner

Bound from Boise to Bolivia


Me llamo Theo Knoll, y soy de Boise, Idaho. Despite being the largest city in Idaho, Boise is predominantly suburban, and nature is incorporated throughout the city in the form of parks, paths, and public land. My neighborhood is adjacent to the Boise River, and in the summer the community and I flock to the river to float down on inner tubes and other inflatables, like alligators or unicorns.

I spend most of my time outdoors by running, mountain biking, playing soccer, and skiing. After the Bridge Year, I plan on competing with Princeton Running Club, but in the meantime, I’m thrilled to have the chance to train at high altitudes in Bolivia. I also enjoy camping and backpacking, and I recently tested out the Steri-Pen from the packing list in some alpine lakes in the Sawtooth Mountains.

Growing up in Idaho has fostered my passion for environmental sustainability and renewable energy. The summer after my junior year I traveled to Costa Rica for a month to learn about the country’s biodiversity, ecology, and sustainability efforts. I returned with a deeper understanding of what I sought out to learn, but also, perhaps more importantly, a deeper understanding of myself and the role I can play to progress towards a sustainable future (I want to contribute to the development of renewable energy sources). This summer I worked as a research assistant in a materials science lab at Boise State University that focuses on nuclear energy. Within the internship I helped a PhD student develop sensors for nuclear fuel rods, which is an interesting task because the high temperature and radiation of the core prevents most electronics from functioning effectively. I hope to further explore my interest in sustainability in Bolivia, and I look forward to learning from people with different perspectives than my own.

When I traveled to Costa Rica my host family introduced me to empanadas, and I’m excited to try the Bolivian equivalent, salteñas, which are pastries filled with a meat/potato stew type liquid. I’m not sure I like how they sound, but if they taste anything like empanadas they should be incredible. As preparation for Bolivia I have been reading Learning Service, googling and reading articles about Bolivia, and listening to Spanish music.

I can’t wait to meet everyone!