Hello everyone! Welcome to the yak board – a space where we will be posting our questions, reflections, photos, etc. for the next few months. Even though we have not yet met, I am certain that we are all already deeply connected. Your choice to willingly leave the life as you now understand behind and step out of your comforts to reveal the unknown already proves the mature character you hold. I look forward to learning more about each of you through these introductions and living and learning together this fall in Bolivia and Peru.
My name is Keshet and I am one of your instructors this fall. I grew up in both New York and Arizona, but now consider home to be all the magical canyons and camp sites of the world that have dotted my life with intense moments of gratitude (and yes, often times fear). Growing up in the suburbs and attending public school felt crippling to me in ways at the time I wasn’t sure how to explain. And so after graduating university with a BA in Sustainability I decided to dedicate my life to teaching (and learning) in unconventional settings and wild places. I have continuously sought out opportunities to work in settings that combine my love for the earth, youth development and cross-cultural connection. This has led me to a variety of roles including organic farming, wilderness therapy, trail maintenance and conservation, environmental education and finally now for the last couple of years to the world of Where There Be Dragons. I have led multiple courses in both Indonesia and Morocco with Dragons, and I am more than excited to be heading back to Latin America for the Andes and Amazon program this upcoming semester.
What I love about traveling, and what I hope you all as young travelers discover, is the experience of living and learning in a place that is completely unfamiliar and challenging. There can be a thousand lessons in the humbling experience of living with a homestay family, learning a new language, creating your very own travel itinerary, and discovering a new skill with a local mentor (all of which you will do in South America!). As an instructor and mentor, I believe in asking the big hard questions. Both of myself and of my students. This means we will not be afraid to be uncomfortable, to get our hands dirty, and most importantly laugh at ourselves in the process.
I believe there is value in feeling bored, value in embracing stillness. Throughout our time together we will also experience a range of emotions. Highs and lows that are not marked by simple explanations of “good and bad days.” Rather our perspective on the world will ebb and flow naturally as we learn more about local culture, the mountains surrounding us and through the amazing people we will meet along the way. I hope ya’ll are ready to unlearn, and maybe even shed just a bit of light on the infinite questions we will have about Bolivia and Peru. I ask that we all stay curious and patient in this process, even when we wish for things to just be easy. I would like to say thank you for your courage already to do so.
In the upcoming weeks I hope you all find space and time to prepare. This can look different for everyone, and may surface in many small ways before departing. Know that it is honorable to feel overwhelmed or nervous or excited. And if you have any questions at all please feel free to reach out!