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Andean priest and spiritual leader, Don Fabian Champi Apaza. Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Welcome from the Andes & Amazon Program Director

Hello friends, family, and fellow travelers,

I want to extend the warmest  welcome to you on your fall 2019 semester in Bolivia and Peru! The days of summer are still warm and bright but hints of fall are on the horizon. The classic buzz of local schools has returned as students begin a new year. But you have chosen a different path, one that will open your world to other ways of life. In only one semester you will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the people, culture, language, and landscapes of the Andes and Amazon regions of Bolivia and Peru. You will also learn so much more about yourselves and how you choose to live your lives, pursue your studies, careers, and relationships. I want to congratulate you on choosing a Dragons program. It takes courage to take time away from family and school in pursuit of the path less traveled. You will surely have an incredible life experience in the months ahead.

In this note I would like to share a little more about the Yak board, the experience on which you are about to embark, and tell you a little more about me, your Andes and Amazon Program Director.

I invite you to use this Yak Board to learn about course updates and to post questions of your own. Please don’t be shy, ask any questions you have—as you’re probably not the only one. This will be our forum for communication leading up to our course, and we encourage friends and family to check in often. We’ll be posting important updates about packing, itinerary, pre-course readings, assignments, and more in the weeks to come. You can even subscribe to receive updates about the course so you don’t miss out on a new post. We will also have a webinar on Tuesday, August 20th in which I will be talking about the course and important preparation information, so please join me then!

As you begin this journey, I’m reminded of my first trip to South America. The Andes Mountains and the Altipano of Bolivia and Peru have come to hold a special place in my heart. The awe-inspiring landscapes, the lasting relationships, and the richness of culture will soon be a part of your life as well. I have led several courses with Dragons over the years in Bolivia, Peru, and Guatemala and I have come to know and love the incredible communities and instructors that make these experiences possible. During the semester I will be working out of our Boulder office but I look forward to following your journey as you visit these special places and travel alongside close friends of mine.

On your course, you will find inspiration walking among stalls in bustling markets, listening to the shouts of vendors, and tasting the eclectic array of delicious foods in seemingly chaotic labyrinths, worlds away from your neighborhood grocery store. Outside the cities, the landscape of the Andes will take your breath away. Seeing your first massif shrouded in glaciers-up close defies comprehension. Your field of vision will be engulfed by the white mass eclipsing the sky above and coating the valley below. Hundreds of feet thick, each inch of glacial ice represents its own sliver of time, dating back to when the first flake touched down thousands of years ago. Within a half day’s journey you may find yourself in the dense Amazon Rainforest where in only a few paces on a trek you will have passed a myriad of species of plants, insects, and animals all carving out an existence in the most biodiverse region of the world.

Not only will you encounter new sights and sounds, but you will learn more about yourself when you face new challenges and test your limits. You have chosen a different type of travel experience. One that will ask you to free yourself of expectations and embrace the unknown. But through it all you will experience profound growth and transformation. We encourage you to open up, be vulnerable, laugh and cry, be silly and spontaneous, share stories with strangers, build community and new family, and open your heart and mind. Now start breaking in those boots, you’ve got mountains to climb!



If you would like to get a hold of me directly you can reach me at [email protected]