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

Yakkin about Packin

Hola [email protected] estudiantes and families, 

We hope this note finds you doing well as you prepare for a Summer of navigating your way through colorful markets, steeply inclined potato fields, and densely green jungle. This message is meant to supplement the information in the “Clothing and Equipment List” section of your Course Preparation Manual. 

Cost of gear: We understand that the gear recommended for this course is expensive. If you are feeling a little daunted by gear or clothing, we would love to help you find less expensive options. For most items on our packing list, there are used and/or alternative products. If you have questions about some of your choices, feel free to get in touch with me (Ben)! 

Cultural norms and clothing: We want you all to feel comfortable and confident during your time in Peru and Bolivia. To feel comfortable in a country with such immense cultural diversity, it will be important that you have clothes with you that will show Peruvians and Bolivians that you recognize you are in their community. At the same time, we want you all to have the clothing that allows you to express yourself and be you! This can be a tricky balance. 

I rarely, if ever, where shorts on course. Especially in the highlands, I just feel that thighs and calves stand out, since it is almost always customary to wear pants. I usually save my eccentric leggings for chilling in private spaces. Especially in small communities, flashy clothing can stand out even more! 

We encourage you all to think about how you want to express yourself in this new culture, and consider how your clothing will affect your various interactions (in Spanish) with the people you meet. We look forward to talking with you all more through questions and suggestions!

Climatic Diversity: This is one of the (many) things that makes this region so unique. While the actual geographic distance we will cover isn’t that far, we will experience many different climates. On trek, you may wake up in the morning with some ice chunks in your water bottle. In the Amazon, a shady hammock or dip in a nearby stream might be the best ways to combat the heat. Having both warm layers for the Andes, and light/long sleeved options for the Amazon will be key. 

Amount of stuff: On this course, we will constantly be transporting our stuff. This will not only include our personal packs, but group gear as well! We want you all to be comfortable carrying your pack, so please consider your priorities when deciding what to bring. You might be thankful that you brought that extra super-awesome-long-sleeve-sun-protecting-insect-repelling-lightweight shirt instead of that extra pair of jorts. 

Okay, I think that is all we have for right now. You all have our contact info, so feel free to reach out to any of us with questions! We will be contacting each one of you in not too long to set up a time to talk pre-course (if we haven’t already), so you will have that chance as well!