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Photo by Ryan Kost, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Instructor Intro

Hola a todxs! Cómo están? I’m sure you’re all very excited, preparing to leave home and start this trip in South America.

I’m Paola and I’ll be one of your instructors with Zack and Cat.  I’m writing this from Sapzurro Colombia, a tiny town next to the Caribbean sea.

In 2015 I decided to quit my job and travel. My biggest goal was to arrive to Colombia. Why?  Because since I was very little I have been so impressed by how the country and their people are so resilient. It is known that Colombia used to be a very dangerous place but now the country has changed in a very positive way.  Even though it still has things to change for the better, as many places around the world, now Colombia has become a great example of resilience and I love that!

It wasn’t until December 10th of 2019 that I was able to arrive to this incredible country. The trip that I started back in 2015 took me to several places before arriving here. For me that’s one of the reasons I love to travel, because you’re exposed to situations that will take you to places that you probably didn’t anticipate. In my case, one path led me to Austria where I spent quite a lot of time working on a farm and trying to understand some words in german.

Before starting this incredible journey I studied psychology and worked at an NGO which works to establish libraries in rural areas. My most recent work as a psychologist was with women and children who were victims of violence, a hard but empowering role.

This is going to be my fourth program with Dragons and I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of this amazing community. Through this work I have met people that bring me a lot of moments of joy.  There have been of course some less joyful moments as well, but that’s life isn’t?

Many times people ask me if I am afraid to travel alone and I always answer: “I’m more afraid to stay home where everything is known and easy.”  Although it sounds very trite the best we can do is leave our comfort zone and discover what the world has to offer us!

There are some days that I feel so overwhelmed about all the terrible things that are happening in the world. Sometimes I feel there’s no hope but then I meet a stranger in the market that greets me with a big smile or someone that is willing to help me when I don’t know how to arrive to a certain place, or the entire family that just adopted me here, a family that invites me to their home and to their table. More than being in different places, it’s all about the people you meet while travelling, for me that’s everything! I’m proud to say that kindness is one of the biggest characteristics that I love the most about South American people. So prepare yourself to fall in love with Peru, and hopefully we’ll be able to visit Bolivia where I’m from. I was born in Potosi, one of the highest cities in the world.

I can tell you that I love to talk about where I came from and about the vast history of my country. Other things that I enjoy are cooking plant based food, giving hugs to people who are willing to take those hugs, and I like to dance because if you want to keep your soul in movement you have to move your body.

Don’t forget that every trip is unique, as every one of us is also unique; let’s meet with an open heart and the desire to learn, to question, to grow. I remember feeling a mix of emotions with a little fear when I decided to leave my office job to venture on a journey that does not end and that makes me look inward to try to understand and learn from what surrounds me.  I thank life for that!

Please start to share your own intros here! We can’t wait to hear from you and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

[email protected]

Con amor,


PS: the photo is not in a zoo.