After a long drive and a drop of some 12,000ft of elevation, we have arrived to the last excursion of our trip, the Peruvian Rainforest! We’ve lucked out and are currently experiencing a cold front of highs in the mid-80s, but it should be back to the high 90s by the end of the week.
These next couple of days in the rainforest will be full of nature hikes to learn about plants and animals, discussions about the important work our researcher friends are doing to protect the forest, and it will be a time to start processing the fact that we will soon be returning home.
Four weeks seems like a long time when you sign up for a program like this. I remember planning the course with Itzá and Paola, talking about how much time we had for lessons and activities. Then once you’re in it, the time flies by so quickly. We’ve experienced so much here and hopefully taught the students a lot, but there’s so much more to learn about Peru and ourselves as travelers. If you follow our route on a map (or better yet, use the interactive map Mei’s parents made, thanks Brian!), you’ll see that we’ve only covered a very small section of Peru. We spent a fourth of our program in just Urubamba!
Through Dragons, the Peace Corps, and personal travels, I’ve learned the importance of slowing down and connecting to a place and its people, but part of me still wants to travel at a breakneck pace to “see it all” to “check it off the bucket list.” I know that I’ll get just as much, if not more, value out of sitting around a table conversing with our Urubamba hosts, Yami and Miguel, as I would visiting Lonely Planets Top 10 Must-See Spots in Peru, but the drive still pushes me and it probably always will.
That drive to see the wonders of the world is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s great, and it’s just selling yourself short on the full package that travel provides us. I hope that our students will visit many of the “Machu Picchus” of the world in their lives and be overwhelmed with emotions when they stand in front of the sheer awesomeness of them. I also hope they equally cherish the conversation they had with the taxi driver on the way to said wonder of the world. I hope they learn about the incredible history of Angkor Watt but also learn about the incredible history of the life of their local guide. The world will shower you with validation for your selfies in front of the Pyramids of Giza and turn a blind eye to less Instagram worthy moments. It’s up to you to decide what memories you want to make on your future travels and what validation you seek. Good luck and enjoy the adventure!
We’ll be off the grid until the 24th but will send regular updates to the office via our satellite device.