Photo of the Week
Photo Title


WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 128939
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-11 07:06:26
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-11 14:06:26
    [post_content] => 
DCIM100GOPROGOPR3282. DCIM100GOPROG0173414.   I struggle to find the words to explain the past few days. It's been an array of diverse emotions that I have difficulty understanding and verbalizing. The good thing is that I have 10 other people to talk to about what's going on. 10 other people who have the same feelings and the same difficulty understanding them. The same sense of "reverse culture shock", a feeling we discussed for days at transference but that I didn't think would really affect me. And now I'm faced with a clear dilemma: life was so much simpler the past 3 months - how do I adjust? How do I grow accustomed to texting my friends who I've seen every day since September, friends who I learned about the beauty of unplugging with. How do I live like a normal 19 year old American with the same problems I left with - when Starbucks messes up my order, the long walk from my bedroom to the kitchen when I want food - when I know there are so many bigger problems in the world. How do I entertain myself with mundane activities like college parties when I spent the last three months doing what will probably become one of the most memorable experiences in my life. How do I fight the urge to continue to steri-pen my water, wear my chacos around, and sleep in my sleeping bag when it's completely unnecessary. In our final days we talked about how to deal with going back to our old lives, but ever since I left it's been all new to me. New experiences, new feelings, and overall a new perspective on all things that are actually attributed to my "old life". The final days of my trip and the beginning days of adjusting to home life have been a blur. Our final night in La Paz I stayed up all night (in the college terms I guess I pulled an all nighter). We all had talked about skipping out on sleep for the convenience but I think I'm the only one who followed through on it, yet it felt like it was for different reasons. I sat in my room pretending to pack and write my airplane letters while everyone was asleep, giving myself an excuse to stay awake. Giving myself a reason to look around the room at my fellow students, now some of my closest friends and remembering that first day we met in the airport. How at orientation it felt like I had known the group forever, yet now, 83 days later, it seemed like we were just starting. I wasn't ready to leave. At 3:30 the alarm finally went off and everyone groggily got out of bed I was wide awake. I loaded my gear into the taxi waiting downstairs and got in silently - not for my drowsiness but because I was lost in reflection. We talked about living in the moment all trip, something I had clung onto for the past weeks but now I couldn't seem to stay focused. All I could think of is how fortunate I had been to meet this incredible group of people. We got out of the taxis and my thoughts swirled around the arrival to the El Alto airport in September. This would be the last time we would be together as a group. We had grown so accustomed to each other - so accustomed that we had grown used to the stench that was etched into our clothing and couldn't be cleaned. The smell that the woman at the check in counter commented on immediately. Our first goodbye was to the three instructors, who taught me the survival skills I had clung onto for the past 3 months, and Ben. The final group hug at security brought me back to the same one we shared at orientation. The hugs that originally felt awkward were now filled with memories and love. As I walked away I felt a little emptier I felt it hard to turn the corner around security and see the 4 of them disappear as they waved goodbye. The goodbyes only got harder from there. As the group got smaller it became more obvious how close I was with everyone individually. The next goodbye was to Suzy and Ilana. It took 3 hugs before I could leave and I knew I couldn't look back or I wouldn't be able to go. I ran through the doors only to be greeted by Noam's mother. It was weird to see Noams' mom. All trip Noam filled the position of mom that we all needed and it was easy to forget that she had a mom herself. But seeing how happy she was to be reunited made the goodbye a bit easier. After a Chipotle run and a long night for the remaining 7 of us - another night that resulted in no sleep for me - I said my final goodbyes. I had collectively said bye to Jack, Claire, and Charlie the night before and as Jacob and June walked Anton and I to the airport shuttle the bags that I had carried with ease through all the treks felt too heavy to carry alone. I sat in the entrance to the airport - the final 2. It felt off, like it was wrong that I was with Anton without the rest of the group being there. I started to read my letters from everyone, hoping maybe it would feel like everyone was still there with me. Maybe it would feel like a temporary goodbye like the Sundays we spent with our homestay families away from the group - alone time that at one point I craved. But the letters didn't help. Reading all the incredible things people wrote reminded me of how I had learned so much from everyone. How Claire taught me to accept myself and be confident in what I did, how June taught me that no matter what happens you can move past it and how to be an incredibly strong individual. How Suzy taught me to love unconditionally and care so much. Jack had taught me that even in the hardest times a joke can help. I learned from Ilana that setbacks can be turned into opportunities and from Charlie to stick up for what you want. From Ben I learned the power of individualism and from Jacob to always seek out adventure. Leah taught me not to take life too seriously and Veronica taught me how important it is to find your passion in life and make sure to share it and no matter how much people argue to stick by it. From Dave I learned about enjoying life and making sure to be somewhere that you love. Noam showed me how hardwork and dedication paid off and that I could do anything no matter how insane it seemed, if I tried. Anton taught me the value of support and friendship and helped me figure out almost everything I had learned about myself along the trip. In just under 3 months I learned so much more about myself and my surroundings from a group of people in which 10 high school graduates taught me more than qualified teachers had in my 4 years of high school. So as I walked through security in the Miami airport and waved goodbye, it was my hardest one yet because to me it officially marked the end. On my plane ride home I slept; something I had been unable to do for fear of waking up and the trip being over, but now I slept hoping to dream of my experiences. I stepped off the plane into an unfamiliar airport, something that had excited me three months ago but this time I didn't have my friends by my side. I drove through the unfamiliar town I now lived in and stepped foot in my unfamiliar house and for the first time in awhile I felt uncomfortable. Not when I moved into a house with a family that didn't speak my language for two weeks or when I got salmonella and a hundred bug bites living in the Amazon, but when I arrived home in the country I had lived in for 19 years. That night I face timed Noam for 3 hours. We didn't talk for a lot of it, just sat and journaled. But somehow it felt like she was there with me. And for a little while I was back in Bolivia sitting at the program house journaling with Noam by my side. So I have hope. Hope that I'll stay in touch, hope that I can get through this awkward phase of reverse culture shock, and hope that this experience has positively changed me. [post_title] => What Now? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => what-now [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 10:10:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 17:10:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 114 [name] => Andes & Amazon A [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 114 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 236 [count] => 163 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4.1 [cat_ID] => 114 [category_count] => 163 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015 [category_parent] => 236 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A )
View post

What Now?

Maria Iuliano,Andes & Amazon A

Description

  I struggle to find the words to explain the past few days. It’s been an array of diverse emotions that I have difficulty understanding and verbalizing. The good thing is that I have 10 other people to talk to about what’s going on. 10 other people who have the same feelings and the same […]

Posted On

12/11/15

Author

Maria Iuliano

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 128915
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-10 11:43:09
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-10 18:43:09
    [post_content] => Sitting on the beach in Miami this morning was definitely different from the hammocks at the program house, the mines in Potosi, the ruins of Machu Picchu, the lighting at Hostal Austria, and the views from the Andes. One by one I have watched everyone go their separate ways and now, sitting on the airplane, I am going mine. Although there is definitely a sense of sadness, I can't help but find peace in the unique yet fitting ways everyone left the group.

First were the instructors. When we made it to security, our leaders for the whole trip now stood behind us, signifying the ultimate change of being on our own. As I embraced Dave, Leah, and Veronica I thought about all the times that they brought us back down to Earth, Veronica making us prove our ideas, Leah correcting our cultural knowledge, and Dave giving a short comment putting us all in to place. Although I won't have them to blame for small budgets, forgotten pots, or late transportation (all of which were never their fault in the first place) I will also only have myself to give credit to when things go right. I am forever grateful for their guidance, knowledge, and company and owe so much of my trip to their planning and execution.

Along with the instructors was the first group member to be left behind; Ben. It makes sense that he was first though. Although he was an integral part of our dynamic, he is a strong individual with a need to further explore that. I can't imagine sending him off on a comfortable flight home, leaving him to Bolivia for a mountain climb was much more true.

After executing a less than successful fire line at baggage claim, the group had to say goodbye to two more members. As Suzy and Ilana said their goodbyes, they embraced everyone with warmth. It was strange thinking that they would be the first members to sleep in their own bed. But I knew that Suzy would soon enjoy her dad's cooking an Ilana would sit down to an episode elf gilmore girls with her mom. So right before they walked away, in true Dragons style, we took our final group photo.

So we kept on, moving closer and closer to the exit of the airport as well as the reality of moving on solo. Except Noam who finally reunited with her mom. As we all hugged her, we commented on how this was the first mom of the group that any of us had seen in three months. But as we said our goodbye's to Noam and promised to call and be good, it was clear that we were saying goodbye to the mom of our group. We watched as the responsibility was lifted from Noam and bestowed upon her mom and with that, we left.

The 7 of us carried on, stepping into the first car with a seat for all of us. We exchanged glances, confused as to why there was leg room and wondered where the "106 Tiquipaya" sign on top of the van was. No one was on top ready to receive the opposite end of our hoisted bags and no one was on board advertising snacks in loud, awakening voices. However, I found myself wanting both of those things.

After some American food and good fun, Maria had to go. She felt bad as she woke Jacob, Anton, and me up, wanting us to keep our comfort even though she was losing hers. As I felt the tears building up for the millionth time that day, Maria reassured and comforted me, although she would be the one alone in just a few short minutes. Maria did that a lot. She put the group before herself and took whatever happened in stride and excitement. She seemed ready and that gave me reason to be ready myself. So with Anton for company, she loaded on to the airport shuttle.

After switching hotel rooms, I was pleasantly surprised to find Jack still in his. Although we had already said our goodbye's, he was still there, something I feel is true for the whole trip. Jack was consistent and present. Whether it was the background of someone else's photo, the snack tienda on the way to the program house, or your bed at a hostel, Jack was there, usually accompanied by wafers and a coke mind you.

Soon after, I woke up again with Claire and Anton on my right and Jacob on my left, and as I tossed and turned in a bed with four people, I didn't mind the discomfort. We met Charlie for our complimentary hotel breakfast (which was rightfully Jacks) and that is where he split off. As I watched him drag his big pack on the concrete just to realize he was getting on the wrong shuttle, I laughed and thanked the Pacha Mama that he was always last to get on transportation.

Jacob, Claire, Anton, and I looked at each other with confusion for what to do next. Sure enough, Anton was quick to come up with a solution; the supermarket. So we piled in an uber, directed the driver to the closest Winn Dixie, and watched as Anton faded into the land of American candy and gluten free bread. He was where he belongs.

The rest of the day was a strange series of events ranging from bonding with a Peruvian uber driver to getting kicked out of CVS for appearing homeless (thanks Jacob). But we found a happy ending lounging on top of our backpacks on the rainy Miami beach. We sat on top of our lives for three months.

Knowing Jacob was next to depart, I looked at him on his backpack thinking about where it had been and what it had done. It was the backpack that he carried with heatstroke on the last day of Illampu, the backpack he stuffed almost all of the group gear in on our first trek, and the backpack that he insisted could carry everything the mules could carry for expedition. And with a tint of homelessness, Jacob carried that bag around Miami, on the beach, and to the airport where in a rushed goodbye, we watched the backpack leave for it's next adventure.

Then it was Claire and June, as I know it was for a lot of the trip. But as we turned the corner to baggage claim after our flight and said hello to each others family's, I realized I still had a goodbye. As I walked away from the person I spent most of my trip with, I heard the laughter that I heard about in all of her stories as she joked with Tom and walked with Gathy. And when I finally got in the car and started on one of my stories from the trip, I was confident that we will all soon replace Claire's everlasting collection of stories.

As I drove away with ceibo in my hand and my back finally free from my pack, I imagined Anton at a classy European dinner chowing down on Fruity Pebbles, Jack in his bed crushing netflix with a big bag of snacks, and Ben finding his focus while he prepares for his climb. And although I knew I would not be able to see those things for myself, I knew they were happening and I knew that I would not know about them without this trip, There is actually a lot I would not know without this trip. Like how to eat a saltena, how to make sense in spanish, or how to negotiate on a price with a radio taxi. And there is still a lot I don't know, like why Bolivian bus companies insist on locking the bathroom or why we thought avocado and cheese tortillas would be a satisfying good lunch every day on trek. But one thing I do know is that these people are the people I learned from and the people that changed me. They are the people that fanned me as I puked in Asuncion, the people that helped me make a delicious dish of pasta on trek, and the people that were always there. And as I drove away from the airport I arrived to three months ago, I thought about these people and what I experienced with each one of them and how we would always have those experiences and in that, I found comfort.
    [post_title] => And Then There Was One
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => and-then-there-was-one
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 10:15:11
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 17:15:11
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128915
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 114
                    [name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 114
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 236
                    [count] => 163
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 4.1
                    [cat_ID] => 114
                    [category_count] => 163
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [category_parent] => 236
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A
)
View post

And Then There Was One

June Peacock,Andes & Amazon A

Description

Sitting on the beach in Miami this morning was definitely different from the hammocks at the program house, the mines in Potosi, the ruins of Machu Picchu, the lighting at Hostal Austria, and the views from the Andes. One by one I have watched everyone go their separate ways and now, sitting on the airplane, […]

Posted On

12/10/15

Author

June Peacock

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 128873
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-06 17:39:57
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-07 00:39:57
    [post_content] => The group left today. It feels strange to write that, because the clock says 6:30 AM, and La Paz is still asleep. Yet already I have been awake for three hours, and the chief events of the day lay behind me. Recalling them feels like pulling some gelatin mass out of a deep, dark well.

We left the hostel at 4 AM. We were in the check-in line by 4:30, and still it was dark outside. By the time the group passed through to the security station, the first light was creeping steadily in, and our tiredness grew stiffer and more debilitating; the dream was over and the sleepless day had begun. Then the rest of the group moved into line, and I did not. We said our good byes, and they disappeared, and I stood for a moment with the teary instructors, the four of us huddled together in the terminal. Then I exited the big glass doors into the parking lot.

Now the light was a wan blue, and as I walked towards the minibuses I looked up to the fence and trees, and beyond it to the rolling altiplano, and beyond that to Huayna Potosi--that terrible black and white arête jutting into the pink sky; the sole reason for my aloneness. Tomorrow I would begin to climb it.

On the bus back I read letters from the group. They were nice--too nice--and they made my letters to them seem insufficient. I thought of little snippets I might add to bring each of mine up to scratch, and reflected that some needed much more than that. I was just awake enough to feel a few pangs of nostalgia and regret through the haze of exhaustion and impersonal dawn light, and as the minibus slowed to a halt below plaza San Francisco I sat submerged in introspection. But when the doors opened to the cool street air, so too did my awareness, and I stepped off the bus with weary apprehension. I was alone in Bolivia now.

The street was empty and I walked in silence. Around a corner a narrow staircase appeared, and at its bottom, an unconscious man. Small spots of red stained the sidewalk by his midriff. His hand was a raw lump of meat. The horizon cast an aloof light across his crumpled body, and I stepped over it.

I reached the top of the staircase and strode through the plaza. A pair of inebriated Europeans approached me, eyes glazed and haunted, entreating me in their beautiful, misused language. I continued by them, walking swiftly.

It was about 6:20 as I began the gentle incline of Sagarnaga, and I perceived the light had again advanced, now pleasantly enriching the grays and blues of the dozing city. A few men passed me on their way to catch a trufie, and I passed a young boy, masked in long clothes and a wool face cover, lugging a shoe shining kit down the slanted sidewalk. Heeled by the cumbersome cargo, he listed from side to side, seemingly dancing down the empty street. Sometimes he used his ungainly momentum to spin forward, rotating twice for every linear meter he progressed, twirling past my peripheral. He was like every boy ever, struggling, improbably, foolishly, against inertia.

I passed an empty intersection. Light poured from the sides in a glowing cross, and a lone spire rose on the left horizon. I stopped to take a picture. Yet as I started again, I felt a twinge of regret at having added a superfluous dimension to the spare plane of the morning. I felt sure that the boy hadn't taken any pictures. I would take no more.

I reached the corner of Illampu and turned right. A few steps later I reached Hostal La Ponderosa. The end of the walk surprised me and flattened my rhythm. The door was closed, and as I rang the bell, I questioned my agency; the way I stopped and started and tore through the smooth fabric of the morning. I hoped for a moment that the door would not open, and I would be forced to continue the walk. I imagined roaming La Paz in this strange hour of transition, a seamless piece of the scene, a silent observer.

But the strange hunger went unfed, as soon footsteps sounded at the stairs, and the lock groaned and clacked, and the door opened. The thought of walking through the morning strolled quietly away, and I thought now of the bed that awaited; a sheet-strewn cot sandwiched by two recently abandoned brothers; both a twin and a triplet. I smiled at the thought, and ducked eagerly inside, turning my back on the morning.
    [post_title] => Entry: 12/6
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => entry-126
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-12-06 17:39:57
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-12-07 00:39:57
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128873
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 114
                    [name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 114
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 236
                    [count] => 163
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 4.1
                    [cat_ID] => 114
                    [category_count] => 163
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [category_parent] => 236
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A
)

Andes & Amazon A

View post

Entry: 12/6

Ben Weissenbach,Andes & Amazon A

Description

The group left today. It feels strange to write that, because the clock says 6:30 AM, and La Paz is still asleep. Yet already I have been awake for three hours, and the chief events of the day lay behind me. Recalling them feels like pulling some gelatin mass out of a deep, dark well. […]

Posted On

12/6/15

Author

Ben Weissenbach

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 132367
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-06 04:21:19
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-06 11:21:19
    [post_content] => They're off!
Our students have boarded their international flight in the El Alto airport, and are on their way to Miami. Thank you for sharing your loved ones these last months for this incredible journey!

Much love,
Dave, Veronica, and Leah
    [post_title] => They're Off!
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => theyre-off-4
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 10:35:26
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 17:35:26
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128854
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 114
                    [name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 114
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 236
                    [count] => 163
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 4.1
                    [cat_ID] => 114
                    [category_count] => 163
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [category_parent] => 236
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A
)
View post

They’re Off!

David Haffeman ,Andes & Amazon A

Description

They’re off! Our students have boarded their international flight in the El Alto airport, and are on their way to Miami. Thank you for sharing your loved ones these last months for this incredible journey! Much love, Dave, Veronica, and Leah

Posted On

12/6/15

Author

David Haffeman

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 132363
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-05 18:45:14
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-06 01:45:14
    [post_content] => Dear Mom and Dad,

Three months ago, we hugged tightly, said a last goodbye and I walked off into the security line of the Boston Logan airport. You sent me, your sixteen year old daughter into an unknown adventure, where I would have to forge myself a new home away from home and re-learn how to walk on my own feet. I felt unprepared, vulnurable.  But since then 82 days have passed, and I am returning to your comfortable, protecting arms.

I may have changed; my skin a bit darker, toughened by the many surfaces it touched. My voice deeper, and I speak in a language that neither of you can understand. I may have matured, now seventeen. I have been changed by the many people I have met, and these will be harder to point at. I have been changed by the woman in the bus terminal, yelling Iquige at the top of her lungs, and by my inspiring groupmates. By Jim Shultz, who taught me about activism and by my host family. I have been changed by the many guides and the many community members, as well as the little boy who asked me today if there were ladrons, theives, in the United States.

After three months I am coming back, and I am scared. I am worried that I will not be able to express to you the ways that I am still me, and the ways that I am not anymore. I am excited to eat the food you cook and to sleep in my bed, which is without a doubt more comfortable than a sleeping pad I bought for 67 Bolivianos. Despite all of the happiness that a warm shower and a movie on the couch entails, It will not be easy to be back.

So I ask of you, please, to ask me more questions, and to stop when I don't want to answer anymore. To understand that this experience will forever be understood by the 13 other people who experienced it with me and maybe not fully by you. I have been changed for the better, yet still am the same sixteen year old girl. The same girl who landed in La Paz with hands shaking from excitement and nervousness, the same girl who hugged you tightly at Logan.

See you really soon,

Love you to the moon and back

Noam
    [post_title] => I am Still Me, But Not Completely
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => i-am-still-me-but-not-completely
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-12-05 18:45:14
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-12-06 01:45:14
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128838
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 114
                    [name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 114
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 236
                    [count] => 163
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 4.1
                    [cat_ID] => 114
                    [category_count] => 163
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [category_parent] => 236
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A
)

Andes & Amazon A

View post

I am Still Me, But Not Completely

Noam Wizel,Andes & Amazon A

Description

Dear Mom and Dad, Three months ago, we hugged tightly, said a last goodbye and I walked off into the security line of the Boston Logan airport. You sent me, your sixteen year old daughter into an unknown adventure, where I would have to forge myself a new home away from home and re-learn how […]

Posted On

12/5/15

Author

Noam Wizel

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 132358
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-05 14:46:10
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-05 21:46:10
    [post_content] => “Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together,' said Merry. 'We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.' 'Not to me,' said Frodo. 'To me it feels more like falling asleep again.”

I remember reading this quote in my home stay house in Tiquipaya and wondering who I would agree with, Merry or Frodo. On one hand in general I have always liked Merry more. He´s funnier, more joyful. Seems to enjoy life. Frodo on the other hand seems to just be more somber, but interstingly is my Myers-Briggs personalty. And I have to say I don´t know. Maybe I´ll find myself in 48 hours texting my friends, distractedly noticing the dust collecting of the memories of this trip. Maybe I´ll fall back in to the sleepy routine of my home life, and try as hard as I can to keep it alive. I really couldn´t say either way.

Here I sit in what is probably my last internet cafe of the trip trying to prepare myself for the journey home. I try and jam all of my experiences in to the small part of my brain that allows me to communicate its contents and really fail miserably. I think I need to release the expectation that I can explain what this trip was. I think the best I can do is wrap the experience in a warm blanket and an agauyo, and carry it with me. Maybe someday, a piece will fall in to place and I can share just how much this trip changed me.

So for those of you at home here are some quick tips to interacting with me again: I might mention the most random things from the trip. I can´t explain big things, but I´ll want to share as many things as possible. So don´t be surprised if I break the silence with "I threw up under a picnic table". I might stare at your phones. Its been a while. I might get really into the Christmas Carols. I don´t know if that has anything to do with the trip but I have a renewed passion for the Christmas season. And finally I might be a bit sad. I´m leaving a lot of loved ones behind.

Thanks for supporting me through everything! I´ll be home soon.
    [post_title] => I went on an Adventure!
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => i-went-on-an-adventure
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-12-05 14:46:10
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-12-05 21:46:10
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128809
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 114
                    [name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 114
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 236
                    [count] => 163
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 4.1
                    [cat_ID] => 114
                    [category_count] => 163
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [category_parent] => 236
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A
)

Andes & Amazon A

View post

I went on an Adventure!

Suzy Lewis,Andes & Amazon A

Description

“Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together,’ said Merry. ‘We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.’ ‘Not to me,’ said Frodo. ‘To me it feels more like falling asleep again.” I remember reading this quote in […]

Posted On

12/5/15

Author

Suzy Lewis

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 132359
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-05 14:42:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-05 21:42:22
    [post_content] => 
image image
I don´t think there are words to describe my past 3 months here, and if there are they are words I´m not yet familiar with. But I know when I go home I will be faced with the question of how my trip was repeatedly. Sure I could summarize the places I went - Machu Picchu, the Andes, the Amazon, remote villages in Peru and Bolivia, homestays in Tiquipaya, Potosi, and so many more. But my trip has been so much more than the places I´ve visited. I formed relationships, not only with the 13 other incredible people that I have been traveling with for the past 3 months, but with the guides, the families I lived with, the people who took time out of their lives to educate me through charlas, and the short encounters with people on the streets and in trufis. These relationships have formed my trip and are what have made it such an incredible experience. These are the aspects I can´t put into words. These relationships are what have caused me to learn so much about myself and my place in the world. I´ve learned about human rights and privilage. All of these things are things I can´t describe, but my inability to say much beyond ¨my trip was absolutely amazing¨ doesn't mean my experience was anything less than incredible. [post_title] => "My Trip Was Good" [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => my-trip-was-good [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 10:37:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 17:37:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128813 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 114 [name] => Andes & Amazon A [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 114 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 236 [count] => 163 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4.1 [cat_ID] => 114 [category_count] => 163 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015 [category_parent] => 236 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A )
View post

“My Trip Was Good”

Maria Iuliano,Andes & Amazon A

Description

I don´t think there are words to describe my past 3 months here, and if there are they are words I´m not yet familiar with. But I know when I go home I will be faced with the question of how my trip was repeatedly. Sure I could summarize the places I went – Machu […]

Posted On

12/5/15

Author

Maria Iuliano

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 132356
    [post_author] => 16
    [post_date] => 2015-12-05 14:28:47
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-05 21:28:47
    [post_content] => 
Dear Family and Friends,
This may start to sound a bit cliché, but it's true, it's hard to believe this experience is coming to an end.  Sitting on the shores of Lake Titicaca just days ago, nursing our blisters and "chuspi" bites, our group begun to relive the adventure that was our last three months:
From the first impressions and awkward moments at Aritumayo, to breaking in our boots in La Cordillera de Los Frailes and saying goodbye to Erin, to being welcomed into the homes of Bolivian families and building a human connection.  We were tested by the altitude of the high Andes but rewarded with immense beauty.  In the Amazon we learned how to overcome not only the heat and humidity but the challenges of our individual differences.  In Peru we were shown a way of living vastly different than our own in La Nación Q'eros. The students finished the trip strong by demonstrating the skills each had acquired by orchestrating our trek over Salkantay Pass to Machu Picchu.  We have traveled far not only in terms of kilometers on a map, but in forming bonds within our group and discovering more about ourselves and our capabilities.
Thank you to all those we met along the way who helped us on our journey: Johnny and Walter in the Frailes; all the families of Tiquipaya, Asunción, and Q'eros who welcomed us into their homes and communities; the numerous guest speakers who shared their passions and struggles with us; Ricardo in Illampu, Rubén from the Beni River, Fabian and Juan Carlos, who showed us the beauty and culture of Nación Q'eros; and of course Iquique Lady, for your hours of entertainment in bus terminals.
During transference we grappled with the emotions of returning home and how we might begin to answer the complex and inevitable question that every traveler dreads, "How was Bolivia?".  Our emotions are mixed but we are united in one fact, we love you and miss you!  What did become clear from sharing our thoughts from home is the feeling of gratitude.  Without your support these fifteen individuals would have never had the fortune to learn so much about the world and grow so close.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
From instructors to our students - June, Jacob, Maria, Jack, Noam, Claire, Charlie, Suzy, Ben, Ilana, Anton, and Erin - thank you!  Thank you for sharing this time in your lives with us.  Thank you for challenging yourselves to achieve what you never imagined possible.  Thank you for setting aside differences and seeing each other's true beauty.  Thank you for the all of the laughs and even for a few tears.  And thank you to your families for raising such an amazing group of individuals.
Gracias,
The We-Team
[post_title] => Instructor team thank you [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => instructor-team-thank-you [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 10:38:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 17:38:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128822 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 114 [name] => Andes & Amazon A [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 114 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 236 [count] => 163 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4.1 [cat_ID] => 114 [category_count] => 163 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015 [category_parent] => 236 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A )
View post

Instructor team thank you

The instructors,Andes & Amazon A

Description

Dear Family and Friends, This may start to sound a bit cliché, but it’s true, it’s hard to believe this experience is coming to an end.  Sitting on the shores of Lake Titicaca just days ago, nursing our blisters and “chuspi” bites, our group begun to relive the adventure that was our last three months: […]

Posted On

12/5/15

Author

The instructors

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 132352
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-05 14:28:03
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-05 21:28:03
    [post_content] => How do I sum up the final few weeks of what has been the experience of a lifetime?
How do I describe the culture shock I felt while  peeling potatoes--the sole source of sustenance in the region--with Inca descendents in Nacion Qeros? How do I relay the intense accomplisment I felt while summitting the Salkantay pass on Thanksgiving? How do I communicate the relief I felt while relaxing in a hotspring after days on end of hiking with no shower?

The truth is, I´m not sure I´d want to. These moments are mere parts of stoies, and these tales might include details that people wouldn´t want to hear: the hundreds of mosquito bites that still plague my legs; the struggle to walk down Llacta Pata with heat exhaustion, knowing that the day of trekking was far from over; the way that I wished for nothing more than indoor heating and lighting in the stone huts of Nacion Qeros, and then grappled with the fact that I would soon have these things, while the families generous enough to host me would not.

I knew that I would face challenges, physical and mental, in this part of the course. In fact, going into expedition, I wasn´t dealing with this anticipation very gracefully. At one point, I even went so far as to ask Leah, "Am I going to die on Salkantay???" At this point, coursemate Jacob Iarussi gave me a piece of wisdom that has echoed in my head every day since: "Whether or not, you think you can, you´re right."

So that´s how I would like to describe my last few weeks. No, months. Since I arrived in Bolivia in September, I have been emulating the Little Engine That Could, huffing and puffing with varying degrees of freight on my back up mountains both literal and figurative, not letting any thoughts into my head besides "I think I can." And, in the past few weeks, I´ve had that quote--officially one of my favorites--to give me a final burst of motivation, to put my abilities into perspective.

I´m writing this post directly after filling out an end-of-course survey for Dragons. One of the questions was, "What advice would you give to future Dragons students?" My response: "It will be challenging. Do it anyway."
    [post_title] => Whether Or Not You Think You Can, You´re Right
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => whether-or-not-you-think-you-can-youre-right
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-12-05 14:28:03
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-12-05 21:28:03
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128806
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 114
                    [name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 114
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 236
                    [count] => 163
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 4.1
                    [cat_ID] => 114
                    [category_count] => 163
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A
                    [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015
                    [category_parent] => 236
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A
)

Andes & Amazon A

View post

Whether Or Not You Think You Can, You´re Right

Ilana Goldberg,Andes & Amazon A

Description

How do I sum up the final few weeks of what has been the experience of a lifetime? How do I describe the culture shock I felt while  peeling potatoes–the sole source of sustenance in the region–with Inca descendents in Nacion Qeros? How do I relay the intense accomplisment I felt while summitting the Salkantay pass […]

Posted On

12/5/15

Author

Ilana Goldberg

Category

Andes & Amazon A

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 132349
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-12-05 08:29:03
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-05 15:29:03
    [post_content] => 
During the first night of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we were camping in a small town 30 minutes outside Mollepata, Peru. Looking past the nearby shrubbery out towards the booming, sun-gleaming cordillera, I was writing a journal entry titled "Beauty." Many times during this trip, we have been in the presence of enormous snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, and vivid jungles. These are all natural creations that are unique and powerful and beautiful. Yet none have taken my breath away - at times a small smile is the most these sights induce. For me, as I've learned more and more throughout this trip, I find more joy in people. Talking to people, to strangers of whom I probably won't see again, that I meet along the trail. On the way to Machu Picchu, I met Tim from England, Conrad from South Africa, Zach from Nevada, Alejandro from Argentina, and Ryan and Eric from North Carolina. With each, I enjoyed conversations that often based around travel. In the midst of my gap year, and just because of general curiosity, I am interested to hear about other parts of the globe. Gaining this knowledge interests and excites me. Two days on, I have seen the most famous ruins in the world. Machu Picchu was more amazing than I imagined. Unlike the mountains and rivers and jungles, the city evoked a sense of humanity - ancient and different yet fascinating humanity. Humans made this. Perhaps this is why the citadel brought more than a mere smile to my face. At one point atop Waynapicchu, this old, distinctly different place appeared rather suddenly from behind the cover of the morning clouds. It was magical. In looking down upon the vast, intricate stone network, and then later walking alongside the city during a guided tour, I felt like I was witnessing a small piece of the amazing livelihoods of a group of people so different from those to whom I am accustomed. Seeing this Incan creation, after all of the exposure we have had to the Incan Culture on this continent, especially last week in Nacion Q'eros, served as a fitting culmination of the trip. In weeks, months, and years, when I look back upon the week I spent in Peru as an 18 year old, completing the Salkantay Trek and finishing at Machu Picchu, I am curious as to what I will remember. Will it be a blur? Will I remember everything? Will I remember more the simple conversations with strangers or the intricate stone works of a lost empire? I am not sure, but I am excited to find out. [post_title] => Machu Picchu [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => machu-picchu-17 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 10:41:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 17:41:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128787 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 114 [name] => Andes & Amazon A [slug] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 114 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 236 [count] => 163 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4.1 [cat_ID] => 114 [category_count] => 163 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon A [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-a-fall-2015 [category_parent] => 236 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/andes-amazon-a-fall-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Andes & Amazon A )
View post

Machu Picchu

Charlie Gerard,Andes & Amazon A

Description

During the first night of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we were camping in a small town 30 minutes outside Mollepata, Peru. Looking past the nearby shrubbery out towards the booming, sun-gleaming cordillera, I was writing a journal entry titled “Beauty.” Many times during this trip, we have been in the presence of enormous […]

Posted On

12/5/15

Author

Charlie Gerard

Category

Andes & Amazon A

1 2 3 17