In April of this year I took a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with a school group and it was a really incredible and eye-opening experience that taught me so much about this world. For example...
Remember to always be grateful for everything we have.
One very important thing I learned over the course of my trip was that our problems are pretty insignificant compared to other people throughout the world. It is important to be grateful for all we have and not to worry about the little things or complain about unimportant that do not really matter in the long run. It really opened my eyes and showed me all I had to be grateful for, especially on the islands where we met many of the native people, especially kids whom we played soccer with and attempted to talk to.
Everyone you meet along the way has something to teach you.
Everyone we met along the way, in Quito(the biggest city in Ecuador) and surrounding cities and the islands had something to teach us about their country and their culture. This was one thing that made this trip so incredible- the ability to learn from everyone around us, whether it was just listening to them speaking their native language and trying to figure out what their saying to them teaching us about the land and about the native people. Ecuador is a Spanish speaking country but many people attempted to speak English to us to help us better understand what they were saying, like in the airport and many other touristy locations and most of our tour guides spoke to us in English but also encouraged us to learn from the Spanish speaking people.
You meet so many incredible people.
The amount of unforgettable people we met along the way was amazing. Starting with our tour guide, Alejandro who was the best tour guide I have ever had. You could tell that he really cared about us and made sure we really learned a lot about the country we were visiting. Alejandro stayed with us the whole time and was our main tour guide but as we visited many other sites and cities we had other tour guides to teach us about other areas that they were experts on, like the giant tortoise habitats(my favorite). We met a family who made handmade instruments to sell and play, which was an amazing experience. Just walking through the cities, we met and interacted with numerous Ecuadorian people, especially at the Otavalo Market where we had to speak in Spanish to the merchants and bargain for a reasonable price for the goods they were selling.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F07%2F24%2F6363652455120308391362466280_6363645848016313591965096864_Screen%2520Shot%25202017-07-23%2520at%252010.00.55%2520PM.png&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=665&h=57a7381a3b3398f275d6d9726e41aa9faec38448521cee67a99867207ff42b81&size=980x&c=1007387009 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F07%252F24%252F6363652455120308391362466280_6363645848016313591965096864_Screen%252520Shot%2525202017-07-23%252520at%25252010.00.55%252520PM.png%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D665%26h%3D57a7381a3b3398f275d6d9726e41aa9faec38448521cee67a99867207ff42b81%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1007387009%22%7D" expand=1 original_size="1x1"]
You learn so much about yourself along the way.
There's nothing like jumping out of your comfort zone like traveling to a foreign country, where simple things like buying something from a grocery store or ordering something from a restaurant seems to be difficult when you do not speak Spanish very well. I learned a lot about myself along the way, including the fact that I have a lot more to learn in this world, and a lot more languages to study. I realized I will be doing a lot more traveling around the world in the future, and taking risks and going out of your comfort zone is a part of life and frankly, what makes life so fun!