By Ellen Clowes
Global travel is a key element in being educated and expanding one’s comfort zone. In the Summer of 2019, I had the opportunity to take an extraordinary trip to Peru through Colorado Academy and Walking Tree, and it was an eye-opening experience.
Being outside my comforts of home made me better educated about other cultures and showed me countless new perspectives. When I was asked what my favorite part of the trip was, I couldn’t just say one moment, because every day was filled to the brim with laughter and unforgettable memories, even from day one.
On the first day we boarded a small boat and headed out to the Callao Islands, where we had the option to swim with the sea lions. Most of us bravely jumped into the freezing water and were greeted by curious sea lions.
Another memorable moment was when we went out to dinner with the Peruvian Hearts students after meeting them for the first time. Peruvian Hearts is a Colorado-based nonprofit that encourages social, economic, and political change in Peru through the education and empowerment of young women. It was founded by a CA alumna, Ana Dodson ’10. We all walked from the girls’ apartment to a Chinese restaurant, where we laughed and joked over delicious food. I will never forget their smiles and how hard we laughed.
Of course, Machu Picchu was a highlight of the trip, with its stunning views and vast history. The views are breathtaking and surreal, once you finish the climb. It seems that you are almost at the top of the world, looking down at the ancient city with llamas roaming about. Walking around the stone hallways, it’s hard to believe that the structures were built hundreds of years ago.
Overall, the whole trip was filled with amazing, hilarious moments, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to travel to Peru. One can read as many books as she wishes on Peru and the harsh conditions Peruvians face, but it will never compare to stepping inside the cramped, dirt- floor homes and hearing the stories of broken, abused families and cruel times. Yet these people continue to wear smiles on their faces and greet us with joyful hugs.
I will never forget how the girls I met from Peruvian Hearts were like luminescent candles in the somber night, cheerful and kind, even when surrounded by poverty and hardship. Global travel will help one understand truly what is happening in other countries and expand one’s perspectives.