Over the next 12 weeks, the students on our Expedition Leader program will be embarking on a journey taking them from Ecuador, into Peru, China, Laos, Thailand and Nepal. Stay tuned here for their updates.
First up is Chloe Saulnier, 21yo hailing from Canada...
While excitement is one of the primary emotions felt when embarking an adventure the size of Pure Exploration’s Expedition Leader Program, it is difficult not to also feel anxious about what’s to come. After months of preparation and communication over the internet, the day arrives where you will meet these strangers with whom you will be travelling the world for the next 12 weeks. For us, it happened in the Middle of the World. From Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Hungary, and Australia, we all flew to Quito, Ecuador to start what would be a life-changing experience.
I landed in Quito at 12:30am local time on June 5th, thus I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit some iconic spots in the city before meeting with the rest of the group. That being said, I took it easy on my first day to give my body some rest and adjust to the altitude. I come from a coastal community, thus my body is not used to elevations such as Quito’s and the Andes’. Shortness of breath, slight headaches, and a little bit of dizziness were all part of the deal, but nothing to be afraid of- it simply requires that you be patient with yourself. Later in the afternoon, I went for a stroll around the city, checked out the Parque La Carolina area and ran a few errands. I was surrounded by colourful buildings, local music, palm trees and enthusiastic vendors as I made my way across the city. It was then that reality truly set in and I said to myself, “Wow, I’m really doing this!”. The following day I continued to explore the city and saw parts of Centro Historico de Quito and made it to the top of the TeleferiQo. Again, fantastic views and charming locals were all part of my day. While I was having a fantastic time, I couldn’t wait to meet up with the rest of the team.
On June 7th, I woke up, packed my bag and made my way to our meeting point- Hotel San Francisco de Quito. I was feeling all the excitement built up from the anticipation, but also a lot of nervousness. So many questions were going through my head. What if we don’t get along? What if I can’t complete the challenges I will be facing? Thankfully, these feeling were put to rest the moment I stepped foot in the hostel. I was greeted by Jessica and Keri (our two instructors) and a few other team members who had arrived before me. The rest of the group made its way in over the next 30 minutes and soon enough we were all sitting together in the middle of the world.
After 4 days , I can confidently say that I feel very comfortable and ready to take on any challenges we will face. The program’s DNA has the ability to attract like-minded people with similar intentions, thus I know for a fact that the connections I will build here will remain for the rest of my life. As I sit here today, writing this blog from the rainforest in Tena, Ecuador, I need to continuously remind myself of how incredibly lucky I am to be here doing what most only dream of. This is only the beginning. I hope you’ll be joining along for the ride.