*We had no cell service for a large portion of our trip, so I’m uploading all of these in chronological order from the US now that we’re back home! They’re all dated by the day they happened.*
This blog post instructs me to write a letter to myself at the start of the program. I’m really excited for this post because I journal frequently and love the sense of reflection it gives me. However, if I could somehow speak to myself before the trip knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t want to say much- in specific details, at least. A large part of the growth aspect of this trip was caused by being thrown into the unknown over and over- mentally, emotionally, and physically. So while I’d want to keep details hidden, I would want to keep telling myself over and over to stay open to new experiences. I did so before the trip, but reminding myself repeatedly will keep my eyes open to as many new things as possible.
“Dear Katie (from 12 days ago),
You have no idea what journey you are about to embark on. I know you think you know, but you don’t. You’re prepared, but there will be many moments where you’ll be pushed way beyond your previous comfort zone. You’ll come back to the US with a completely different perspective on the way other people live and how other cultures fit into a global context.
You’ve been familiar with the English language and American culture your whole life. Be prepared for all of that to expand and warp. Based on how long you’ve spent in Western culture and civilization, you’re accustomed to most people speaking English fluently and at the drop of a hat. Be prepared for that to change. However, that isn’t the way this trip is going to be.
You’ll be scared at times. Don’t be. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, you can handle everything that will be thrown your way. Be flexible always. You won’t be in control for most of this trip. Try your best to experience every moment for the time you have it and as it is. It will be gone and over before you know it.
You’re going to have the time of your life. “
I wouldn’t change anything that happened, nor my reaction. It all helped me grow, and I feel like I got the most I could have out of this trip. I’m so very happy with every event, experience, and emotion. This trip has changed the way I experience life, and I hope my letter back to my earlier self reflects that. If you get a chance to go to Ecuador- or anywhere abroad, try your best to surrender control and make the best of the time you have.