Life is a journey that should be lived, loved and experienced fully every day. As our society continues to globalize and we see more H&M´s and McDonald´s signs and hear more popular music no matter where in the world we are, it is increasingly important to remind ourselves of this and to seek people and places that will support new knowledge and personal growth.
Since my first, very brief, visit to Ecuador, I found precisely that. I had been drawn to return, not only because of the hospitality and generousity of the people, but also for the rich culture, deep history, impressive biodiversity and, of course, the chocolate. Ecuador is a small but fierce country where you can find such an array of dishes and landscapes, you could never get bored. From the coast to the jungle, the highlands to the famed Galapagos islands, every region has a distinctive cuisine and each town, a unique flavor.
The sense of community, connection to heritage and appreciation for nature throughout Ecuador will leave you wanting to dive into the depths of your own passions while continuing to explore every facet of Ecuadorian culture, history, and society.
I have now spent 6 months here, and yet, I have just barely scratched the surface. My Spanish has not improved in the ways that I had hoped (I can understand quite a lot, but I cannot express myself, leaving me to feel as awkward as my 12 year old self), but I have re-discovered within myself a desire to self-reflect and reconnect with the values and goals I have in life. Learning again to live for yourself and not others is a daunting task, but surrounding yourself with others who inspire you to do so makes it as easy as justifying that second helping of pie at Thanksgiving.