This trip was completely in our hands and that realisation didn’t really sink in until we found out the place we were supposed to stay at during our first day in Guayaquil was unavailable. When Mr Vincent turned to us in the same manner which we turn to a leader in search of their decision, we all realised that this was our trip. It was our responsibility to make it work and that was what made it amazing.
Each day someone in our 7-student-led group would have the responsibility of managing our daily budget and making final decisions for everything. The first day it was my turn to lead and when we arrived at San Cristobal, my first job was to find a place to stay during the final days. I remember carrying my rucksack and my “mochilita” under the heavy sun and thinking to myself “how the heck am I supposed to find a place for us to stay? And even if I find a place to stay, could we even afford it?”
We eventually found a little hostel, and although it seemed nice it was too expensive for us, we all wanted to save as much of our budget as possible. So we kept walking and eventually found “Erik’s Hostel” which was not a 5-star luxury location, to say the least and in a way, I loved that. I remember when we called out for the owner and Erik himself came out of his little house trying to talk to us in English. I turned to Mr Vincent and he just looked at me like “What are you looking at me for? Talk to him!”. I turned back to Mr Erik, and although I don’t remember exactly what I said I think everyone in our group can agree that I overwhelmed him with numbers and made him drop the cost from $20 to $10 per person.
Even when we were walking around the town plaza (which had several sea lions just lying around), I felt like I had achieved something I didn’t even know I was capable of and that was before the amazing snorkelling and hikes had even begun.
Throughout the trip, we had several magical moments between the whole group. I found myself growing much closer to everyone, feeling a sense of unity and responsibility which drove me to want to be the best leader I could be.
I could write about every single day and everything I learned from them. I could talk about the volcanoes or the sharks, but words can’t really describe the whole experience and what it meant to me (at least not concisely!). It was an adventure unlike any other.