Editor’s note: Curious what day-to-day life is like while studying abroad? Interested in off-the-beaten-path locales? Danny Dyer has you covered. Danny kept this journal recapping each day of an unforgettable journey to Ecuador this summer.
As we were swiftly skimming across the murky Yasuni River, I could not help but think to myself how lucky we are. Going to Ecuador and being fully emerged into the most biodiverse location in the world is an opportunity that most people do not get to experience. Here I find myself surrounded by the beauty of refreshingly new adventure and I am ready to fully engulf into it.
The second two places I visited had my mind working a million miles and hour and jumping around like an Amazonian spider.
Before I left for Ecuador, a good 90 percent of the people I told about my upcoming trip warned me that it was too dangerous, the country too unstable, that I was going to get sick, die in an earthquake, maimed, drugged, robbed, killed etc. The general consensus seemed to be “dude, why didn’t you just go to Europe?” and “I don’t think you thought this through.” Stubborn as I am, I took most of this advice with a grain of salt. And I’m glad that I did.
I thought before I came to Quito that I would have to step back in the closet. My biggest fear was not travelling to a new country and learning a new culture, but it was the unknown of how the people would accept and perceive me. One week after arriving, I realized that you cannot have the experience of a lifetime if you are not true to who you are.
In an interview for a marketing position many years ago, I asked my prospective employer, “Whether or not I receive this position, what do you think it takes to succeed in this field?” His response was one that I have always carried in the forefront of my work ethic. He said, “Whatever you do, always think five steps ahead. If you think you have a great idea, you should already be thinking of the next one … always think in terms of the future.”
It’s been one week since I landed in Quito – the capital city of Ecuador which is nestled 9,000 feet high in the Andes at the foothill of Pichincha Volcano. Since the moment I arrived, Quito felt like home; there is an air of familiarity here and I cannot seem to unravel why. It just feels as if I was always meant to be here.