Ecuador: Radiating Gratitude

I have observed a different world in just two months of working at a small ecotourism agency, and living completely immersed in the culture of Ecuador. The most important thing I’ve learned is to appreciate the small things.

A mentality that I plan on bringing home with me — and one that we could all benefit from adopting — is that of gratitude. Gratitude for mother earth, gratitude for our successes and gratitude for family.

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Don’t Even Try to Escape the World Cup

Let me start off by mentioning that the country that I am living in (Ecuador) did not qualify for this year’s World Cup. That being said, talk of soccer is still heavily present in every conversation and every inch of this country. If there’s not a game being played at the time, there will be conversations surrounding yesterday’s unbelievable game, or the anticipation for tomorrow’s game.

Got somewhere to go? You don’t even have to worry about missing the game when you leave the house, because it will be broadcasted on the radio in the car on your way over. And I can say with certainty that it is being shown at your destination. If there is a television showing the World Cup, you will find people flocking to watch, even if they are not customers. Everyone is invited to take part. And surprisingly, I have never seen anyone turned away from watching even without a purchase.

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The Amazon Jungle: Expect the Unexpected

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.

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Five Reasons I’m Still Alive

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.

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LGBTQ+ Pride in Quito

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.

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An Out-of-This-World Internship

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.” 

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