Boliva: Spirit of the Andes
My name is Ivan Garcia, I am 15 years old, and I’m currently a sophomore in high school. I’ve always lived in Oakland, California, a beautiful city right across the bay from San Francisco. I fell in love with Dragons after going on a four week course to Bolivia this past summer, where I was able to learn about more global issues, but somehow I still managed to discover more about myself and who I am. I enjoy going running, videography, and am a huge political junkie. I hope to show others how meaningful taking a Dragon’s trip is by being an Alumni Ambassador.
I first met Dragons…
Technically, in the Miami International Airport, where after waiting for my trip-mates to arrive after about eight hours of waiting alone, they began showing up one by one. For me, though, I truly met Dragons and everything it embodies sitting around the dinner table at our last night in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We began our trip in Santa Cruz, and to come full circle, after having spent a month with my trip-mates and instructors, I felt the power, beauty, and deep meaning behind what I had just experienced. It was the one time where I was able to wrap my head around what was next to come, the journey home which I was at the time, not ready for.
Something I would like to tell prospective students….
Be afraid, it’s normal. Be nervous and worry about things that might go wrong, it’s normal. But be yourself, it’s all you can wholeheartedly be, and before you know it the things that once made you uncomfortable, will be your favorite stories to tell. Don’t forget to stop and take in the majestic views, engage in the laughter, and ask yourself how you’re doing every once and a while. Before you know it, your journey will be over, and be patient with yourself as you make the transition into your everyday life upon your return. Most importantly, never forget about the amazing experiences you had, and stay in touch with your trip-mates and instructors, as they will quite possibly have become some of your best friends.
If I had a year to burn, I would…
Throw my phone in the ocean after purchasing a flight to somewhere I’ve never been before, probably Nepal, Indonesia, or Peru. I’d take a year to reflect on my life and try and find the things I’m truly passionate about. I’d probably email my Bolivian trip-mates (and instructors of course) from an internet cafe from somewhere in the world and ask them to join me on my adventure. They’d probably think I’m crazy and then sooner or later they’d show up. I would also love to write a book, and it would probably end up being a collection of a year’s worth of photos and stories from my travels, as those are always worth more than anything.
My next big project is…
Continuing to find what I am truly passionate about and the things that make me smile from the inside and outside. Not knowing what’s next in life is something that scares me, but also encourages me to get out of my comfort zone.