Bringing a World of Experiences Back Home – Ecuador Community Service

E6 final Blog Pic

Just like that, our 18 days have come to an end. On the last leg of our adventure through Ecuador we were able to visit the Galapagos Islands. While we were in the Galapagos we got to see some very exotic animals in their natural habitat. We helped reforest part of a Giant Tortoise habitat. Everyone thought it was really cool to be doing work, while right next to us Giant Tortoises were roaming around. “Big Daddy G”, a giant tortoise named by Gabby and TD Joelle, sat and watched us work all day long, only about 20 feet away! Walking around Santa Cruz Island was also a great place to spot Iguanas and Sea Lions. We all took a ton of pictures and Matt took a great Selfie with a sea lion that will be cherished forever.

When discussing the trip over all, the trip members all had their favorite experiences that they wanted to share.

Michali’s favorite part of the trip was the service and he says that it was “the most rewarding service I have ever done!” This service included working at an orphanage, school, senior living center, and a nature preserve.

Gabby and Remy both liked rafting down the Pastaza River the best. Gabby said “I like rafting because it put me out of my comfort zone.” Remy added that “Rafting made me feel alive!” Rafting was one of the three major water adventure activities that we participated in. The other two were kayaking in Tortuga Bay and Snorkeling at Kickers Rock.

“I had a very fun experience snorkeling” Anthony declared when explaining his favorite part of the trip. TL Mikey, had a blast with snorkeling as well.  Matt also loved to snorkel and explained it this way, “I enjoyed being a foreign person, visiting and unknown and beautiful world.”

It was hard thinking about just one highlight of the trip for some of us. We accomplished so much throughout our time in Ecuador and Leslie and Daniel both the whole trip was their highlight. “I liked Ecuador…. I liked the Galapagos…. You could say I liked the trip” explained Daniel. Leslie couldn’t agree more by emphatically stating “I wouldn’t trade this amazing Ecuadorian experience for anything in the world!”

All of these diverse outlooks on the trip really sums perfectly. Over the eighteen days that we were in Ecuador we all had amazing and life changing times, whether it be in the seat of a kayak or snorkeling by Kickers Rock, or whether it be playing soccer at the orphanage or making bracelets for senior citizens. The diversity of our trip helped us all grow in many different aspects of our lives and will help guide us in our lives ahead.

The Westcoast Blogger


Life Is Better With Pesto According To Backpack Italy!

Ciao Familia,

Waking up in the small town of La Spezia, to the sights and sound of the local villagers beginning their daily routine as they opened their shops and food markets gave us a sense of excitement for the exploring we had in store for today.

We were all well rested after our travel from the USA to Milan and then via train to La Spezia. Or first dinner was at a quaint family owned restaurant in La Spezia where we watched the hustle and bustle of this busy little restaurant and worked together to translate the handwritten menus from Italian to English. Ben was there to help translate, thank goodness for those Italian classes! The food was AMAZING and enough to feed an army, between the pastas, seafood, meat and pizza we had to roll our way down the street for our first Gelato experience.

Thursday we took the local train to Cinque Terre. Our trip members took charge and made sure we all purchased tickets and got on the correct train to make our way to Corniglia, one of the five villages, where we began a trek along the sea coast. The path was challenging at times but rewarded us with breathtaking views of the sea and villages. Even with the trails many ups and downs, Jesse was using his paparazzi skills to capture every moment on his camera.  Along the way we learned about the history of Cinque Terre and the people who have been living there for over two thousand years!

Backpack Italy

We arrived in Vernazza, another village, where we stopped for lunch and Zach, Josh, Brad and Brandon explored the local cuisine as they shared a plate of octopus! It was very delicious.

Meanwhile Amanda, Kelli, and Tyler were spotted eating “the best sandwich ever” at a small rustic sandwich shop along the Main Street of Corniglia.

After getting our fitness fix with the hike and then a leisurely lunch, we were ready to hit the beach for a relaxing afternoon of swim, sand and sun.  Zoe and Sophie made a mad dash for the kayak rental hut where they made friends with the local shop owner.

After a well deserved dip Owen took advantage of the ultimate way to relax when he discovered the message therapists that stroll up and down the beach providing messages for the beach goers.

Meanwhile Samantha, David, Kelli and Amanda took a scenic walk along the beach to check out ancient statues that had been carved into massive rocks thousands of years ago.

PESTO……PESTO……PESTO…..Did you know that Cinque Terre is famous for it’s pesto???? Well we did a taste test and let’s just say they know exactly what they are doing, it was delicious.

Sights, food, beach, gelato, sights, food, gelato, food, gelato= Italian Heaven!

On our way Venice…Ciao!

The Westcoast Blogger

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WCC Trip Featured on the Jumbotron at Seattle Mariners Game – Northwestern Odyssey

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