Uhm Guys, Where Are We?

Even if you do not know exactly where you are going or how to get there, do not forget to enjoy the present. That is what I learned during my trip to Ecuador, after a very unexpected event.

“Emma?” My mom calls to me. “I need to talk to you.”

It is common knowledge that when your mother wishes to “talk to you”, what she really wants to know about is the secret you managed to hide for the past 3 months. But I go downstairs anyways and sit at the table to mentally prepare myself for the chaos about to ensue.

“Honey, I wanted to tell you that I signed you up for the school trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos!” She says with a big smile. “Your friends Cassidy and Abby have also signed up. It will be so much fun.”

A simultaneous wave of relief and excitement washes over me like water out of a bucket. I did not expect that at all. Excitement overcomes me and before I knew it, I pack my bags, get on a plane and then onto a small fishing yacht that sails Me, Cassidy and Abby to Isla Isabela of the Galapagos Islands.

 When we get to the island, I step off of the yacht and onto the warm white sand. There are Sea Lions, about 25 of them, lay sprawled out across benches, tree roots, rocks, and the sand. Tropical birds sing sweet songs and seagulls chase schools of fish. Off in the horizon there is the soft glow of a town, the town at which we are staying at. Everything seems like a dream come true. However, when I signed up for my school’s trip to Ecuador I never imagined that within 48 hours of setting foot on the island, my friends and I would find ourselves lost in the streets of Isla Isabela.

Before we settle down for the night, my friends and I decide that we want to explore the town. More importantly, we want to seek out the best shop to purchase snacks. We set off into a narrow alleyway while the sun still shines on the clay walls of buildings and puddles that accumulated on the dirt road after the previous night’s rain. After purchasing our snacks and walking out of the store, we are far too absorbed in our goodies to notice that we took a turn down the wrong alley way. On top of that, the sun set and left us in the pitch dark and with a loud clap of thunder it starts to pour. At this point the three of us stand under the one rain poncho available and panic.

“Hey guys, where are we?” Abby finally asks.

“Oh my god we’re lost and we only have Carlos bars to survive on!” Cassidy says.

“Calm down, calm down.” I chime in. “We’re lost, but I’m sure one of the locals knows where the hotel is. This is an island after all, I’m sure they know where to go.”

So we set off on part two of our Snack Expedition and admire all the different houses, most of which are only half built. We also notice various gift shops and convenience stores. Finally, we come across a small bakery with the aroma of freshly baked sweet bread and sugar. It seems as if it is closed, but a kind old lady welcomes us into the store with a “Bienvenidos” and offers us a few bags of goodies for only a few cents each. After we enjoy our pastries, I take it upon myself to ask for help. I try my best to explain our situation to the lady in Spanish and she understand enough to guide us in the right direction. As it turns out, the bakery is just right down the street from the hotel we are staying in! Finding the hotel was great, but knowing the bakery was so close to the hotel was even better.

My friends and I lost our way back to our hotel on Isla Isabela. But we came back to the hotel with more than just snacks. We came back with a lifetime of memories and a new perspective. Even if you lost yourself, take the time to enjoy what’s going on in the “now”, because you never know when you will be able to experience it again.

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