Solo Work/Volunteer- A girl's tale in Ecuador

By PATRICIA WHITE

  • My Experience
  • Photos

I left my career at the Division of Wildlife with the term sabatical weighing heavily on me. I thought, this will be fun- a few months out of my life, I mean completely out of it and on a different planet. Hired as a volunteer Leader, I hopped on a plane, went to a 3 day training and after debarking in the Quito airport and meeting my group I was off to the Amazon jungle for the first time in my life, to Ecuador for the first time in my life followed closely by 16 green volunteers fresh from college.

I thought, "Freedom is terrifying" and also "who the hell came up with this plan?" But the days in the jungle rolled feverishly by and by the time my first group left, the community had begun to call me Sachi Warmi or jungle woman, a compliment in my eyes. By the third group and third month in the jungle I felt as if I had never arrived, that in fact I had always been there. The experience of teaching my volunteers about the Amazon, community development, Environmental controversy and the realities of conservation on the ground had in fact created an offshoot of my person. Had shaped and evolved my being into the potential I always felt glowing in the back of my head, ringing in my inner ear.

I went back to the Colorado Division of Wildlife after 3 months in the Amazon and worked for 8 long, measured months. Then, after paying my bills and outstanding parking tickets I sold everything I owned, packed the essentials (including my 100 pound malamute), quit my job and moved to Ecuador for another glorious summer of guiding volunteer projects for 16 weeks straight- one day off.

I live in Ecuador to this day, in a small jungley cabin, on a hill outside of town. The malamute died several years ago and I have a new pup. The people and connections I made my first two years living and guiding volunteers in rural communities across Ecuador has built a foundation o family and friends that I know and love well. I have since started my own women's solo vacation company called Betty Adventures and we just had our first surf and yoga camp this January. It was awesome.

I stream npr every morning to listen to the news. I do think of the USA often. But I also climb and hike on a weekly basis and hit the coast surfing every couple months.

Its hard to know when you step out of your ordinary life to open a door and your heart to a new experience, where you will end up. There are no guarantees or packaged deals. I think that is the definition of Adventure at its finest. I think I am having the best adventure of my life.

Additional Info:

Trip Duration: Over One Month
Country: Ecuador
When: June 2009
Travel Provider: Other
Volunteer Experience Type: Sustainable Development


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