All that is gold does not glitter. It is my expectation that many of the most valuable parts of this experience will seem at the time the most ordinary. And interactions with people will heavily outweigh any foreign food or museum.
Not all those who wander are lost. In Ecuador, we will be in a foreign land full of mystery. I hope that we will take advantage of the unknown and discover.
The old that is strong does not wither. This trip will strengthen us, but like most strength, it is gained through adversity. What will be our challenge? Many things, but don’t underestimate simply stepping outside. In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga, Frodo quotes Bilbo saying:
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Deep roots are not reached by the frost. While we are exploring other peoples and lands and deepening our experiences, we ultimately can learn the most about the self. In light of what we experience, I hope we rethink ourselves and learn things which surprise (and possibly frighten) us. Then, with our deeper understanding of what it means to be ourselves, we can more fully serve others.