Photo © Expedition Leader Roberto Plaza
Have you ever had a moment in life where you have to pinch yourself because you don't quite believe that this moment, this experience, is really happening to you? If not, I'd highly recommend you pop on over to the Galapagos Islands the next chance you get!
I think it's fair to say, I'm a pretty excited person. I mean, my baseline "stoke-level" is about an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. So when there was a last-minute cancellation on one of our Galapagos adventures and I was presented with an opportunity to go, I played it totally cool at work, and then went home and just about lost my mind! "WHAT?! I'm going WHERE?!"
From the first days in Otavalo, Ecuador (which I absolutely loved: beautiful farms blanketing 12,000-foot, snow-capped volcanoes), I was over-awed by the experience I was having. Seeing island creatures I'd only ever read about; setting foot on beaches populated only by sea lions; snorkeling and spotting a "funky shrimp" that even our guides had never seen; and countless other amazing travel moments that left me speechless.
It was the kind of experience that you wish you could have with everyone in your life that you love. But, in a trip with a thousand "share-worthy" moments, there was one that stole the show.
The dragonfly has become an important symbol in the lives of several of the people I love most in the world. It has come to symbolize the presence and memory of loved ones who've passed away.
Photo © Expedition Leader Court Whelan
One morning, while hiking with our guide, Roberto Plaza, he stopped the group and said, "I'd like you to try something. This place is so special, so beautiful, I'd like to you spend the rest of this hike, being as quiet as possible. We won't talk, I'll answer any questions you may have later, but let's take a few moments to be fully present in this experience."
We hiked around a bend and the arid island suddenly became a stunning oasis. In a sheltered lagoon, a baby sea lion was playing; a small tide pool held brilliantly colored algae; an incense tree softly swayed, its leaves rustling in the breeze. The air smelled like sunshine and salt.
And there were dragonflies everywhere. Hundreds of them!
It was as if the magic of the Galapagos had turned every thought I'd had about a friend or relative into one of those delightful little dragonflies and gave me an opportunity to share this unbelievable moment with everyone I care for.
There's magic in those "Enchanted Isles," and if you're quiet and still and willing to take it all in, I'm sure you'll experience the magic of the Galapagos, too!
Photo © Expedition Leader Colby Brokvist
This guest post was written by Natural Habitat Adventures Adventure Specialist Lauren Deeley.