Independent Travel

Gabriel McCarthy - Ecuador


February 23, 2017

I just got back from my independent travel. I spent 12 days at the beach with my 2 good friends. We stayed at a cheap hostel in a shared room with anywhere from 2 to 6 other people. While we were there we met 2 Norwegians who were also doing a gap year, although theirs was much different from ours. Theirs would last 2 months, and in that time they’d visit several countries and cities throughout South America. At first it sounded really cool. So cool that when I initially heard about what they were doing I said “oh that’s much better than what we’re doing”. Without even thinking about it, that’s what slipped out of my mouth.

A while after that conversation I got to thinking, which I do a lot of here in Ecuador. I thought about what I said, about the experiences they were having and of the experiences I’ve had so far with my own gap year.
I’m not going to transition to say that I realized my gap year was better than theirs. I don’t like to think of it that way, to try and weigh the pros and cons and see which one is better. They’re both very different gap years lived by different people; they were happy with theirs, and I’m happy with mine. Maybe if I traveled South America with a friend I would’ve liked that better, but right now I wouldn’t change a thing about any of the decisions I’ve made since April 2016 when I decided to apply to GCY.
 This all ties into a strength of mine, which is my ability to accept things as they are. I get it from my parents, and from the extremely diverse schools I went to growing up. I’ve had to do a lot of accepting things for what they are these past 4 and a half months, because there’s so many things that happen that I’m just not used to. Girls marrying at 16, eating guinea pigs, driving recklessly, yeah all these things happen here, but they’re just parts of Ecuador. Other parts of Ecuador include the elegant traditional dance, the fresh food, the importance of family, all the nature. This country is a part of the big world I live in, and who am I to say something is bad just because of where I come from? That there’s a better way to do things? I have my opinions, but at the end of the day all i can do is accept it for what it is.

Gabriel McCarthy