Mount Pichincha

The world is an extraordinary place.  Though this statement seems obvious enough, I have realized how often I would forget it as I got caught up in the stresses and hustle and bustle of my life back at home. Meeting the fellows and arriving in Ecuador has brought this message back to me.  The most incredible experience I have had so far on my journey (and one of the most incredible experiences of my life) was hiking Mount Pichincha and reaching its 15,420 foot summit.  The climb was not easy and took well over three hours.  We were forced to stop often to catch our breath because the elevation would wind us in minutes.  Yet as my friends and I climbed, I experienced an amazing sensation of feeling alive.  I felt excited and motivated to be putting all my energy towards experiencing one of the most stunning places on earth I have ever seen.  The other fellows and I were able to laugh and cheer each other on as we panted for breath and our hands turned raw and numb from the cold.  As we finally reached the summit, stared at the majestic view of Quito to the East and the mountain range to the West, and literally touched the clouds as they rolled in, I was reminded as to what an extraordinary place the world is.  As I continue through my time in Ecuador and when I return to the States, I want to always remember to appreciate everything the world has to offer.  Unfortunately I don’t have the time to climb a massive mountain everyday but there are other ways to stay in tuned with the extraordinary world around me.  To do this I need to take time to appreciate the little moments that make the day exciting and interesting.  I need to remain curious about events occurring around me and ask questions about their causes and effects.  And every once in a while I do need to take time to go climb a mountain or have an adventure like that of Mount Pichincha.  In the past I too often let stress and my busy schedule distract me from fully experiencing the world around me.  I am not going to let that happen anymore.