The Beginning

Ilana Marder-Eppstein - Ecuador


July 13, 2013

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

My name is Ilana Marder-Eppstein, and I will be spending the next school year in Ecuador through the program Global Citizen Year. I grew up in Evanston, a town right outside of Chicago. Like most children, when I was young I spent my days finding new places to venture and play in, although it seems that I have had some difficulty growing out of this phase. I remember vividly when my adventuring days began.

I was four years old and my family took a trip to Lake Louise in Banff, Canada. We decided to take a hike to a teahouse that was on the top of one of the mountains surrounding the lake. My tiny feet were secure, nice and tight in little hiking boots that gave me all the mobility I needed. I was ready to start the climb, but my father had his doubts. Secured to his back was a carrier where I would sit, so not to slow down the older more experienced hikers. I am the youngest in my family. My older siblings are seven and nine years older than I, and at that time their legs were much bigger and stronger than mine.

We began the climb upward. When my dad tried to pick me up and put me in his pack I threw a fit. I wanted to hike! And so I ran ahead of the pack, and started waddling up and up. My family asked me time and time again if I needed to be carried but I refused: I wanted to go out and explore on my own two feet. On this hike I quickly acquired the nick-name Little MountainGoat.

After three hours of hiking we reached the teahouse at the top. The view was magnificent; the lake below was a pure turquoise. I ordered a lemon tea, the only kind of tea that sounded remotely familiar. The sense of accomplishment began to settle in.

I found that the exhilaration of exploration was one I could not shake. I took every opportunity I could to go on a small adventure. It became a habit of mine to wander off during dinner parties, and look through my parents’ friends’ houses, peering into each room to see what I could find. Quite frankly I think I invaded a whole lot of personal privacy, but I developed a deep lust for exploration.

Although today I no longer tear through people’s houses, thankfully, I still have a shaking in my bones to step where I have never stepped before. So I have followed this craving and I am off to Ecuador! And I will be recording all my little journeys in this blog. I hope that I still have my little goat legs because I am sure that I will be climbing many mountains in the year to come.

Ilana Marder-Eppstein