Count Your Lucky Stars
March 23, 2015   //   By:   //   Articles, International, Service Trips   //   Comments are off

With St. Patrick’s Day in the rear view mirror, I have been thinking about the concept of luck a lot lately. Looking back on all of the amazing opportunities abroad that I have been able to experience with Educational Travel Adventures, I feel like one extremely lucky individual. Although I do realize a part of making these trips happen was my hard work and dedication, it still seems that luck had a role to play. This has helped me to reflect on several situations, both in the planning and abroad stages, where I would argued things have turned out for the better almost certainly due to being lucky.

For example, the first year our club’s president wanted to create a trip to Costa Rica, she was struggling to gain enough interested participants to join. This was my first trip with ETA, and although I was trying to help her actively recruit, we were only gaining one or two interested volunteers every few weeks. One day, I was eating lunch with a few good friends and was expressing my fear that we may have had to cancel the trip. A few students sitting at another table happened to overhear our conversation, and began asking me more details. Three out of the five seemed really interested in finding out more, so they came to the next interest meeting. These students went on to join our Costa Rica program, whose numbers were in fact the tipping point that made the trip happen… how lucky!

When participating in international programs such as those offered by ETA, it is also almost impossible not to come to the conclusion that the whole experience is a crazy, incredible, life-changing adventure. On the off chance that not everything goes according to plan (which is in fact very possible), it is important to be flexible and open to change. Fortunately, ETA does an outstanding job of pre-planning these programs as much as possible, in order to minimize any unforeseen circumstances. Still, it can never hurt to have a fair share of luck on your side.

During a trip to Ecuador, we planned a hike to a nearby hidden waterfall. We all had a great time and stayed for most of the day. Walking back, we became slightly turned around and ended up exiting the jungle in a community several miles down from our own host families. We grudgingly began the long walk back, when about 5 minutes in one of our host brothers happen to be riding his motorcycle down the road. We filled him in on our predicament, and he quickly returned to our community to get the bus driver. The driver soon arrived to pick us up, saving us a few good hours of walking!

So, are these examples due to luck, or random chance? Personally, I for one really like to believe in the concept of luck. Again, I feel so fortunate to have been able to work with ETA as long as I have on these programs. They have helped to redefine and focus my long-term career goals, which would had never have happened if I wasn’t lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to sign up for that first trip to Costa Rica. Since then, I have had countless other situations resolved due to what I absolutely attribute to being lucky while abroad… but I will let you be the judge of that!

 

 

Ryan Roberts
About the Author :

Ryan Roberts recently received his Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Conservation Biology and a minor in Recreational Resources and Protected Areas Management from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. He is currently living in Whitesboro, NY and plans to move to Fort Collins, Colorado in August 2013 to pursue his Master of Science degree in Conservation Leadership at Colorado State University. He has traveled abroad six times in the past five years, seeing amazing sights such as Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. During the second year of his graduate program, he will be living in the Peruvian amazon for seven months! He has really found his passion in life through traveling, and plans on working with communities in developing countries on various natural resource issues, including community conservation and ecotourism.