My Quetzaltrekkers Experience started all the way back in April when I began my search for volunteer work in Latin America. I never had any intentions of ending up in Nicaragua, but as my search went on I became more open to whatever lied ahead. Then I found Quetzaltrekkers website tempting me with hiking through beautiful landscape in the quest to reach the summit of Nicaraguan volcanos. Done deal. From that moment on I was determined to go to León and work as a volunteer hiking guide. So I did. Almost six months of building expectations until the day I arrived at the Quetzal office early in October. Was it anything like I expected? Not even close.
There wasn’t much that could’ve prepared me for life here. The first week was a challenge, getting to know the house I would be staying at, the city I would be living in and the people I would be working with. It was easy to feel alone although always surrounded. Everyone and everything was new and I was always treading on unknown ground, from learning about our hikes and the volcanos to visiting our projects and knowing how to interact with the clients. It was a lot to take in. But then, all of a sudden, something clicked. This unfamiliar house became my home, my colleagues became my friends and work became an adventure. Although challenging, the rewards of the hikes make it all worth it. When your job becomes staring into beautiful sunsets, climbing majestic volcanos and go swimming through stunning canyons, you know you got it good. Then you realise the best part of it all; whilst you are having the time of your life you are contributing to helping out the unprivileged children in León, improving their educational platform and a safe environment to grow up in. How is that for the perfect way to spend your time?
During my 3 months working at Quetzaltrekkers I had so many wonderful experiences. León has been an amazing place to live and work and Nicaragua is a playground for nature lovers. I have seen the lava on Telica and I’ve watched the stunning views from El Hoyo. I have taken plenty of people volcano boarding and I have swam through emerald green waters in the Somoto Canyon. I’ve seen the changes we make and the help we give to our projects. I have played with the kids and seen their smiling, curious faces looking back at me. All of this and more has made working at Quetzaltrekkers an experience like no other, and that is just my job description.
Other things are impossible to describe and that is why there is a second part to being a member of Quetzaltrekkers that can’t be told, but that must be experienced. This part is not about the treks nor the projects, but about all those people who decided to do the same as me; leave home and go to León to volunteer. It is impossible to describe, because it’s about those people that I met and the experiences we have shared that no one else will ever be a part of. These people, who just a couple of months ago were strangers from all over the world and that somewhere along the road became my family away from home. People I’ve spent more or less every single moment with from the day I arrived and who I will so fondly remember forever for being the people that made this one of the best experience of my life. Until we meet again, somewhere – sometime.
So, for anyone who ever considered volunteering, stop thinking and start working. You will never regret a once in a lifetime experience that comes from being a part of a volunteer organisation. And for me, no words can describe how happy I am deciding to do exactly that with Quetzaltrekkers.
DON’T BE SAD BECAUSE YOU ARE SAYING GOODBYE, BE HAPPY BECAUSE YOU HAVE MEMORIES WITH THEM THAT YOU’LL REMEMBER FOREVER