by Siobhan Richards
Scroll over the dots on the map to see photos of different parts of the trip.
A family like no other. That’s how many of the thirty students who traveled to the Amazon describe their bond to one another. Prior to the trip, these students were hardly friends; however, ten days in the Amazon rainforest forged an indescribable bond they will never forget.
Peru Crew 2018 left on Tuesday, April 10, not knowing what to expect. They were traveling deep into the Peruvian Amazon, with no cell phones or contact with the outside world. They had heard stories from previous years about how the trip will change their lives.
“When people said they came out as a family, I didn’t really understand that going into it,” senior Breanna Lizotte said.
“I mean, you basically took a group of 30 strangers, whom you only know from your classes and from school, but not that you know personally,” senior Aly Haley added. “You become so close with these people, and you’re with these people for 24 hours a day, so you get to learn the little things about them.”
“It’s funny because with Maggie [Appel], I knew her, but our personalities just never fit before, and this trip sort of helped me to see a new side of her. She is the nicest, sweetest person, and it wasn’t until this trip that I realized how similar we are at heart,” Lizotte recalls. “I really love that I found that connection.”
It wasn’t until their journey to Explornapo that the bonds started to form. This was about four days into the trip, and they were all still adjusting to the new environment together.
“Your body gets all messed up, so for the first week, the majority of us were sick and constipated,” Haley said. “You get to a level of friendship that most friends don’t get to until like a few years in.”
In Napo, they experienced the healing powers of the Shaman together. As they hiked to the canopy walk together, they had to rely on one another and conquer their fears 117.95 feet above the rainforest floor.
At the lodge, they began a good night ritual before the chaperones checked on them.
“I don’t even know how it started. Nick and Jared would run through our rooms and yell, ‘Tucky Tuckies’ and help us tuck our mosquito nets in, before the chaperones could get to us,” Haley explained. “Then we would all just yell goodnight to each other. The roof was somewhat open, so you could hear everyone.”
Tucky Tuckies, amongst other things, helped solidify their connection to one another. For the rest of the trip, from their visit to the Maijuna Community to their last stop at the Santa Monica Orphanage in Iquitos, Peru Crew acted like a true family.
“We really had to rely on each other. People we never would have talked to or known back home became the people you leaned on the most,” junior Kaylee Johnson said. “I’ve had class with Aly and Ian all year, but we never really talked until the trip. Now I talk to them almost every day.”
“I remember going downstairs for breakfast, and it was weird being home and sitting there by myself,” Haley added. “I texted [Kaylee], saying I miss eating breakfast with you, which is crazy because we were strangers a month ago.”
Peru Crew 2018 has continued to stay close weeks after the trip. They text each other whenever they need to talk or just see each other. Since the trip, they’ve gone to dinner together, gotten ice cream together, and are even planning on getting tattoos that represent their trip.
“By the end of the trip, we were leaving the airport in Boston, and we were all sobbing and hugging each other,” said Lizotte. “We were happy to be home, but also so sad to have to leave one another and go back to our regular lives. The trip was just that life changing.”