by Julia Wall, videographer
My overall thoughts of our trip to San Cristóbal are, at this point, why am I in Chapel Hill and not still there? I love that place, all the people we met, all the creatures we saw, all the fish, rice and vegetables we ate, everything. I miss it so much, it’s all I’ve been able to think about since we got back on Monday afternoon. Chapel Hill is so fast, stressing and busy compared to the relaxed, comfortable little town. I miss the warm sun that woke us up early every morning, waving hello to everyone we saw on the street on the way to the restaurant Patagonia for breakfast, listening to sea lions wail every few minutes on the Malecón and so much more.
I got a chance to feel the adrenaline rush associated with seeing a hammerhead shark swimming towards you (and got it on video!), was welcomed, like a long time friend, into the home of a family whose language I didn’t speak., rode through the Pacific Ocean to a geological wonder, went surfing with Lauren (and turtles, sea lions and eagle rays), swam with sea lions at Lobos Island, and watched little sea lions wander into restaurants, just to name a few things. I went to the only medical facility on the island, rode in the back of a truck at least once or twice a day, went swimming in my clothes (at night and during the day), and made a video about an issue that I’m proud of.
We all worked our butts off, and it shows. Everyone has fantastic videos to show about their subjects, their experiences and the island in general. I think I might be speaking for everyone when I say, all we want to do is go back there one day. All of the individuals I met are sincere, wonderful people and I’m missing them so much. The warm North Carolina weather we’re experiencing now that we’re back is doing a little bit to ease the longing to be back there, but here we can’t just walk outside and see the beautiful ocean and all the people and creatures that characterize that magnificent place.
The stories on that island are amazing, rich and engaging, and they all deserve to be told, including the ones we didn’t get a chance to tell this time around. I’m so excited for (and jealous of!) all the groups that will be able to go there in the future to seek out and document all of the important stories that place and those people hold. They made us all feel like we were locals and we learned about San Cristobal on a level that no average tourist can touch.
I’m so thankful for the experience we all had. I’m also thankful to have shared that experience with all of the wonderful people that make up our team. I wouldn’t change one thing about us. I find myself missing being on an adventure with them just as much as I miss the island itself. The ONLY thing I would have changed would have been our flights so we could have stayed longer. We’ll go back one day! We just have to.