Global High School Travel Journal
Below are a collection of travel journal entries from the program managers and activity coordinators about the students personal and experiential education and travels.
Departing at 5:30am, some of us began our hike and others walked through the city toward the bus stop. Those of us taking the bus lined up with other adventurous tourists under the dark skies of the early morning. One by one we nestled into our bus seats and drove up to the top of Machu Picchu. We gazed out the windows as the sun rose over the stunning mountains, warming the friendly hikers on the trail, and overpowering the lights from the city below.read more
It was three hours of everything you can imagine: we were loud, we were silent, we were photographers, we were interpreters, we were tranquil, and we were rowdy. We sang, we gazed, we learned, and we breathed a different breath. We played with dogs, we listened to the powerful Urubamba River, and we channeled our inner gymnast while using the railway as a balance beam. We waved to fishermen, we got dirty, and we listened to music. We were tired, we were lively, and we were appreciative. In sum, we were the best versions of ourselves.read more
Arriving at our destination of Abra Malaga Mountain, we got all geared up for a downhill mountain bike trail – starting at more than 14,000 feet! We began our decent through the clouds, rolling down the winding roads, waving to wild animals along the way. It was a rainy day, but we toughed it out for a little while before breaking for a warm rest.read more
The students are currently in class, getting ready to take on the final two weeks of academics. It will be a wonderful last leg of the journey. We are so very lucky to be in the care of Luis and Miguel, of Inkas Destination. They’ve been working with Blyth for many years and are now considered Blyth family. They know all the great spots, the ins and outs of their city, and they love working with our students year after year.read more
Classes are going extremely well as the students and teachers work hard during the final countdown. Here is a little excerpt from Mr. C’s recent update:
“Students were given their final projects for photography which will require them to capture a photo essay on a significant theme or topic (depending on the grade level). Students will be analyzing everything from body image, gender and emotion to power and capitalism in Central and South America. Wild, it’s all just so wild in the best way possible!”read more
A handful of hours later, and a steep drive up into the clouds, we arrived at our new haven: Monteverde.
How do we love Monteverde? Let me count the ways: lush forests, tranquil environment, genuine people, unique wildlife, and the saying of all sayings: Pura Vida! We literally fell in love with Monteverde at first site.
Our week kicked off with a surf lesson at Playa Remanso. We couldn’t have asked for better weather on this day. Clear skies and perfect waves – a surfer’s paradise. Our instructors at Arena Caliente Surf Camp were incredible and got nearly all of our students standing up on the boards. On Wednesday afternoon our whole group went to Bario Planta Project (BPP) for a day of community service. BPP is a non-profit organization that empowers local youth with free supplementary schooling. This organization is absolutely incredible.read more
er our arrival, we wasted no time and woke up on Friday for a morning hike. We prepped our muscles with a tasty breakfast of eggs, gaillo pinto and fruits, and climbed up the STEEP hill that leads to the town’s statue of Jesus – talk about a morning workout! It is quite the difficult climb, but a decently quick one. Each and every one of us challenged our bodies and made it to the top of the hill while cheering one another on.read more
On Monday we climbed 3km up Maderas Volcano to the ‘mirador’, or viewpoint. Moving in and out of shade, the climb was hot, challenging, and beautifully lush every step of the way. Our Nicaraguan guides, Eric and Dimas showed us so many interesting species of plants and insects native to the region. Some of us even milked a cow!read more
Now we settle into Ometepe at our beachfront resort, Villa Paraiso. We are currently enjoying a relaxing day as some of us go for a swim and others do some homework/read in their personal hammocks. We are surrounded by palm trees, Lake Nicaragua, and friendly locals who accept us ever so warmly.read more
There are over 350 small islands sprawled throughout Lake Nicaragua – Central America’s largest lake. We even stopped at Monkey Island, where we fed Doritos to the furry little things who get chubbier each year from all the food they get from tourists like us!
All in all, it was a perfect day. The students have been laughing and smiling the entire time, which is truly such an amazing thing to see. Everyone is happy and healthy as we ensure they stay hydrated in this heat! (Accidental alliteration right there).read more
The journey is not over just yet; we have a second exam to write tomorrow! Today the students wrote their first exam, and they felt good about it. Upon asking them how they felt this morning, everyone seemed cool, calm, and collected. The teachers did a great job of preparing the students for their end-of-term assessments.
Tomorrow evening we have our final banquet dinner as a group. We will ascend the Auckland Sky Tower and dine in the famous Orbit restaurant, which offers stunning views of the city.read more
Greetings from Auckland! We have arrived safely from the South Island and are enjoying the warmer weather here on the North Island.
We have already checked into our centrally located hotel with apartment style suites, which is around the corner from the beautiful Albert Park and the bustling Queen Street.read more
With the hours of work your children are putting into school, the activity was a nice treat to clear their minds so they can have a fresh start at preparing for ISU’s and exams. A big thanks you to The Playground NZ for their amazing organization and laid back nature.
Tomorrow morning we fly to Auckland. Though it hurts a bit to leave our beloved Queenstown, we have checked everything off of our lists, and are ready to explore the next destination!read more
We are more than halfway through our Queenstown stay and we’ve gotten to know this place very well – from all angles and viewpoints, I might add. From lessons in the classroom, to lakefront strolls, to viewing the tops of mountains while skydiving from 15,000 ft in the air, it’s no wonder Queenstown is named ‘Adventure Capital of the World!’read more
The way in from Dunedin was a restful and scenic bus ride with a stop at the famous Mrs. Jones Orchard where we bought some fresh fruit and homemade ice cream.
Now in Queenstown, we are in THE place for adventure sports and I promise that we won’t disappoint. Some of us are bungee jumping and skydiving this weekend!!! Jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet…easy right? Jumping off a bridge at 150 feet…also easy, yes? I hope so, because I know I will need all of the encouragement I can get! 🙂read more
After a few quick flights we have touched down safely in Dunedin, NZ. Our new home has slightly cooler temperatures than Australia, as we nestle into a comfortable 15 degrees this evening. Cue the spring jackets!
We chose the perfect time for a weekend getaway in Dunedin, as there are many opportunities for hiking, working out, watching a national rugby game, or even viewing a show at the annual Fringe Festival!read more
Our last few days in Australia were exciting and memorable for all. Our week kicked off with a visit to Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. You guessed it – we each got to hold and cuddle the beautiful little Koalas! We then moved on to roam with and feed the kangaroos in their natural habitats.
Some were just tiny little Joeys with two legs poking out of their mother’s pouch, while others could pass for professional athletes with biceps as big as your local Toronto Raptor’s Power Forward.read more
Here in Brisbane there is an area called South Bank, which sits along the longest river in South East Queensland. Crossing over the Victoria Bridge this weekend, we made our way into South Bank, past the Wheel of Brisbane (60 meter tall Ferris Wheel), and headed to The Collective Arts Market where we indulged in some stall-to-stall shopping. The sun was shining as we walked amongst locals and tourists who flock to South Bank Beach, or eat at one of the trendy cafés along the river.read more
We woke up this morning for breakfast and later went on a 2-hour walking tour of this beautiful city. We saw the Riverside urban life, the Queen Street Mall, the famous South Bank Park, Historical monuments, the Story Bridge, and more! A few of our students even attempted the Tough Mudder obstacle course we stumbled upon in City Hall Square.read more
As we prepare to leave our new home in Airlie Beach, we will give our thanks to the incredible staff at Colonial Palms Motor Inn. They warmly welcomed us to their beautiful grounds (with two pools and lush gardens!) from the moment we arrived. Owner John and his team of family members were generous and friendly day in and day out. We were spoiled with delicious gourmet dinners, and a safe place to call our home.read more
Here we are in the beautiful Whitsundays; where the people are friendly and the palm trees are plentiful. We have been taken from our bustling cosmopolitan city of Sydney and placed ever so gently into our relaxed, slower-paced, greener environment of Airlie Beach.
Our stay at Colonial Palms has exceeded expectations in many ways. Being a family-run business, you immediately feel like you are one of their cousins.read more
This past week has been filled with the perfect mix of adventure and academics. For starters, our amazing teachers led all of our students on a 45 min hike to Double Bay Beach for afternoon classes on Thursday. We’ve also had classes in the rooftop pool of our hostel, cafes in the neighbourhood, and the private conference room available to us at Sydney Central YHA. Students have been doing a phenomenal job juggling excursions, jet lag, and assignments. They have already become very close with one another in such a short time!read more
Well…we did it! After passing through a few different time zones and spending many hours in the air, we finally touched down in Sydney. The flights couldn’t have been more seamless. We went from plane to plane with ease and everyone got at least a little bit of sleep on the flights (or stayed awake and binge watched movies!)
We were picked up at the Sydney airport by our private coach, which took us directly to Sydney Central Youth Hostel.
Thank you all for being with us on this incredible journey. Having your support – through emails, phone calls, and even some facetime chats – means a lot to the staff and myself. Your kids have now expanded their professional network.read more
This past week in Firenze has been so wonderful. From buying apple cider at the Christmas Market in front of the Basilica di Santa Croce, to visiting THE statue of David himself at Galleria Accademia, we have seen a lot. This city has effortlessly become home, with the ability to walk everywhere, the safe streets, and our new favourite cafes at which the students study. We’ve also taken some pretty incredible (and bucket list location) day trips: we’ve seen the leaning tower in Pisa, walked along the canal in Venice, and sat in Piazza del Campo, where they hold the famous Palio races in Siena!read more
Today after classes we had a wonderful walking tour with our North Carolina-born tour guide, Sally, who has been living in Florence for the past three years. She was wonderful with the students and showed us the Christmas market, the famous Ponte Vecchio, and the gorgeous Duomo in the heart of the city. We visited the best places for leather shopping (moms and dads – send in your requests now!) and finished the tour giving the students some time to explore the markets with their friends.read more
After our quick one-hour train ride to Naples, we met our guide Giuseppe who led us onto the local train to Sorrento. Sorrento is a beautiful, safe, and small city that is currently covered in Christmas decorations and lined with cobble stoned roads – a big difference from bustling Rome.
Next stop was Pompeii on Sunday morning where we visited the famous archaeological site of the once-large city that was completely covered by ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
As finals approach, the students have been working very hard in their classes and during study hall with the teachers. Classes are held at our hotel, in local cafes, and on experiential tours such as the Colosseum! It is now Sunday, and I write to you after having spent the weekend in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast with 11 of our students.read more
In the blink of an eye, we have arrived in Rome! Our hotel is situation on the grounds of a beautiful restored Monastery, just steps from cafes, basilicas, and the metro.
Our two flights to Rome were extremely quick and painless, as was our transfer from Fiumicino Airport to the hotel.
After a quick bite to eat, we are currently settling into our rooms. The students have some time now to nap, shower, unpack, and most importantly, start studying for some upcoming tests in English and Philosophy.