I had the opportunity to travel to the Galapagos. The experience took me out of my comfort zone. It was inspiring to see the natural world and I really really enjoyed my time there.
Between the islands of the archipelago was open ocean - I couldn’t see land in any direction. The waves were so big, the experience redefined my definition of turbulence - my body literally went flying. At the same time It was cool being out in the south pacific.
South American cuisine was interesting - it was a combination of fruits I’ve never had before with fresh sea food and rice. Empanadas were cooked right on the street and were fantastic.
The animals of the Galapagos were rather tame, I literally swam with sea lions, sharks, penguins and sea turtles. Landing on the island was surprising when the flight crews sprayed bug spray in each of the overhead compartments to prevent us from introducing invasive species to the islands - so the entire time one must question and be aware of your impact to the environment. Tourism is limited to a few hundred thousand people each year.
The local population is rather poor. It really made me appreciate things we take for granted. Things such as clean water, modern septic systems, and institutions we have in the United States such as the SPCA.
Leaving this place did leave a mark on me, since it was so beautiful and unspoiled.