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Graduation Gift Idea: Travel!

June 16, 2014|Posted in: Responsible Travel


On my first trip to Peru, my dad and I were in the same group as a grandfather-grandson pair, Rick and Peter. Rick had given this adventure to Peter as a high school graduation gift. When I first met Rick and Peter and learned their story, I thought, “What an amazing idea for a graduation gift! No boring class ring for Peter! This is going to be an experience of a lifetime—something they will both cherish forever.” And, by all accounts, it certainly was a memorable trip.

I never laughed so hard as when Peter recounted how bats had swooped into their open-air room in the rainforest eco-lodge where we stayed and pooped all over his grandfather’s things. Apparently, Rick had neatly laid out his clothing, shaving kit, and toothbrush on the bare wooden shelves provided. On the other hand, Peter had left his things largely unpacked. So, Peter still had a useable toothbrush while Rick sipped his morning coffee chagrined.

In addition to the bat mishap, the two fished for piranhas, sampled alpaca meat, hiked through Machu Picchu, explored the cobbled streets of Cusco, and even discovered the only edible pizza in town, which we enjoyed with them.

I can’t imagine a more memorable graduation gift, or in this case, a more life-changing one. When Peter returned to New York, he promptly embarked on a six-month adventure to South America, perfecting his classroom Spanish to fluency in the process. I just e-mailed him this week and learned he had completed a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Wow! This trip may have set him on a direction for a career. Can you imagine having that kind of impact on the lives of your grandchildren?

And, while I don’t know this for sure, I suspect that going on such an adventure deepened Rick and Peter’s relationship. I know my Dad and I certainly strengthened ours. No matter what the future holds, we’ll always have Peru, and so will Rick and Peter.


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