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Megan’s Adventure in Guatemala – New Perspectives

an interview with Megan, by Caroline W

We recently chatted with Megan about her OG trip to Guatemala on Guatemala: Extreme in 2015. It was an action-packed program, and with a little time to process it and reflect, here’s what she had to say!

Caroline: So, tell me a bit about yourself!

Megan: My name is Megan and I work with exotic animals on a daily basis. I went on the Guatemala: Extreme program with Operation Groundswell in the summer of 2015.

Caroline: What drew you to Operation Groundswell and made you want to go on a program?

Megan: I was finishing my degree and wanted to travel but wasn’t sure how to travel on my own. So I started looking for ways I could travel with a group and also make a difference. Operation Groundswell stuck out to me as being unique way to travel and volunteer.

Megan in Guatemala with Operation Groundswell sitting on a rock in Tikal
Hiking in Tikal

Caroline: Amazing. Can you think back to before your trip – what were you most nervous about?

Megan: Meeting new people. I am a very reserved individual and talking to people I do not know has always been hard for me to do.

Caroline: What are three words you would use to describe your program?

Megan: Perspective changing; extremes

Caroline: What surprised you most on your program?

Megan: There were a lot of things that surprised me while on my trip, as the program brought us through various extremes within Guatemala. The experiences of the people we spoke to and the hardships they have gone through in the past and still continue to go through were shocking and heartbreaking.

Caroline: What is your favourite memory from the trip?

Megan: It’s hard to choose only one from the trip, however the time during the homestay left the biggest impact on me. The people we stayed with were incredibly generous with what little they had; they gave up two of their beds for myself and another woman in our group, they made sure we were fed and went to the trouble of giving up one of their ducks so that they could serve us meat during our stay.

Megan in Guatemala with Operation Groundswell dancing with the locals
Sharing a dance and laughs

Caroline: How did your program leave an impact on you?

Megan: The program gave me a new perspective on my own life and an appreciation for everything I have been fortunate enough to have and experience.

Caroline: Ok, last question about the program and OG. What advice would you give to someone about to depart on their first OG program?

Megan: Go into the program with an open mind, and embrace every experience you have. You’ll make great friends with the people you’re with, learn about completely different life experiences and potentially come out of the program with more appreciation for what you have in your own life.

Megan's group hiking in Guatemala with Operation Groundswell
Helping out and learning in Lote Ocho

Caroline: Now for a couple of fun questions! What’s your top must-have in your carry-on?

Megan: Travel pillow – sleep is incredibly important when you’re on long flights!

Caroline: What are the top three places you’ve travelled to?

Megan: Mali Losinj, Croatia, and two from Guatemala: Lago Atitlan, Guatemala and Tikal, Guatemala!

Caroline: What are the top three places you would like to visit?

Megan: The Galapagos Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia and Great Blue Hole, Belize!

Megan in Guatemala with Operation Groundswell surfing
Out to catch some surf!

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