Livin’ La Vida Selva

It’s been a minute. Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes, which I suppose is better than blogging getting in the way of life. I have had some big adventures. I’ll share them all over time, and today’s the first installment.

Back in August of 2021, I applied for funding for a personal development opportunity through my job at the zoo. Did you know that at accredited zoos, a portion of each ticket price is set aside for staff development? This can be a workshop in Raiser’s Edge for Development and Human Resources, a construction project building schools in developing countries for Maintenance or Exhibit Design teams, or it can send keepers to in-situ conservation projects so they can learn more about the care of animals in their native habitats or help with ongoing research in the wild.

My goal was to go to Peru and assist with a reforestation project in the Peruvian side of the Amazon rain forest. I got approved for the funding, and this past October, my husband, The Padawan, and I made the trek as far off the grid as I have ever been.

I booked the Peruvian side of the arrangements through Maximo Nivel. This organization provides the volunteers for multiple projects across Central and South America. People can do everything from teach English to kids, work in animal care in a zoo or on a farm or dog sanctuary, build schools, etc. They have use for all skill-sets. To be clear, these projects are NOT Maximo projects. They find these projects and provide volunteers, usually long-term. It is possible to book with some projects directly, but I STRONGLY recommend going through Maximo. They are one of the highest-rated volunteer organizations I have found, with the majority of money going to build volunteer teams. The cost is so reasonable, and it covers everything once volunteers are in their destination country – food, lodging (often a home-stay, which is lovely), training, ground transportation (including an airport shuttle), and backup support, which we learned the hard way is INVALUABLE. Unless you’re a seasoned traveler who is familiar with the ins and outs of the chosen country, I recommend booking through Maximo. I am not getting a kickback from Maximo for recommending them so highly. I just DO. For real. Trust Heather. It cost $900 for 2 weeks. The only other thing I had to cover was my flight.

Because the project is open to anyone who is physically able to do the work and can pass a background check, my husband and The Padawan booked their own arrangements and went with me. I gave them one job. One. Job. They were to find me the perfect neck pillow. One job.

The Spousal Unit sent me this:

And the Padawan sent this:

And that was when I was pretty certain this trip was going to kill us all.

Next post, we’re going to Cusco! Not Costco, mind. CUSCO!


4 thoughts on “Livin’ La Vida Selva

  1. Can’t believe a post popped into my mailbox. I visited your site only 30 minutes ago to see if I’d missed something! Great to hear you’ve had a justified absence 😀 Can’t wait to hear more and hope they both survived their first challenge…

  2. It’s so good to see you back, and having a real adventure! I hope you turn this into a book. It’s funny, exciting, perhaps even a cliffhanger? I’m looking forward to the next episode. Keep ’em coming!

A penny for your thoughts! And by penny, I mean a warm-fuzzy in your heart.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s