Next Big Adventure: Into the Jungle

I can’t even begin to describe the terror and excitement going on in my head right now, because I am about to experience probably one of the most difficult and enlightening/exciting things in my life this summer…

I’m going to PERU to work on Hummingbirds!!!  People, I’m going accomplish one of my lifelong dreams!!!  Ever since I really figured out what I wanted to do in life, especially when it came to nature, I have wanted to go to The Amazon.  I am going to be so close, and will have the opportunity to this summer!!!  My mind is racing with all the great birds and wildlife I’m going to see, including just a few of the following:




The energy coming out of accepting the position I’ve taken helping a PhD student was so fulfilling last week that I could no longer keep this from all of you (unless you know me on Facebook, then you saw it on there too).  I’ve made a map to show you where the field stations are, or my guess at where they are.

 How awesome does that look!  So, for a few more details, I’ll be camping out for two months, divided between these two sites starting at the beginning of July.  I’ll be there until the end of September when I’m hoping Whit will be able to get some time off and come visit me so we can travel all over, especially to Machu Picchu!  I’m so excited to go there!  I’ve also started to stock pile all my stuff to take with me and simply can’t wait!!!

I’m going to have internet while I’m out there, but I’m not sure how often but I’ll make sure to try and keep you all updated with where I am, what I’m doing and well, how I’m doing having to live in the rainforest!  It’s going to be tough, probably test my patience and cleanliness, but I’m ready for it.

Anyone been to Peru?  South America?  I’d love to hear your travel experiences with the country!!!



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19 Responses to Next Big Adventure: Into the Jungle

  1. Maggie says:

    YAYAYYAYAYAY!!!! SO exciting!! You’re going to see and experience so many new things down there…I’m envious. You also realize that your being hired speaks to more than just your work/education experience right? It speaks to you as a whole person: your personality, work ethic, organization, etc…and what I hear is someone saying you are awesome. :)

  2. OMMMMGGGG to say I am excited for you is like the understatement of the year!!!

  3. HOW AWESOME! I’m so happy for you girl – such a huge experience and opportunity!

  4. Kim says:

    That’s AMAZING! That’s something most people could only dream about! Congratulations!!!!!

  5. Amy Lauren says:

    I’ve never been there, but I’m super excited for you ever since I read the news on twitter! This new job sounds right up your ally and I know you will love it- what an amazing experience :)

  6. You rock my socks, lady! I am so impressed by you and know that this experience is going to be life changing. Can’t wait to hear all about it and live vicariously as you explore the Amazon and Machu Picchu!! Congrats again! :)

  7. ali says:

    WOW! what an exciting adventure you are on….. can’t wait to read about it.. you go girl!

  8. Kristine says:

    That is so exciting! Congratulations!!!

  9. Alex says:

    Been following a long time, can’t get enough of your charm!
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  10. Sarah says:

    How amazing! Congratulations! I have been to S. America, but only to Brasil and Argentina. I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

  11. omg. you are going to have an amazing time and it will def “change” you. My friend went last year and it is BEAUTIFUL and full of history and so many varied hikes!

  12. South America is amazing! I spent 5 months travelling around the continent in 2010, best time of my life! Bolivia and Peru were my favourite countries, and although I spoke absolutely none of the language when I got there, I picked a lot up, and was able to get by pretty well! Macchu Picchu is awesome, and I would totally recommend doing the Inca Trail if you can get passes to do it, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done! I didn’t visit the rainforest in Peru, but I did in Bolivia, and it was spectacular! You are going to have such an amazing time out there!

    • Melissa says:

      I’m so happy to hear you had a great time in Peru Lauren!! And that you got along well with the language, that has been a big concern of mine since I signed up for the job. I would love to hear more about what you did in Peru and the countries close by as I’ve got some time to travel after I’m done with work, and am definitely planning a trip to Macchu Picchu!!

      • I would definitely recommend Macchu Picchu. I wasn’t a big fan of Lima. If you can get to Ica I would totally recommend doing Paracas and the National Reserve Ballestas Islands, the penguins are amazingly cute! Also Ica is really beautiful, and you can go sandboarding etc which is so mucu fun! There is not much in Nazca but the Nazca lines are amazing, and the best way to see them is from the air. I liked Cuzco, apart from the tourist trap areas! I spent a few days there before and after doing the Inca Trail. Arequipa is really beautiful and theres lots of history and culture. It’s also a great base from which to explore colca canyon, which is twice the size of the grand canyon! and is awesome for andean condor watching! Theres also loads of great hikes and adventure activities in the area.

        If you do get the chance to go to Bolivia you have to do it! Lago Titicaca which is half in Peru/half in Bolivia is stunningly beautiful and worth exploring. In terms of Bolivia, Sucre is a really beautiful city. La Paz you just have to experience, it’s insane! I cycled the worlds most dangerous road, which starts from La Paz with tour groups, which was amazing! Also in La Paz we managed to get into San Pedro prison, which is so insane I can’t even put it into words, you have to look it up! The salt flats of the salar de uyuni are also worth exploring, you can do a 3-4 day crossing, which is totally worth it, it’s stunning. The Che Guevara Trail which starts near Santa Cruz is brilliant. The only thing I would say is be prepared to be flexible, most of the time things don’t run on time, and ridiculously unexpected things happen and you have to just go with the flow. If you want to know anything else or have any questions about anywhere then drop me an email. I’m super jealous that you are heading out there, I’d love to go back some day!

  13. Mandy says:

    You are going to love Peru. I went there 2 summers ago and fell in love. We spent most of our time in Lima with my fiance’s family, but we were able to go to Paracas which I definitely recommend. We stayed in a hostel and took a boat tour out to some islands where there were hundreds of penguins. We also were able to tour the area and see what used to to be the ocean floor which was full of fossilized shells. It was really neat. Our cab driver also took us so we could swim in the ocean and then he took us dune buggying in his Toyota! If you have any questions please let me know as my fiance grew up in Peru.

    • Melissa says:

      That is so awesome Mandy!! I heard about Paracas from a birder friend who highly recommended it too! I am definitely going to be spending some time in Lima so I’ve got time to check it all out! I would love to hear more about what you did in Lima if you’ve got time to shoot me an email!! ( [at]

  14. Katie says:

    AHHHHHHHH I’m squealing inside for you right now! This is going to be so, so awesome. Can’t wait to read about your journey! Good for you for making your dreams come true.

    I’ve never been to Peru, but my boyfriend got terrible food poisoning there once. Be careful with the water!

  15. Tavolini says:

    Congratulations Melissa!!! How very cool :D

    We actually did just go to Peru in December–here are a couple of tips for when you arrive in Lima.

    1. Take the taxis outside the airport. The ones inside overcharge you a TON
    2. Watch traffic–people go super duper fast and its terrifying
    3. Stay at a hostel at least on your first night and ask the desk staff & other travelers for recommendations on how to get from point a to point b and places to visit. We had some great suggestions from people!
    4. I got by on basic greetings, knowing how to ask cost & directions, and always using a big smile.

    You’re going to have a blast–I’m so excited for you!

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