I loved Carpe's Borderlands trip! I was with an amazing group of students who truly cared for on another and were passionate about learning from the place and people we were with.
The program components were spectacular and we had the opportunity to work with contacts that are such incredibly hardworking, knowledgeable, living-out-their-passions type of people who truly brought the topics we were learning about to life. Whether it was Francesca and her vast knowledge of native plant species and the pollinators they attract or Jonathan and Shelly with their visible excitement and dedication to all things social justice, I was so, so inspired by everyone that we worked with and learned from. It was so apparent that Carpe Diem has worked hard to establish a deservedly top-notch reputation and foster deep, valued connections with local scholars/activists/educators/change-makers in the communities where they are sending groups. Carpe's genuine focus on making the most ethical decision at all times is truly remarkable and honorable.
As for the actual itinerary of the trip, it was awesome. Having never been on a backpacking expedition, I was appropriately apprehensive but it turned out to be hands down one of my favorite parts of the trip. We were supported, engaged, and inspired by our amazing guide Treven and although there were certainly challenging parts (who knew how cold it could be in the desert!) we were given all the tools we needed to survive and thrive and I couldn't be happier with the sheer beauty of the Rincón Mountains and the sense of accomplishment I felt at the end. Another part of the trip that I loved was the social justice segment. We learned from authors, residents, and scholars about the border wall and immigration injustice - things I had very little knowledge of beforehand - and then had the incredible opportunity to speak with asylum seekers and newly transitioning migrants firsthand about their experiences. It was riveting, heart-breaking, and truly moving and I think extremely necessary in understanding the full story.
I couldn't recommend this trip more! I was so grateful for the opportunity COVID-19 presented in allowing me to travel within my own country and learn more about problems and solutions right here within our borders.