Camie and her son in the Galapagos

By Camie Kirkevold, Administrative Assistant at Natural Habitat Adventures 

I was looking forward to reconnecting with the world—the real world. Not the one I stare into all day, wondering who is doing what and what my next post will be. Or the other worlds that suck my time from the precious days. It was time to feel the sand in between my toes, the sun on my face and the proverbial wind in my hair. That world.

It was time to experience the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands, to give my mind the opportunity to see things others only dream about. Then a grand idea came to me…I should bring my son! He is 16, and I have only a few more years left to torture him with my persistent presence, so what an amazing opportunity it would be to visit the Galapagos together. I was beyond excited to share my experience with him, to walk the land of Darwin, to spend uninterrupted time together, and to see wild animals that can be seen only on these remote Ecuadorian islands. I could not wait to have experiences that would last a lifetime in our memories.

Camie Kirkevold and her son in Ecuador

The time truly goes fast, the days whiz by, and it’s difficult to find out who this person living with me is. When they are young, the excitement of them sharing themselves and their discoveries is amazing. Now there are friends I don’t know, schools I no longer volunteer at, jobs with a whole realm of people and responsibilities that are no longer looked at with amazement but are met with an eye roll when I ask about their day… “It was good.” He is becoming his own person, an adult, and besides the basics, I have no clue who he is anymore.

Ten days with no escape. The Galapagos showed us the most amazing snorkeling, prolific birding and exhilarating hikes. We experienced stingrays that kissed our toes, sleeping sharks in the shallows, dolphin pods playing, marine iguanas swimming, sea lions jostling, frigate birds singing, volcanic rock rainbows and Tortoise Camp dinners.

Camie and her teenage son in the Galapagos

Through it all, we survived with only a brief kayak journey that caused a little argument. I became impressed with this young man, as he helped me on slippery slopes up steep volcanoes, as we talked while hanging out in hammocks while tortoises romped nearby, and when he snuck up on me while snorkeling (because scaring mom is fun). We reveled in the beauty of each day with the magical islands.

I was hoping to travel to the Galapagos to reconnect with nature, take a little break from the hustle, and feel the magic of the earth. I ended up being blessed with the opportunity to reconnect with one of my favorite people on the planet.

All photos © Camie Kirkevold