By Lauren Deeley, Adventure Specialist at Natural Habitat Adventures

Have you ever had a moment where you have to pinch yourself because you don’t quite believe that this experience is really happening to you? If not, I’d highly recommend you pop on over to the Galapagos Islands the next chance you get!

I think it’s fair to say I’m a pretty excited person. I mean, my baseline “stoke level” is about an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. So when there was a last-minute cancellation on one of our Galapagos adventures and I was presented with an opportunity to go, I played it totally cool at work, and then went home and just about lost my mind! “WHAT?! I’m going WHERE?!”

Sea Lion on a Galapagos Beach

© Expedition Leader Colby Brokvist

From the first days in Otavalo, Ecuador (which I absolutely loved: beautiful farms blanketing the slopes of 12,000-foot snowcapped volcanoes), I was awed by the experience I was having. Seeing island creatures I’d only ever read about, setting foot on beaches populated only by sea lions, snorkeling and spotting a “funky shrimp” that even our guides had never seen, and countless other amazing travel moments left me speechless.

It was the kind of experience you wish you could have with everyone you love in your life. On a trip with a thousand “shareworthy” moments, there was one that stole the show. The dragonfly has become an important symbol in the lives of several people I love most in the world. It has come to symbolize the presence and memory of loved ones who have passed away.


© Expedition Leader Court Whelan

One morning, as we were hiking with our guide, Roberto Plaza, he stopped the group and said, “I’d like you to try something. This place is so special, so beautiful, I’d like you to spend the rest of this hike being as quiet as possible. We won’t talk. I’ll answer any questions you may have later, but let’s take a few moments to be fully present in this experience.”

We hiked around a bend, and the arid island suddenly became a stunning oasis. In a sheltered lagoon, a baby sea lion was playing, a small tide pool held brilliantly colored algae, and an incense tree softly swayed, its leaves rustling in the breeze. The air smelled like sunshine and salt.

And there were dragonflies everywhere. Hundreds of them!

It was as if the magic of the Galapagos had turned every thought I’d had about a friend or relative into one of those delightful little dragonflies and gave me an opportunity to share this unbelievable moment with everyone I care for.

There’s magic in these “Enchanted Isles,” and if you’re quiet and still and willing to take it all in, I’m sure you’ll experience the magic of the Galapagos, too!