Kent and I love welcoming back staff after they have taken time away to explore the world. So many of us dream of doing something like taking several months to travel throughout South America during their winter to snowboard and study Spanish, but we don’t manage to make it happen. We knew pretty early on in Ellen’s career at thump, that she intended to go do just that. With great determination to save money by working ridiculous numbers of hours at thump and Pizza Mondo, and experiencing several set backs including undergoing shoulder surgery, Ellen fulfilled her dream!
This summer Ellen started her adventure in Santiago, Chile, the home base for her entire trip. She spent a month-and-a-half living with friends, studying Spanish and snowboarding. Onward she traveled to Peru, where she camped for several days at Machu Picchu. She also visited Canyon Colca, an area whose temperatures ranged from daytime temps of 80 degrees to below 0 degrees at night! She also attended several winter solstice festivals in Cuzco. Ellen then returned to Chile’s San Pedro de Atacama desert, one of the driest deserts in the world. She mountain biked in Valla de la Luna and traveled to several high altitude lakes that were inhabited by flamingos! Ellen moved on to Bariloche, Argentina, where she filled a month-and-a-half with the continuation of studying Spanish and snowboarding. Her last week was spent in a cabin in the mountains in Chile with friends from Oregon with more snowboarding on the agenda.
On this trip, Ellen met up with friends from the States and befriended fellow travelers from around the world, who she traveled with for short periods. For the most part though, she carried out this adventure on her own. Traveling solo was not the original plan and this was the first time she’d traveled alone internationally, but Ellen LOVED it! She reflected that this experience has made her more outgoing and much more intentional about seeking out the things she enjoys doing, and doing them; not waiting around to coordinate schedules with a group to make things happen. Since her return, her days have been “ . . . filled to the brim, I haven’t wasted a minute!” She’s so happy to move back to Bend (as are we!) and to enjoy winter in town and up at The Mountain. Ellen’s also excited to take on the new role of auntie for the first time toward the end of December! We welcome Ellen back and hope that we can help make it possible for her to pursue her next great adventure!