Hey! My name is Philip Psaledakis, I am 16 years old, and am going to be a Junior in high school. For the most part, I was raised in Aspen, Colorado. Aspen is 8,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by some of the tallest peaks and largest wildernesses in the country. I’ve spent my life exploring (i.e. hiking, biking, horse-back riding, rafting, etc.) in the outdoors across the state. I also have explored the outside world, both in the U.S. and abroad. I have spent a lot of time travelling through the “American West” (primarily Utah, New Mexico, and Montana) and jump on any opportunity to travel the world. In my free time, I primarily try to get outside, but I also spend a lot of time reading, writing, listening to music and looking for things I haven’t done before to go and try. You can also find me at the rodeo or just driving down a backroad with friends. I’m excited to go on this trip because, from what I can tell, it will blend all the aspects of nature, cultural immersion, and travel that I love most into a few adventure-packed weeks.
There are a couple connections I have to Peru, but they are pretty loose. As I said earlier, I do a lot of horse-back riding. On one of my favorite pack trips to go on, we have to ride past a llama ranch and llamas are one of my favorite animals. I am told there are llamas in Peru so I’m very excited. On a more serious note, the Roaring Fork Valley (where my home is) has a good number of ranches in it too. The rural community-based culture that I find here is what I am told many of the places we are going to are like. Finally, the history surrounding my local community is similar to Peru’s history regarding indigenous peoples. The Ute Tribe of Native Americans were forced out of Colorado, and my valley, and onto reservations which is similar to how the Spaniards came and decimated the indigenous populations of Peru.