Teachers on the Trail

Lauren Huddleston Start Date: Aug 10, 2016 - End Date: May 9, 2017
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Professional Development

My Travel Story

by: Lauren Huddleston Start Date: Aug 10, 2016 - End Date: May 9, 2017
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Professional Development
Hi my name is Lauren. My traveling buddy, Stephanie, and I are raising money to travel to Peru in 2017. We hope to experience Peruvian culture and learn more about education and community schools in Peru.

As teachers, our goal is constantly working towards providing the most authentic and engaging learning environment for our students. We don’t teach the same grade, or even the same subject, and we don’t teach in the same school. In fact we teach in cities 1,500 miles apart. Despite these differences, our aim remains the same. Our focus is on improving as teachers and providing for our students.

In 2016, Stephanie and I met, by chance, while studying abroad in the United Kingdom. We had signed up to travel with a small cohort of masters and doctoral students. This group was in the UK to learn more about the education system, while becoming stronger classroom teachers through discussion, lecture, and travel. The experience truly broadened our minds and replaced stagnancy with imagination. We each grew as teachers and arrived back in the states understanding our potential at a higher level. Returning to our respective cities, we have embraced all that we learned in the UK and are poised to allow this knowledge to direct and inspire our instruction. Traveling opens your mind to so many new possibilities, and traveling with like-minded educators was truly a blessing. Sharing our experiences, excitement, and knowledge with our kids will not only be rewarding for us, but our kids will benefit in the long run. As school begins this week, our time in the UK has allowed us to bring some courageous conversations about educational ideas in our buildings to administrators. We have been inspired to make some changes and implement directives learned from our visits to English schools in order to better support our students and staff.

As fate would have it, Stephanie and I not only met in the UK, but we developed a lovely friendship rooted in our shared love for learning, our desire to become better teachers for our students, and our excitement for traveling. Our shared common experience in the UK has led to some incredible discussion about education and student learning. Despite the differences in our students and schools, the common thread has been truly bringing the UK experience back in hopes of initiating some change. Our desire to learn more and continue this journey has only just begun. We have decided to experience another side of the globe. In 2017, we will be traveling to Peru to learn more about education, culture, and community. We will be lucky enough to visit the Ballestas Islands and other biodiverse National Parks. As a science teacher, this hands-on experience will be exciting to bring back to my students and incorporate into our ecology unit. Stephanie is excited to bring a better cultural understanding back to her students. She is looking forward to integrating what she will learn about Peruvian culture into her focus on literacy in the classroom. Stephanie and I will get to experience Lima and Cusco, the cultural meccas of this beautiful country, as well as many Inca ruins and cultural centers. Our hope is to see some primary and secondary schools in the city as well as the more rural areas. We will even be participating in a homestay to learn more about the community, language, and culture.

Although our main goal is to seek the same kind of professional growth and development we experienced while in the UK, this summer will also be about personal growth. We have decided to tackle the Inca Trail. Although many people complete this journey every day, for Stephanie and I the hike will be a testament of inner strength and determination. Perhaps the introspective opportunities and the spiritual, emotional, and physical growth will be just as transformative as the intellectual.

We are excited for another opportunity to experience a different culture, learn about ourselves as educators, and ultimately improve the learning environment for many future generations of students to sit in our classrooms.

THank you for donating and sharing with others!

Lauren and Steph

*Any donations will be utilized for flights and trail permits. 

$1170 – Kitty for Inca Trail (money for permits, entrance, food, camping, gear, porters, etc.)

$1000 – Flights (approximate): arrive Lima from the states, depart La Paz to return

Total = $2170 (per person)


  • Time Flies

    Greetings! We are ALMOST THERE!!!! Time certainly flies when you're fundraising! Thank you to EVERYONE who has donated to our cause. We are gearing up (literately and metaphorically) to take Peru by storm. We have our trip coast paid, our vacinations and insurance taken care of, and we even have insurance together. Our last and final fundraising push is to pay for the on the ground cost. We need a tipping kitty and money to get around from place to place. We are hard at work Lyfting and keeping score at HS sporting events to save every penny possible, but we still need your help. We encourage you to share our story and donate if at all possible!

    Thank you for all of the love and encouragement!
  • 189 Days Left?

    189 Days Left?
    Greetings from rather sunny Colorado! Thank you to everyone who has donated to our cause and to everyone who has shared our story, We have 189 days left in our efforts. That means 2 things: we have to really start training to hike this trail, and we want to really push our fundraising efforts to the next level. The good news is, we were able to fund a large portion of our expenses through the selfless and charitable heart of another. Our excursions, transportation, and "on the ground" stuff is paid! We are just looking to cover our Inca Trail expenses and our international flights. (See the updated totals above)

    Even if you can't donate, please consider sharing our story on social media. Stephanie and I will be starting a blog for anyone interested in following our journey: from fundraising, to travel, to debrief.

    Happy November everyone!
    Lauren & Steph