As promised, the last part of the story. All stories have high's and low's, dangers, and obstacles to overcome. This story is no different and has many of all of the above.
Take it back to Thanksgiving 2016. My parents and I were in Patagonia! It covers the entire southern tip of South America in both Chile and Argentina. Patagonia is an AMAZING place! It’s like walking around in a postcard it’s so gorgeous. Intimidating mountains, majestic glaciers, and lakes so tranquil they mirror the sky. For all of you outdoorsy-types Patagonia is a prime spot for trekking, camping, and hiking.
We hiked 5 days in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, camping all along the path, kayaked up to glaciers, and cooked under the stars. It was a tough five days! 80 miles in total which went by quickly on some days. Other days we would play games on the trail to forget the pain in our feet and backs. It was absolutely one of the best trips to date!
After that amazing hike we went on the best horse back ride I have ever been on. It was beautiful, natural, and wild. There were cattle and sheep grazing, condors flying overhead, tranquil lakes and towering mountains.
This was no “nose-to-butt” kind of horse ride, we got to run with our horses through the fields and around the lakes. It was fantastic and such a rush!
On the way back, we were passing through another farm and all of our horses were running together. My horse was quite competitive and we were booking it! Wind in my hair, adrenaline pumping, it was awesome! Suddenly the guide’s horse jumped in front of mine and we swerved hard right to avoid him. I felt myself slipping off the right side of the horse. As I slipped more, my horse was pulled further right making it even harder to stay on… I couldn’t hang on and I fell – hit the ground with a crack, and tumbled three or four more times until I stopped and blacked out.
I don’t tell you this as a horror story. I tell you because it’s important in the beginnings of Campo. The kind farmer drove me to a hospital in a tiny town nearby to get X-Rays, where they saw a fracture in my spine. Protocol is then to strap you to a board and not let you move in case there is risk of paralysis. From there it was three hours in an ambulance through winding mountain passes. That ambulance driver did a three hour journey in two hours and I was flying all around the back of the truck as he hit those curves in the mountains like Mario Andretti. Staying still wasn't an option. On the brightside, I had decided that if I was going to shift something and paralyze myself then it probably would have already; so I felt like I was in the clear. Finally, I got to the hospital and got the care I needed. End results: Fractured & dislocated knee cap, hematoma on my right hip, small inconsequential fracture on my L4 vertebrae. All things considered I was INCREDIBLY lucky. I left Chile a bit earlier than expected and in a wheelchair. I was grounded for 6 weeks for physical therapy and minor knee surgery. I was and still am so grateful.
While I was grounded, I decided to read through my old journals. I read a LOT I think it’s interesting to read about where I was, what was happening, ideas, etc. I came to my journal from my very first trip to Peru back in 2014. I wrote about my trek to Machu Picchu, the kind people I met, the markets, and of course, the alpacas, and there it was… the bare bones idea of Campo! Drawings, notes about the makers and the women we could work with. I ran the idea by some friends and mentors and began my research.
After this point came a lot more work, learning things the hard way, and new obstacles, but those are for future posts.
I don’t remember the exact point that an idea turned into a plan and I decided that Campo was happening… but this is where it all began. From a market in Cusco, into a journal, into our social impact company, Campo!