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active 5 hours ago

Collin Stewart

I am originally from Colorado, but after walking across Guatemala and nearly rattling to pieces on a 125 cc Honda in Patagonia, I settled down eight years ago in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I am the point person for Amaru Bolivia’s English-speaking travelers. I see travel as something highly personal, so my goal when I work with travelers is to create a trip that reflects their unique identity, interests, and longings. As a citizen of Bolivia, I also aim to make sure travel benefits the local people, giving foreigners a chance to use their privilege to form a global community characterized by mutual learning and assistance.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I specialize in Bolivia, more specifically in facilitating interactions between travelers and Bolivia's rural and indigenous communities. This activity goes by various names: cultural tourism, community-based tourism or experiential travel. The experiences themselves are as rich and varied as Bolivia's culture: mending reed nets and using them to fish the water of Lake Titicaca, herding llamas under the smoking volcanoes and around the flamingo-filled lakes of southern Potosí, or learning to gather herbal medicine with the Mosetén tribe in the Amazon. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I started out in adventure tourism, as a raft and hiking guide in Colorado, and later as a motorcycle guide in Bolivia. While I still love the rush of plunging off a pour-off on a wild river or scaling an airy crag, I began to realize the reward of the next thrill was not the whole picture. This shift led to my involvement with Amaru Bolivia, where the essence of travel is a shared moment of understanding between two people from distant lands and a celebration of the sublime cultural and natural beauty on this earth."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"My sister and I were walking cross-county through the green turf, snow drifts and stone huts of llama herders in the high Andes. A dog suddenly charged out of a hut at us, fangs bared, barking and growling. Behind it, a Quechua woman appeared, whirling a slingshot and flinging rocks in our direction. She was yelling, and we were afraid. But after a moment we realized that her shouts and wrath were directed at the dog. Once she subdued it, we moved towards her and we began to talk. She showed us her hand-woven slingshot and how to use it. I gave it a try, subjecting us all to the only moment of real danger of the day as the projectiles launched willy-nilly across the landscape and provoking much laughter all around. She showed us how she was jerking lama meat in the intense high-altitude sun and the way they thatched the roof of their stone huts with the coarse grass of the pampas. Before we continued on our way, we practiced a phrase we had learned in her language: "Tinkuna kama"-- Until we meet again."

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