TODAY.com: Cultivating Curiosity in the Galapagos Islands

 

Thank you to TODAY.com and TODAY Parenting Team for sharing my story: “Cultivating Curiosity in the Galapagos Islands.”

How can you increase curiosity in your family? While it is an human innate trait, we can inspire more of it. We wonder, we ask questions and we explore our surroundings. Taking your family to the place which was designated as the first World Heritage Site by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1978 is definitely on the right path.

Galapagos Islands

Nearly 200 years ago, Charles Darwin began his five-year voyage circumnavigating the globe as ship’s naturalist on the H.M.S Beagle. He was only 22 years old when he left in 1831 and he observed and collected in every location from fossils, to birds and especially rocks.

In 1835, he reached the Galapagos Islands and noticed the “differences between the inhabitants of the different islands.” Darwin was very curious and Sir Kenneth Robinson, who speaks often about creativity and the lack of it in schools, says that:  “Curiosity is the engine of achievement.”

Blue Footed Booby on North Seymour Island, Galapagos by Lisa Niver
Blue Footed Booby on North Seymour Island, Galapagos by Lisa Niver

There is great value in exploration and seeing new sights. I have wanted to see the Blue Footed Boobies since I was a twelve year old girl. When I went off to summer camp, my mom packed Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species, in my luggage and ever since then, I have always wanted to go.

Last month, I had the opportunity to sail like Darwin in the Galapagos Islands with Origin & Theory by Ecoventura, on their newest mega-yacht, Theory. With fifteen other passengers who soon became fast friends (the yachts host a maximum of 20 passengers), each day we were delighted to discover new species (well, new to us!). We observed, we took photos, we asked questions and we were immersed in learning. 

Nazca Boobies on Punta Suarez, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver
Nazca Boobies on Punta Suarez, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

We saw not only the blue footed booby I was waiting for, but I learned that there is also a red footed booby and the Nazca booby! I saw sea lions suckling, giant tortoise mating and penguins danced around us when we were snorkeling in the deep waters.

Sea lion and her baby at Gardner bay, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver
Sea lion and her baby at Gardner bay, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

It was truly one of the most magical bucket-list journeys I have been on. The two amazing naturalists answered all of our questions and shared our excitement at seeing marine iguanas swimming, yellow land iguanas eating prickly pear cactus, and red tropic birds flying over the cliff at South Plazas Island. 

Yellow land iguana on South Plaza, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver
Yellow land iguana on South Plaza, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

They also have special itineraries designed for teen guests with longer hikes with a faster pace and even more kayaking and snorkeling opportunities. There are opportunities for cultural exchange with local Galapagueño students through Ecology Project International. I participated in Pack with a Purpose and brought stationary supplies that Captain Jhon brought to a local school.

I was entranced by our seven day South and Central Islands itinerary and would return again to visit the North and West Islands. I loved the kayaking, hiking and snorkeling but I hope to return and go scuba diving at Wolf and Darwin Islands someday.

Want to inspire your family to wonder about our world? Take them somewhere where the memories will last a lifetime.

Sunset at Bartolomé Island in the Galapagos, Photo by Lisa Niver
Sunset at Bartolomé Island in the Galapagos, Photo by Lisa Niver

Want to read more?
Watch all of my Galapagos videos: CLICK HERE

Part One: Traveling to my Dream Destination: The Galapagos Islands

Part Two: Traveling on Ecoventura’s Theory in the Galapagos Islands

Part Three: Sailing the Galapagos Islands on Ecoventura’s Theory

TODAY.com: Cultivating Curiosity in the Galapagos Islands

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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