“I walk to look for the an excellent Perhaps” space the reputed last native of French writer Francois Rabelais who died in 1553. The expression was later co-opted in man Green’s compensation winning novel, searching for Alaska. In it, the protagonist, Miles, memorizes well known last words. Once his mom asks why he wants to leave home for boarding school, he responds:

“Francois Rabelais. He was this poet. And his last words were ‘I walk to seek a good Perhaps.’ That’s why I’m going. So i don’t need to wait until I die to start seeking a an excellent Perhaps.”

Miles finds his good Perhaps once he meets Alaska, a wry, wayward girl the “smokes to die.” v Alaska the coming-of-age publication explores themes of suffering, death, and redemption. 

I nothing think I can say definitively what the an excellent Perhaps means, or what either Francois Rabelais or John eco-friendly meant by it, yet I think I found my own good Perhaps ~ above a hill in Ecuador. 


I sought an undergraduate degree studying zoology in ~ the university of brothers Columbia v the really hopes of becoming a conservation biologist. Together my degree drew to a close ns was confronted with a stark reality: saving pets isn’t tied to a financially rewarding industry that can offer many viable careers, and I felt no doors open for me.

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Feelings that futility to be exacerbated by the reality that ns spent four years inhaling totality textbooks of details — discovering every muscle the a cat, how to determine insect taxa based upon mouthparts —only come be faced with never applying this knowledge, and also the reality that once it came to practical research skills, mine resume price to beside nothing.

Relief concerned me when a privately own organic farm and also nature reserve called La Hesperia was in search of a volunteer coordinator. I had visited La Hesperia on one educational expedition in high school, and also now ns told myself to take deep breaths together I packed my bags for eight month in the jungle. I stuffed my backpack with brand-new hiking boots, lot of of rain gear, and also a mosquito repelling lotion v an lot of deet that the merchant told me to be illegal in the united States. 

La Hesperia boasts virtually 2000 acres (800 hectares) the cloud forest sprawling across a mountain, ranging from 3600 to 7875 feet (1100 to 2400 meters) over sea level. Gift an extension of the Andes mountain range method that moisture transpiring indigenous lowland vegetation condenses along the mountainside, shrouding the tropical in an eerie mist. Cloud forest. 

It’s so wet that plants grow on top of other plants, drawing their moisture from the air instead of the soil. An approximated 320 different bird species call La Hesperia home and 63 genera the butterflies. The entirety of the united Kingdom includes little an ext than 63 species. 


On distinct evenings thundershowers mercilessly spend the mountainside if blinding lightning and the shower of water prevented me native falling asleep. I believed it unfathomable how any type of bird, squirrel, or bat would certainly escape that is relentlessness. Yet in the morning, the birds proved that they not just survived yet were thriving as their cacophony arrived with the morning’s light. 

Days were invested tending come the vegetable garden, planting coffee saplings, or clearing the overgrowth encroaching on our farmland. In the evenings the volunteers and I gathered roughly a map table, and weekends to be left open up for hiking. Mine co-worker, David, tricked brand-new volunteers right into eating lemons the looked like oranges. On happy days, rufous-tailed hummingbirds went to the heleconia flowers neighboring the volunteer house and iridescent morphos butterflies feasted on collapse oranges (or were they lemons?)

In the at an early stage months that my continue to be I co-led the volunteers on a camping expedition to the optimal of the to make reservation — a 3 hour uphill climb. Pots and pans to be saddled onto a donkey, and we ascended a tawny dust path. 

As we climbed greater I feel the air moisten and also skies darken v cloud cover. The trees themselves showed up darker because that the heavy woolen coat of mosses slouching from their branches. You recognize you’re close come the top as soon as the misty woodland gives method to a irpari pasture in ~ the mountain peak. 

Decades back property owners wanted to change La Hesperia right into a ranch. Subsequently, job of the forest were leveled, consisting of the height of the mountain. Without dairy cows consistently traversing its slopes, the grass prospered taller 보다 me. 

Finally getting to the top, i dropped mine bags in exhaustion and peered end the valley. Looking the end over the huge mountainside ns felt a sense of humility as clouds drifted on below and also became entangled in the hefty vines the the jungle. The tallest of trees peaked out of the mist choose ghostly soul haunting the forest. It was as if the condensation had attracted out my very own breath. This was my good Perhaps. The factor I traded in high heels for hiking boots, why i left a life that shallow preoccupations to it is in sweaty and dirty in the jungle. To feeling a feeling of awe the finally trained a restless soul. 

The function of travel is come discover. Come live everyday wondering what views the mountain top will organize or what tropical bird might perch overhead. The gift of detect the good Perhaps is a forever galvanized spirit. It’s mine reprieve indigenous the burden of societal expectations, and also it let me burned the complacency molded native routine. Living a various life offered me an appreciation because that the basic necessities and also a brand-new perspective on society’s material excesses. Yet living in the an excellent Perhaps doesn’t warrant heedless romanticization. As there’s crests, over there are also troughs.

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Times have actually been inspiring, exhilarating, and also breathtaking, but likewise lonely, sick, and heartbreaking. But that’s also why I seek a an excellent Perhaps—to feeling the disturbance of living.

Have you ever come face-to-face through your “great perhaps?” permit us understand in the comment or ~ above Twitter!