(Post written on Thursday, July 7th)
Thousands of feet in the air, flying somewhere over Central America, next stop… Peru. Yup, that’s right. Over the next ten days I will tour the Peruvian capital of Lima, the ancient Incan city of Cusco and embark on a FIVE day trek to the the miraculous Machu Picchu ruins. It’ll be my first time in South America, far removed from the bougie first world city lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to. It will be the greatest adventure of my life. And I’ll be doing it all… Alone.
Over the last month as I’ve explained to people my plan to set south for a solo trip to Peru I’ve gotten a wide variety of reactions. I’ve seen it all from the excitement in the eyes of fellow travelers to the horror in the eyes of my mother. My closest friends who have become accustomed to my solo journeys just laughed. My co-workers gawked at me wide-mouthed in disbelief.
I can see all the questions churning in their heads as I tell them. Is he serious? Peru? Isn’t that dangerous? Doesn’t he have anyone to go with? What’s wrong with him? Are we losing him? He used to be so normal. Well everybody, welcome to my new normal.
This is what gets my blood pumping now. It’s not the summer trip to a New Hampshire lake, it’s distant travel for the sense of discovery. I’ve found over the last few years that the further I spread my wings in this world the more I learn about myself, the more perspective I gain, the happier I am.
And doing it all alone allows me to fully immerse myself in unfamiliar cultures and extend beyond my familiar American lifestyle. I’ll be forced to go down new paths and meet new people. I’ll be forced to live outside of my cushy comfort zone. I’ll be forced to try my hand at a language that I’ve long lost.
The way I see it, each day the possibilities are endless. If I want to turn down a street to get lost in a mural of graffiti then I can. If I want to watch the sunset over the South Pacific from the cliffs of Lima then I will. If I want to stay in a hostel with avid world travelers then who’s to stop me. If I want to meditate atop a mountain on my trek to Machu Pichuu then I’ll plug in headphones and drift away.
Maybe I’ll learn a new custom. Maybe I’ll meet a new Peruvian friend. Maybe I’ll eat fried Guinea pig. I have no idea what will happen and that’s the glory of it all. It will be exhilarating. It will be eye-opening. It will be uncomfortable. It will be overwhelming. But most of all, it will be unforgettable. I’m sure of it.
Right now as I look out the window of the plane the sky is turning a deep purply orange as the sun sets over the horizon. I’m about to land in Lima. My adventure is set to begin.
And for the first night of my adventure, I have plans already in the works. A friend of a friend named Diego has promised to take me out for a drink, ceviche and some Peruvian nightlife. What a wonderful world we live in! A world of opportunity lies all around us. We just need to make it happen.
Wish me well on this journey! And of course I’ll be documenting my entire trip for you. Unfortunately I don’t think they have wi-fi atop Machu Picchu but I’ll post when I can. I’ll share all the best moments of my journey, the highs and lows, the funny and the terrifying, the awkward and the exhilarating. Adios amigos!