I threw it all away: I finally write about my trip

October 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

It´s already Dia 63 and the new experiences of travel are piling on so thick that it´s hard to find the time to stop and reflect. In particular, the past two weeks have been full to bursting with amazing sights. Machu Picchu is a place that I have dreamed of traveling since I was in my early teens and it still seems surreal that I have been there now. My adventurous parents joined me for that part of the trip, and we also did a thorough job touring Cusco and Ollantaytambo as well. Afterwards, Dad and I went on a four day trip to Parque Nacional del Manu, biking, hiking and rafting through highlands, cloud forest and rainforest. Our senses were bombarded by stunning landscapes, exotic wildlife and other worldly insects and plants. Incredible, all of it.

When I reflect on my experience as a traveler, one thing I´m constantly feeling is a small friction between my expectations for my trip and the reality of my trip. I think one of the major challenges of traveling is to anticipate something enough to really want it, but to still leave space in your imagination to accept it´s reality and appreciate it as it is. Even though I´ve probably seen hundreds of pictures of Machu Picchu, I still wasn´t prepared for how impressive it truly is in person. It´s kind of mind-blowing and really nice to be able to be surprised by something that I´ve spent years daydreaming about.

Planning is another area where I´ve learned to manage my expectations and leave some room for imagination. A few weeks ago, I was all set to go to Huaraz for trekking in the Cordillera Blanca when the miners in that area went on strike and blocked the highways for several days. I was super frustrated and just kind of feeling a low point in my travels. It was messing with my plan, my plan that I laid out months ago and I was clinging to my schedule a little too tightly.  Anyway, this small hitch in my plan did a lot to change my thinking.  I decided that instead of stressing out about getting all the way to Buenos Aires, and all the way down to the Lakes District of Chile and Argentina like my original plan, I decided to change my plane ticket and return home from Lima, a few days later than planned. I was feeling the stress of having to budget my time and money a little too tightly, having to skip important stuff along the way. Now I´m planning on spending more time in Bolivia, as well as the north of Argentina (which I was going to skip outright) and Chile before going back to Peru to try for Huaraz one more time, and spend my last few days relaxing on a warm and sunny beach. It´s hard to let go of plans that I invested time and excitement in – especially the Lakes District. It is, however, really liberating to throw all my plans away and let something totally new be born. I don´t think there´s many times in life when you get to do something like that. For me, the freedom to change direction is one of the true values of traveling.

 

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