Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit Peru including hiking the Inca trail and visiting the basin of the Amazon jungle. It was an extraordinary experience and a trip I will never forget. The most memorable part of the trip was hiking the Inca trail. I learned three key things on this trek that I wanted to share with you:
- Don’t look back. And no matter what, keep going. Three out of the four days we hiked approximately 7 hours a day. Some sections of the trail were steep others slippery. We also encountered some dramatic climate changes from a hot subtropical jungle to the cool mountains ranges. One of the days was especially challenging for me- I was running a high fever and numbingly cold. There was no way of stopping or turning back. I had to make a decision. I was either going to finish this climb to the best of my ability with a smile on my face or complain the whole way to Machu Picchu. At that point, I remembered the goal I had set out for this trip- challenge yourself, enjoy the experience no matter what and always try to be first. So I dug deep and continued on the trek at the front of the pack with a big grin.
- You’re stronger than you think. I embarked on this trip to prove to myself that I CAN DO IT. For those who know me, this wasn’t going to be your average vacation. I ended up booking a 12-day trip through the Peruvian Andes and Amazon. This was my first solo trip for this duration outside of North America. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. When I told others about my plans some expressed concern which gave me more reason to go. It was an exhilarating experience to know that not only did I accomplish my goal but I thrived.
- Laugh it off and enjoy the experience. After three full days of hiking our group woke up at 3 am to prepare for our last day of the trail to finally arrive at our final destination- Machu Picchu. We were instructed by the Sherpa’s to pack and eat our breakfast within an hour in complete darkness to ensure we reached the Sun Gate before sunrise. We busily prepared in anticipation. Finally, all of our hard work would soon pay off. When we arrived, sure enough it was cloudy and foggy. The Lost City of the Incas was actually lost. Just our luck! I began to laugh hysterically. I soon calmed down after I noticed a few glares from my group members. It dawned on me (no pun intended) that it didn’t really matter if I saw the city because the true prize was the experience of the climb and the people I met.
If you’re wondering, we stuck around and the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds and we saw the beautiful ancient city.
Having the opportunity to travel to a different country is truly a privilege and something I would highly recommend. I learned a lot about the Peruvian culture but also learned a lot about myself.