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Travel

Peru: I Think I Love You

By
Lindsey Dukes
on
June 1, 2017

A love story with Peru & the Inca Trail + tips on how to enjoy this beautiful country.

Let me start by saying that to keep this article somewhat brief-ish. I’ve left out SO MUCH detail. 

I’d say I’m sorry, but you’re probably welcome. If you have any questions about the trip that aren’t addressed here, I’d be more than happy to chat!

Ok, without further ado - I present to you, “Peru - I Think I Love You”.

Cusco

Lima was cool…but, you guys. Cusco!

This place is SO rich in traditional culture and architecture, and is an all-around vibey place. In the evenings, there were dancers rehearsing for the Qoyllur Rit’i festival in the square, which provided for some awesome unexpected entertainment.

Food – delish. People – delightful. 

Add in the mountains as a backdrop, and the most precious pup you’ve ever seen every ten steps, and you’ve got Cusco. Our last morning in Cusco, we were lucky enough to have a parade start right outside of our hotel! I have a serious affinity for live music (especially horns) and parades, so I HAD to make my way to the front of the square to experience the entire thing. 

Within minutes I found myself IN the parade, and for the millionth time while in Peru, I could not wipe the smile off my face. Well done, Cusco.

Lessons Learned:

-This city is magic.

-Dogs. Everywhere. Even printed on the scented toilet paper (check it for yourself).

-Don’t flush said toilet paper. (However, remember TO flush it when you get back to the states.)

Ocutuan, Chinchero

The moment we got off the bus in the community of Ocutuan we were greeted with flower necklaces, taken by the hands, and immediately whisked into another world. A world filled with flutes, drums, dancing, and overwhelming bliss. Immediately I knew, these were my kind of people.

Few of us spoke the same language, but the smiles between us communicated everything that needed to be said. Throughout the day we learned about everything from traditional tools used for harvesting, to how alpaca thread is created and dyed. Before leaving to harvest potatoes together, they handed out tools to everyone. I was handed a radio. 

I’m all about manual labor, but music is kind of my thing. 

Perhaps it was sheer coincidence, but as far as I’m concerned – these people get me.

Never did I think I would find myself holding hands with a total stranger while walking down a dirt road to harvest potatoes, less be SO DAMN HAPPY while doing it. (Side note: I did actually help harvest.)

Lessons Learned:

-Pure joy is contagious. I dare you to spend an hour in this community and not be happy.

-You don’t have to speak the same language to connect with someone.

-If dancing to a flute/drum duo is a thing, I am SO into it.

Inca Trail

First and foremost, being unplugged for four days was the BEST. There were no emergencies, and the world didn’t skip a single turn in my absence. Who would have thought? Being 100% plugged into nature, the mountains, Pachamama, and the amazing humans around me was exactly what I needed.

Alright, I’m going to be super real with you guys for a minute. This hike was the most physically and mentally challenging task I’ve ever undertaken. I think more expletives ran through my mind over those four days than the past four years of my life combined. 

Although at moments I was positive that death was just around the corner, I have never felt such an immense sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. 

Being able to look back and not only see how far we’d come, but see how INSANELY BEAUTIFUL it was evoked emotions unlike anything I’ve ever felt. This is one of those things where language completely fails, and there are literally no words to adequately describe the experience.

I was reminded of how important it is to slow down, take life one day at a time, savor each breath, and enjoy each step. 

Life is SO damn beautiful, y’all.

In effort to keep this short (and keep your attention), the last thing I’ll touch on is how easy it can be to get frustrated with people when you’re in challenging conditions. If there’s any wisdom I can impart, it’d be to take the time to get to know each person you’re on this (or any) journey with. Chances are once you know their story, you’ll better understand them and it will completely change your perspective. To the people I was on this journey with: I sincerely love each one of you SO much – thank you all for sharing your stories with me.

Lessons Learned:

-Do a few long hikes in the boots you’ll be hiking the trail in BEFORE hiking the trail. Trust me on this one.

-When preparing for the hike, do lots of squat holds. Not so much for the actual hike, as for having to hover over a hole to go to the bathroom.

-Roland is a freaking beast of a human, and I’m fairly certain he eats mountains for breakfast.

-Acroyoga is NOT allowed at Machu Picchu.

Peru - Acro.JPG

PS: Here is the Inca Trail Trip I went on - you must experience it!

Lindsey Dukes
Lindsey is a U30X Alumni with a passion for adventure, music, people, and all things fitness and nutrition.

Edited by:  Miles Demars-Rote

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