Thursday, September 18th
|Part of the Gang, of course enjoying our Pisco Sour’s|
As you know by now, we are here in Lima primarily for some R&R after our trek to Machu Picchu. The majority of our remaining days are made up of eating, drinking, walking and shopping. We like to bring home things from our travels to add to our eclectic mix of art. So I am not going to bore you much with a couple days of laziness. I will take this time to begin wrapping up this series. Most likely there will be two more posts specific to this trip, this one and one final one that will share how we organized our trip, who was instrumental in helping us, and ultimately what it cost to enjoy this experience.
During this trip, I had made a decision to create a gift for my traveling partners. I wanted to write a book and give it each of them for Christmas. A way to ensure that we would never forget what we accomplished together; the fun and trying times we had together. I couldn’t wait to get home to start this project. I have not done this before, I am not a writer by any means, as I am sure you can tell. But I did have my journal, and I did have my memories of what we went through. But more importantly I had the desire to make this for my friends.
This turned out to be a very nice hardcover Coffee Table Book, 100 pages in high gloss color, more than 400 photos. For anyone out there that wants to have a great memory, this is an excellent idea. I am telling you this because the rest of this post is really about what I wrote in that Book to my friends and my learnings about myself.
“This book is just a small look at one of the best vacations I have ever had. Not because of the location as much as the new friends I have made, and the old friendships made better through this extraordinary experience. This book is made for my travel friends, in the hope you will never forget our adventure together to Machu Picchu. I wish you all well, here’s to more adventures in the future.”
This is how the book opens. Most of what you have read during this series is in the book, so we won’t revisit those things, but I look at the book today and I laugh at the last line on the first page.
“I am really looking forward to this, I think it will be fairly easy and a total blast.”
The entries go on to tell of the trip in detail, much of which has been shared with you, and ends with a series of photos that I thought were some of the best of the trip, no camera can truly catch the majestic beauty of the Andes, the People of Peru and ultimately Machu Picchu, I did my best. The last two pages of the book are my thoughts from the trip, I would like to share those with you.
“I am really looking forward to this, I think it will be fairly easy and a total blast…..”
WOW, was I wrong! With this book it is my intent to chronicle this Great Adventure that Patrick and I embarked on, I must say that this book simply isn’t big enough to hold all that has happened to us, or all that we experienced and witnessed. There are so many other things we did that simply didn’t make the cut, like the last few days in Lima with Peter and Judith. We visited many beautiful and some not so beautiful places. But one of the most intriguing places that is not to be missed was the San Franciscan Monastery. Although it isn’t being kept up as well as it should, it is smelly, musky, and falling apart in some places, it is a must see in Lima. This particular church holds more than 75,000 human remains in it’s catacombs. Although our Guide didn’t speak any English, and I no Spanish, what I did learn was a great deal about this church, this is considered the first cemetery in Lima.
I have to say this has been a vacation unlike any that I have ever been on. At times it felt like too much work, at other times relaxing and fun. One thing for sure, is that it was a great time with wonderful friends, old and new. I learned a great deal about myself and my capabilities, I learned about another culture that I knew very little about. I made new friends like Sandra, Nico and Hernan. I also strengthened old friendships through tough, strenuous and emotional circumstances.
I learned that in a group dynamic like this people look for someone to take the lead, even if you don’t want to be that person, but I also learned that you can not answer all the questions and provide the right answers all the time. That everyone must decide for themselves what they are capable of, what they individually can achieve. When given the choices on a trip like this, it is quite amazing what we can achieve even if we don’t believe we can. Our resilience and desire to overcome and reach our goal, either collectively or individually is a testament to who we are. Our willingness to overcome obstacles like sickness, fatigue, pain even broken bones, our group persevered. The overwhelming emotions that flowed at the Sun Gate, were unexpected and surprisingly welcomed. At that moment, there was no more doubt, no more questioning of our choices, the adrenaline started to flow with our goal in sight. It’s not just that we can do it, just pure joy and satisfaction that we did DO IT.
There are some things I would do differently and some I would not, I would pack differently, spent more time preparing physically, spent more time in Cusco at the end instead of Lima. The culture and people of Cusco are so warm and welcoming, I hope to make it back there again someday. On thing I would not have changed is the friends I went with, I gained more respect for each and everyone of them on this trip and look forward to more outings with them in the future. I would have done this even knowing how difficult it would be, because my friends made the difference. I learned perseverance through the trials and tribulations of Sandra. I learned to relax and put disagreements into perspective when I thought they were the most important issue EVER.
Our Porters, what can I say, these men do this for a living. They pack us up and leave after us, yet they always arrive before us and have everything set up. These men are the hardest working people I have ever met, they have a love for their Peru, a passion to please visitors. The one thing I will always remember is how proud and thankful they were toward us, they are genuinely happy that we came to visit their Peru.
I finish this up as I am on my last flight, on my way back to Scottsdale to resume my normal daily routine. However I am a different person today than I was 2 weeks ago, a more knowledgeable person, a stronger person in some ways, a very lucky person to have the means to take this vacation with my friends. I can only hope to do it again with them someday, well maybe not this exact same one.
Until the next adventure my friends….
And so this is how it ends, a Great Adventure with life lessons learned, friendships strengthened, adversity slain. I am going to close this out with some of my favorite pictures from that trip. I thank you all for following along and allowing me to relive this adventure. I highly recommend taking the time in your life to experience this adventure. A future post will share with you the details of the trip, cost, who helped to organize it etc…
My Favorites from Peru, a set on Flickr.