I opened my eyes, and lay in bed. This was my final day in Peru. I had the morning and afternoon to myself, and needed to catch my flight around 5pm. Emmie and I went upstairs to eat our last breakfast, and made plans to meet up later with Iain and Matt for lunch.
I wandered around on my own in Cusco, haggling with locals with my limited Spanish and purchasing souvenirs. Once again, that sense of freedom returned. That feeling of having no responsibilities and no where to really be. There is something about wandering aimlessly in a city you do not know, that I find comforting – unless I am truly lost, with somewhere to be – then that is stressful. But this, was freeing. “Not all who wander, are lost”.
Emmie and I met up and soon after found Iain and Matt. We decided to go to a local chocolate cafe, where I had the most devine hot chocolate I have ever tasted. I ordered my hot chocolate and it arrived dissembled on a paddle board. The chocolate had been melted and put in a bowl, hot milk in another, honey and paprika. A mug sat in the middle of the board. I mixed all the ingredients in the mug, and topped it with paprika. To this day, I try to take the extra time to make my hot chocolate at home in a similar way. Matt, Emmie and I all spoke about our favourite memories during the trip and spoke about where life was taking us next. Iain and Emmie would be back home in England for Christmas and Matt would be continuing his travels for another few months. I admired their upcoming travels. I was headed back to flat Ontario, Canada. Which, don’t get me wrong, is beautiful. but not Thailand, Europe or another part of South America.
Saying goodbye to everyone was difficult. Our trip had come to an end and the temporary family unit we had, was dismantling with everyone going their separate ways. As I boarded my plane, which would take me to Lima then Miami and finally Toronto, I thought about all I learned during my adventure.
I learned that no matter where I was, I could get from point A to point B. No matter the language, no matter if I was lost, no matter if I was in a completely different country.
I learned that my body was strong – sure, it got tired – but it got me to 4,215m above sea level and through four days of hiking six t0 eight hours a day. I was pretty kick-ass!
I learned that as a child who lived through abuse and trauma, and an adult who struggled with my constant desire to run away from everything, I could use travel to safely and temporarily fill the want to leave all that is constant and safe.
I learned that sometimes, you just have to click “book trip” and figure out the rest as it comes. Because you will never have enough savings, you will never pay off that credit line, you will never have a “good time” to travel. I made a promise to myself that I would never re-visit the same place twice. There are far too many beautiful places in this world to see, and not enough years to live.
I learned about the world beyond North America, where convenience and consumerism are a constantly advertised. Where people work to buy things they cant afford, causing them to work more to make minimum payments on the things they bought, to impress people they don’t like, to live a life they have been told by society is the best life possible. My trip to Peru confirmed that I would forever live in a small home, and drive a 10 year old car and not buy the new screen TV. Because at the end of the day, I want to live my life making memories, not owning material items.
I learned to stop and live in the moment and to admire how amazing life can be.
I learned that my stubbornness, determination, curiosity and resourcefulness are gifts I am glad to have, and will always pack in my backpack to where ever my next adventure may be.
Thank you Peru.