Hmmmm… where does one begin to describe the ‘odyssey’ of a trip to Peru, to one of the modern wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. The phrase ‘words fail me’ or ‘there are no words’ couldn’t fit more – but let me give it a shot now that some time has passed.
I went to Machu Picchu to absorb the grief and changes of the past year (read the last few blog posts for context). Absorb I did, moreover, taking-a-break from the real world and traveling to faraway places gave me more perspective on my grief and on my life. They say traveling is transformative or traveling is the university of life and now I can say it too; this trip was transformative and I learned so much more about life, mine and others’ (which also brings up the truth in the phrase, you’re never too old to learn).
I thought I was going to heal my grief, to refresh my spirit, to renew my joy in life – a tall order I know but it IS one of the seven wonders after all. All of that did happen but not in the way I expected. The word that keeps coming to mind, the feeling, the experience is: gratitude – deep and profound. Gratitude is the one word I’d use to describe my trip.
Just the opportunity – to take this trip, to be with the people on the trip, to afford the expense, to take the time off – all of this, in and of itself, makes me incredibly grateful. Then there was the adventure itself – being welcomed with generosity and kindness by the Peruvian people. Taking in the splendor and diversity of the scenery and plant life, vibrant flowers, stunning waterfalls; I was in the Amazon jungle! Absorbing the culture, beliefs and history of a country so different (and yet so much the same) as my own. It was a life-changing (transformational) trip because it is the first of many I plan to experience.
My dear friend Patricia sent me on this adventure because she knew what it would mean to me; she knew I would ‘get the travel bug’ and find myself awaiting my next trip to faraway places, just like she had. Her spirit was with me, and always will be. It can’t replace her being there in person, (and I wished for that so many times while I was there),talking with me, indulging in the local cuisine (guinea pig, llama and pisco sours????) or planning a next trip together. I am still so grateful to her – for her – even for the grief in losing her, because in knowing her, loving her, and grieving her, my life is changed – for the better. I didn’t have to go atop Machu Picchu to realize that. Sometimes though, it’s in going to faraway places that we discover ourselves again.