settling in

there’s nothing more wabi-sabi than traveling. i have yet to experience a trip – however short/long – that was free from imperfections. travel delays, language barriers, forgotten items, dietary ailments, etc. a week back from peru, and i’m just now settling back into the wabi-sabi of my everyday life, truly celebrating ALL of it, even those little “imperfections” that really are minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

and that’s what i love about traveling. departing from the routine. experiencing the challenges. feeling uncomfortable. it’s only then that some kind of perspective is gained, some kind of empathy develops.

i wish i could say it was easy as that – effortlessly removing myself from everything i know to be open to whatever comes my way. but that couldn’t be further from the truth. a lot of letting go has to happen before i can grow from the experiences. there’s a host of soul-searching that takes place, a lot of digging deeper in order for my travels to have any lasting impact. but when it’s all said and done, it’s worth it. every little step in that journey abroad is absolutely worth it.

my fourth time back to peru, this trip was nothing short of highs and lows. i will spare the details for space-sake, but figure i’d write a streaming-line-of-consciousness of some specific memories that certainly colored our trip.

oh, and it’s good to be back!

  • market runs in ALL the cities
  • eating streetside anticuchos late in the evening, prepared by our favorite “tia pelos”
  • searching for rocoto (or anything picante) to douse on our choclo in cusco, the city famed for its aversion to spicy
  • a day trip to Pisac for textiles, where we happened upon a chicha house. we visited with the locals, sipping our giant glasses of the fermented corn drink, embracing a solid dose of cultural exchange *
  • stopping by a women’s weaving community on our way to Ollantaytambo. learned the process of producing textiles, from the raising/trimming of the alpaca, to the making of the natural dyes, to the handiwork that is passed on from mother to daughter
  • * spending an entire day in bed/bathroom, battling the result of wee too much chicha
  • waking at 3:30 am after said (ailment) day to catch the train to Machu Picchu. bypassed the touristy area with our permits to hike Machu Picchu mountain. with a significant elevation gain, it was unbelievable. and the descent, even better since we we waited till the end of our allotted time to take it all in without anyone around
  • taking a combi to patacancha, another weaving community in the highlands. met a woman who invited us into her home when it started to rain. there, Jesusa gave us an  in-depth look into her weaving process, teaching us the fine art of her craft
  • too late to catch a combi back into town, met another woman who only spoke Quechua whose son was a taxi driver. through the translating help of another stranded comrade, the woman was able to get in hold of her son to pick us up…hours later. to escape the blistering cold while we waited for our ride, she invited us into her home where she made us a fire. gracious hospitality like i’ve never known. 
  • returning to cusco, this time in the most charming Airbnb in my favorite part of town – san blas
  • coming across an unconscious gentleman and performing CPR on him (I will spare the details here)
  • booking a last-minute trip to Arequipa to end our journey, where we got massages at a clinic for the blind; overdosed on pizza; visited a brewery owned by a guy from Portland; lounged at the same coffeehouse four days in a row
  • last day in lima, always ceviche!

and here are a few photos…

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it was an incredibly wild ride, but alas, home.

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