I recently went to Peru with my roommate Dilan and one hi friends Howie. We spent a few days in Cusco and went to Machu Picchu by route of a 4 day hike along a trail that the Incas used from outside Cusco. Along the way I spent a night (sleepover party) in a Peruvian farmer village which was pretty eye opening.
Here’s my trip takeaways I wrote for myself.
Things I learned about Cusco (and Peru)
- People from Peru are overtly friendly, helpful, and nice. I honestly felt safer there than in Brazil even though I live in Brazil. I’m not sure if this is because of their gentle nature or the absence of stories I’ve heard about people getting messed with in Peru.
- It’s cheap. We ate like Kings at the best restaurants everywhere we went and it cost a fraction of what we’d pay for that type in meal in the states. 10 minutes taxi rides cost equivalent of $1.50, I got an awesome hour massage for $25, and meals with drinks on average at the fanciest dance in town cost just over $30.
- I love Pisco Sours - yes, I drank!
- I love Al Paca meat even though they’re really cute.
- There’s an incredibly agricultural technology gap. I spent a day/evening in a rural farming community. There weren’t any tractors or cars. Just people working hard, with their hands. It was communicated to me that these people don’t have free time except just a few days a year. Again, Luckiest. Dude. Ever.
- There is vast rural beauty and modern culture is still very in tune with the cultural history of their ancestors (both Incan and Spanish)
*I learned a bunch of other things, but this is all that comes to mind in this brain dump.
Things I learned or reaffirmed about myself
- Continuous reminder I am probably in the top .01% luckiest people in the world. Being born in the US alone is a gargantuan blessing.
- Hiking was fun, but the richest part of the experience was the dialogue and fellowship with my friends. I think one big hiking trek a year will do it for me. There are probably other experiences that are in greater alignment with my interests since I’m of the “see one big green mountain, seen all big green mountains” mindset. Some ideas include trips around water sports, snowboarding/skiing or retreats where you learn how to do something new or get better at something…like Kitesurfing!
- I get bored of travel talk. Where have you been!? Where do you want to go next!? After 2 days at a hostel I find this akin to the hollow conversational habit of immediately asking people “what do you do” at networking events. I find it really hard to develop the rich meaningful connections with people if we can’t take the conversation past places people have traveled to and want to go. I found this boring and in retrospect should have just starting getting ridiculous with it by doing something like talking about the beautiful beaches of Detroit or something of that nature.
- One night of camping suits me. As much as the mini masculine angel on my shoulder wants me to lie to myself and say I love spending multiple days in the woods, I really don’t. I like showers, toilets, and clean bedding. Camping isn’t my flavor of grit.
- My favorite type of guys to spend time with are those who are intellectually curious, yet don’t take themselves too seriously (bonus points if they’re a bro). I just find myself far more alive and energized poking reality with a stick than talking about guys I don’t know on a sports team or about other people. It’s funny because for a long time I tried to force friendships with people who embodied this behavior because that’s what my immediate environment yielded me or idealized. Sigh.
Things I learned about traveling
- Always carry both a Visa and Mastercard. Many places only took one
- I need a business card to give people as well as a simpler way to tell people how I make dinero to support things like traveling.
- When people don’t have cell phones, you need to be very specific about logistics. I met this cool girl and then kind of botched spending more time with her (me thinks) because I wasn’t incredibly specific about when and where we should meet in the absence of the being able to text/call.
- It’s always beneficial to announce where you’re going or just post photos while you’re there because sometimes members of your network will be in the same place! One of my friends was also traveling to Peru at the same time and I wouldn’t have even known if she hadn’t seen my facebook photo. Some people will from your previous life a.k.a high school might now have a commonality to reconnect with you which is cool…especially if they’re cute, heh.
- I need to work on my cardio preferably by doing more dynamic crossfit style workouts than bodybuilding muscle beach stuff like I’ve been doing. I was getting schooled on the trail by everyone from 11 year olds to yoga moms.
- I need to pick back up learning salsa. It’s fun and just looks so cool when done with good form. I think me and Dilan are going to do this in Rio this week!
- I want to more of the guy who plans trips amongst friends. You just have so much more awesomeness when you’re the one getting everyone together.
- I need to get to Columbia because everyone raves about it. BUT apparently Cartagena isn’t as good as some people have suggested. Medellin it is!
- When I’m in a social situation that I’m not that stoked about, I need to see it as an opportunity to be a goofball and make my own fun instead of letting the external situation dictate how much fun I have
K that’s all. Overall awesome trip, but I don’t see myself visiting Peru again for leisure until I have young bucks or a serious female companion who’d want to check out Machu Picchu, Lima, or the Amazon.