We came out of the mines grateful for fresh air, sunlight, and space to move around. I can’t say it was the most pleasant tour, but I’m extremely glad I went. It’s easy to discount stories of terrible working conditions from your couch, but meeting miners, putting on a jumpsuit, and going down to see where they work makes it much more real.
As the sun rose, I was filled with a simple, unqualified joy. I inhaled, exhaled, and said thank you for the day, for the chance to be there, and to be alive.
There are things no one really tells you about traveling. In most blogs or travel websites you can find stories about great adventures, breathtaking scenery, language learning, making friends, getting to know new cultures, etc., but rarely does one read about the challenges that come with a nomadic life.
It’s not much for them to live on. It seemed like a hard life to me, but I also realized that they are further away from the cycle of consumerism that defines so many of our lives. They’re always with family and spend time with each other instead of looking at screens. Maybe it just seems hard to me. When that’s all you know, why would you want anything else?
This is the story of two wandering nomads that made their way into the Colca Canyon, hiked for three days in the heat, made some friends, loved the scenery, but ate way too little food. After three days of hiking, our nomads found themselves happily tired, starving, and ready to hike up and out of the canyon. This is also a story of awe, natural beauty, Incan mythology, and a canyon that houses many different worlds within its cliffs.
I highly recommend Peru to vacationers if you’re willing to fly domestically. Longer-term travelers can easily spend a month or two exploring.
Cuba is a blast from the past, but be ready before you go. It really is a world stuck in another time and it’s best to do your homework.
We’ve learned that we can’t go 100% all the time. It’s important to take time now and again for a “personal admin day” when we have lots to do or a “spontaneous weekend” when we’re just plain tired.
As the hours turned into days, I grew used to the silence. I started to like my thoughts and I enjoyed spending time focused on my body. I thought I might feel lonely, but I had myself and that was more than enough.
So what does it feel like to hike at 5,000 meters? Slow, mostly. We were all breathing much more heavily than normal and Andrea got hit with a big headache. At one point, Andrea even said that she felt drunk: she was processing information more slowly, felt uncoordinated (try to put foot in one place, her foot ends up somewhere slightly different), and couldn’t think straight.