Anticipation to arrive at the airport and begin my journey to South America drags on as I wait for mid-afternoon to arrive. There are five of us traveling together this time…I have come to realize that even though traveling solo is an adventure in itself while making the experience even more of a challenge; companionship is the paramount need to a successful journey abroad. When traveling it is not only the exploration of culture, insight into history, for the love of food or the risk-taking adventures that makes the path worth wild but also the people you share those experiences with.
Carmen, Chala, Cindy, Deniz and I will be traveling to Peru for the upcoming weeks and will all be traveling to South America for the first time together. Cindy caught an earlier flight to Miami where Chala, Carmen, Deniz and I will be meeting her before our overnight flight to Lima and then straight on the Cusco. I must admit I am a little nervous about the altitude as I have read article after article and blog after blog about altitude sickness and the thought of gasping for air as I reach a city located at 11,000 feet is ever so frightening.
Tiberiu gives me those puppy dog eyes as he knows he will miss me while I am gone as I will him. It has almost been a year since we have been apart for a period of time but I am sure 17 days will not be a problem; just wish he could join us since he absolutely loves the mountains and talks about them quit often. Childhood memories with friends, neighbors and classmates exploring the mountains of Romania for days on end. A life quit different from my own and as I travel to Peru I will get to see for the first time beautiful snow capped mountains and to be able to envision what it must be like for Tibi to camp underneath those mighty peaks, black skies and beautiful stars.
As I board the plane here in Miami we sit here waiting for our plane to depart. It will be a 5 and 1/2 hour flight before landing in Lima where it is currently 59 degrees Fahrenheit and despite my love for summer in Florida I look forward to winter in Peru. In current news there has been 32 people diagnosed with Bubonic Plague which is concentrated in a coastal city in the North east of the country. I am not to sure what to expect really as I read advisories and watch television shows like “Locked up Abroad”. Pickpockets, bag snatchers, trickery and theft; all minute issues that come with traveling abroad whether it’s Europe, Asia, South America or even the States.
The good with the bad though; divulging in tales of adventure, history, culture and culinary embellishments. Machu Picchu is the most prized destination in Peru and one of the Seven Wonders of the World; the idea of trekking for five days up Mount Salkantay to this ancient Inca city will be a moment I will never forget and to be proud of. To hike at 12,000 feet around mountain passes, valleys, cliffs and along streams to a height of more than 15,000 feet where glaciers and snow capped mountains are placed in miraculous view right before our eyes and then to finally end our trek over looking the walls of Machu Picchu just seems unreal. This is what the first half of our adventure will entail with the experience alone filling in all the minute details that makes this life worth living. The life of a vagabond, a wanderer, a tramp; aimlessly traveling to the next destination that captures my heart.
I shall sleep now as we arrive fairly early around 4:30 am and I am sure sleep will not be an option as I will be exploring new places tomorrow and acclimate to my temporary home in the mountains. More words will begin to pour out on the pages ahead as I experience South America for the first time.