Recap: Adventure to Machu Picchu
Here’s the thing: Easy doesn’t change you. Anyone can sign up for a luxury spa weekend, a fly and flop all-inclusive, or a motor coach cultural tour.
We had a few women sign-up for our Adventure to Machu Picchu without even reading the itinerary, but only because a friend insisted. There was a happy hour sign up. There was a delayed flight and still MIA luggage. Reading this you might think, “This is a recipe for disaster.”
But wait, there’s more! This trip was not without challenges. Hell, any trip worth remembering has a few good stories along the way. Hiking up Rainbow Mountain was by far our most challenging day with everyone battling altitude sickness at different extremities. Yet, easy doesn’t change you. It was by far, one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever endured. (And I didn’t even summit having it hit me hard at 16,000′). It was truly a once in the lifetime experience with breakfast in a meadow with outstanding views of mountains. After a short climb we were surrounded by the mountains of the Red Valley. I’ve never seen Red and Greens contrasted so dramatically! All the while we had screaming legs, hiked a nasty sand hill, and tolerated headaches. Why? To feel alive, to challenge ourselves, and to explore where only our two feet can take us. (And, maybe, we’re borderline masochists).
Then there were the swarms of No-See-Ums that would latch to your skin the second you went without DEET in the cloud forest. Our legs were covered in literal polka dots. Oh, and the cicadas the size of your hand. Yes! I kid you not. They dive bombed us at one of our dinners. They hummed so loudly it would occasionally hurt your ears. There were bouts of stomach sickness, migraine type headaches, and pre-dawn alarm clocks.
Nicki, why the hell would anyone sign up for this? This sounds terrible. Guess what? This is life outside of your four walls with potable water out the faucet, Amazon Prime, paved roads, treadmills, a flushing toilet, and deadly routine. This is traveling, not tourism.
It takes a certain kind of woman to sign up for an Explorer Chick adventure. Even if at the time they don’t realize that they ARE an adventurer. It takes an open mind, open arms, and an open heart. It takes a roll with the punches attitude. It takes a deep appreciation for earning inches on a trail. It’s a desire to experience and appreciate cultures outside of the United States. It’s a need to see the world only accessed by our own two feet. It’s showing kindness to a complete stranger. (I was almost brought to tears when I saw the pile of clothes contributed by our Explorer Chicks to Razz in replacement of her lost luggage).
Despite our challenges, they were outweighed by laughter, new experiences, rushes of adrenaline, deep conversations, accomplishments, awe, and tears of joy. There were bonfire dance parties, Madonna sing-alongs, “Come on!”, sexy llamas, paddling for our lives, tetas libres on the Inca Trail, soaring upside down, a shaman blessing, hand picked and roasted coffee, magical pineapple popsicles, flaming deserts, cuddly puppies, sketchy dirt roads, hot spring handstand contests, Incan make up, babe alerts, spiritual experiences, all the shopping, tasty food, facing fears, and firsts. All of these only experienced because a posse of 10 adventurous women arrived in Peru with an unbiased openness to the new and unfamiliar. In exchange, our Explorer Chicks returned with a new perspective and deep appreciation for the world around them. A newly discovered strength. A few new friends. And hella good stories to tell.
Below are some of my favorite photos from our Adventure. All of the photos can be seen on our Facebook Album. And, if you’re ready for your next challenge, join us on the next Adventure to Machu Picchu.
Officially an Explorer Chick Adventure!