As many of you know, I’ve been in Peru for the past 20 days – traveling the country, eating delicious food, having adventures. I went on this trip expecting for these things to happen. I went into this trip with the expectation of growth and knew that I would learn about myself, I expected to have fun. I hate to admit it, but I also expected to go on this trip knowing no one, and then to come out the other side with “friends”.
Why the quotes, Bex?
I honestly didn’t expect to fall so in love with the 22 people I met on this trip. I didn’t know that I’d see their highs and their hangovers and still love them endlessly.
I’m guilty of something terribly awesome, guys. I went into this trip so guarded that I let myself be freely me and I met people (and a side of myself) that I absolutely love.
Bex, you’re making no sense again…
Let me give you an example:
Day 3 of our trip in Peru, my group visited Huacachina, a desert oasis in southern Peru. (I 100% recommend it. It was absolutely beautiful. DON’T swim in the actual oasis lake though… You might get sick. DO climb the surrounding dunes, the views are to die for – or to burn your feet for, like my friends and I did.)
For one of our night stays in Huacachina, we took dune buggies out into the surrounding desert and camped under the stars. With the sun out, it was perfect. A little hot, but the breeze from our high speed kept us cool. The sand was warm on your toes and deliciously gritty in your teeth (bleh). We spent a bit of time sand boarding, which is like tobogganing on sand dunes.
FUN FACT: A toboggan is both a hat AND a sled (which can also be turned into a verb with the addition of –ing, aka sledding). You can imagine my confusion when my Canadian counterparts start talking about going tobogganing in the sand and I’m only thinking about a knit hat with a pompom on the top and HOW IN THE WORLD WOULD THAT HELP YOU IN SAND?
Tobogganing down the dunes was wicked. The speed and the sand and racing down the dunes toward the people who have already gone before you, hoping you don’t hit them, while you lack any and all control of the snowboard sized piece of wood sliding over the sand beneath you is quite the thrill. Especially when you don’t keep your legs spread wide enough and you fishtail, bail off the board, and eat sand. Hard. Tip: lay on your tummy and spread your legs. Wide. I’m not saying I learned the hard way… but you can be sure I spread my legs SUPER wide the second time…
Anyway – Back to the main point: We rounded out our desert experience by camping out in the cold, cold desert under the stars. Our food was cooked over coals and we drank a sugary, Sprite and Pisco version of a Pisco Sour (the real thing is quite delicious, I highly recommend). And we drank quite a bit of the Pisco Sours. And we drank a bit more of the Pisco… As darkness fell, a few of us climbed to the top of one of the surrounding dunes and someone suggests we strip down and streak back down the dune into camp.
As I’m bundling up my clothes to carry down the hill with me so I can dress at the bottom, I say to one of the girls laughing with/at us: “Why not? I’m never going to see these people again.”
I’m never going to see these people again.
I think back now and I hate that I thought that. Hate that I said that. But I love who I found because of it.
I’ve always been confident enough and unapologetically me, but if you asked me if I’d ever streak through a desert or in any way so fully embrace wildness and freedom (even if it was for about 30 seconds) I would say “No way!” Those 30 seconds on day 3 of this trip set a tone for me. Be free, be you, try new things. Everyone on this trip embraced the freedom, the sense of “Why not?” in their own way.
I think that is part of what made me fall for them.
To my new friends – I’m sorry I went into the past 20 days thinking I wouldn’t eventually care enough to want to see you all again. I can promise you this, in these past 17 days since, you melted my cold, cold heart. Saying goodbye last night was definitely the hardest part of the whole trip. (Just barely beating out the Rainbow mountain hike, which I thought was going to kill me.)
Llama see you again, even if it means I have to start telling the temperature in Celsius, understanding what Timbits are, and converting my miles to kilometers. And if it’s cold, don’t worry about this Southern girl – Alpaca sweater. 😉
(Sorry guys, two more puns.)
To everyone else – you may not have a desert handy or time to casually fly to Peru, but you can embrace your “Why not?” anywhere. Embrace freedom. You might just fall in love with the new you (and other people) that you meet.
Hasta Luego –