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It was something I didn’t really set out to do when I landed here. It was just another tourist destination as far as I was concerned, and the last thing I wanted to do was willingly pay a large amount of money to not be able to see something due to an over saturation of humans….

But! The more I thought about it, and the longer I lived out here, the more and more it grew into something of positivity and desire. I heard a resounding “totally worth it” “you don’t even notice the tourists” from just about everyone who offered their opinions “if you have the chance, go”.

I always smiled and nodded, but never thought I’d actually have the will to make it happen. Too many complications, too many reasons why not, I didn’t speak the language…all excuses based around a fear of the unknown.

It wasn’t until a mental barrier destroying ceremony that I felt liberated and empowered enough to do whatever I wanted. And part of that freedom, was the venture my friends had been speaking about. The seed had been planted and the roots were steadily weaving themselves around me. My stance on the venture shifted completely, it was no longer just some destination, no longer just some place where the tourists decided to go for a long weekend. Now? It was affirmation, it was integration, and it was me LIVING what I envisioned in ceremony. If I made it, if I climbed the mountain and sank my proverbial standard into the ground, I would have passed this test. I would have proven to myself that I was capable of actually doing, executing, LIVING, the possibilities and changes I saw down here. I would show my doubt that I could overcome. Me versus Fear, who was going to come out on top?

The only legitimate excuse I had came down to money, and making sure I had enough to eat was the only yield I felt comfortable paying attention to. I decided to wait until the last month of my journey in Peru.

With the end of July and the departure of my beautiful housemates, I decided the time was right. I had a little time left in the country so I didn’t need to worry about living expenses and helping out during that second retreat left me with some spending money. Now or never…

I chose a day and decided to sit down and figure this out with no distractions. I ducked and dodged, ninjaing around the town, avoiding any conversation that would keep me from the goal I set.

With my grappling hook, I scaled the front of the Blue Llama restaurant, and cartwheeled onto the balcony with ease (may or may not have just walked through the front door). I sat down, manifested lemonade, turned the computer on and took a breath. “I made it. Time for science!” I screamed. It wasn’t actually time for science, it was time for research, but it’s more fun to say. Peace and quiet, here we go….

“Hey!”  said a voice from behind me.

Shiiiii!! Silence shattered

“Hi” I replied, turning to face the man. “You helped out during the July retreat right?”

True. We had met briefly during the second retreat, but we never really had a full on conversation. Steve. We talked briefly about the retreat, our time in Peru, and just things in general.

Somehow we got on the very topic I had come to investigate, and it seemed as though we had run into a similar situation. As it would seem, I wasn’t the only one in this current predicament. Both of us really, really wanted to go, but neither one of us thought were going to be able to make it happen, before we left the country. As he spoke, the parallels of his desire were apparent. He wanted to go, I wanted to go…. this deviates from my plan a little, but we could make it work…

I had originally planned to take this venture alone, but I wasn’t necessarily opposed to the idea of going with someone either.  This wasn’t a safety net, if anything, it was another variable added to the entirety of the original idea.  Could I do it? Could WE do it? Could we make it happen? We speculated and spoke of what we knew, which wasn’t very much at the time, so we decided to meet up again in a few days and continue this idea, and if things were right for the both of us, turn it into a reality.

Days passed and I stepped into the restaurant to find him waiting for me behind his computer. We had both come up with a little more information regarding the venture, and agreed to meet and discuss what we had uncovered, as the ever-lovely gypsy companion set the mood and sang from the background as she regularly does at the venue.

Information shared, but we still had a lot of unknown variables to contend with. Our best course of action, we decided, was to head to the city and talk with the numerous guides to replace our speculation with actual facts. Would be nice to compare prices and details while we were there.

The next day we strolled the city, taking note of the millions of travel/tour agencies before we found our way into a second floor office to speak over officials.

We went in just for details, but ended up putting money down and making it official right then and there.

 (I made 520 soles during the second retreat. The trip cost 510. Ha!)

Why wait?! We were locked in.  And we left in the morning!

No time to waste, not since vans to-and-from the city stop running! Time was short; I had to return to my house an hour away, pack a bag and grab some things for Steve since he left his stuff in the area as well.

By the time I slung my, now full backpack, on my back the sun was steadily sinking below the horizon. Never a good sign if you’re trying to make it to the city since the transit shuts down around nightfall, especially if you have a bus reservation for 5am the following morning.

Thankfully, and much to my relief, I jumped into one of the last vans to the city and caught my breath as we made our way.

I hastily weaved my way through the busy streets of the city until I made it inside of the bar we had planned to meet. Into the building and up the steps, entering the bustling bar that I had previously entered about month ago with my brother  (Previous entry: Eurocup).

Steve introduced me to three new faces before I took a seat and ordered a drink. Drinks all around, and a toast to the first step of our adventure, we were only a few hours away from the beginning of our trip!

The night continued until the lovely lady of our party decided to head home. She wasn’t looking forward to the walk home, through the city alone, so I downed my drink and decided to walk with her. And this is when the rabid Peruvian attacked. (Previous entry: Fight or Flight)

Once I returned to the bar, and so happily found my last wonton waiting for me, I retold the tale of what just happened and we continued on where we left off.

Eventually the night got late…not too late, but late enough since we had to get up at 5:30am, so Steve and I decided to say goodnight to the others and head to our hostel.

He knew of a place, a new hostel that was open but still being built, and as we pushed open the heavy wooden doors it was obvious this place was special.

Rent a room at the Millhouse hostel

An absolutely beautiful hostel, one of the best I’ve ever been in for sure. The stonework was stunning, but the “Add something to the hostel, and stay for free sign” was what really stuck out for me.  Since the place was still being built, the idea was, if you artistically lend something toward its completion, you could stay for free. And as such, there were art projects, starting or completed all over the place.

I dunno who decided it would be a great idea to put a BALL PIT in the reception room, but I’d like to give that person a hug. BEST. IDEA. EVER.

Late as it was, apparently there was a bar inside and it was happy hour (all night happy hour). We followed the bumping music until we found our way inside. More drinks!

“Another drink?” shouted a man behind the bar with a wide smile. “…on the house!?” I was fine, Steve had another, and the three of us struck up a conversation. The man behind the bar was actually the architect of the place, fresh from Mexico and ripe with ideas for the blooming building. “I’m actually trying to build my portfolio” he said as he looked at my camera. “If you’re up for it, I’d love some pictures of the place as it’s coming together”. The only answer I allowed myself for this trip escaped my lips “Of course!”

Take portfolio pictures for an architect

“Hey!” he said quickly as he disappeared behind the bar and returned with three shot glasses. “From my private stash. Straight from Mexico…”

Shots seemed like a bad idea…but! Bad ideas always make for a good story, and I haven’t died because of them yet so…shots!

We hung around for a bit longer before we retired to our (beautiful) room. Complete with chandelier, balcony and full bathroom (Hot water AND a bathtub? It’s like they knew I was coming!)

Tomorrow was the day, the first step toward our mutual goal. It was actually happening, and things were already off to a great start. I couldn’t have been happier.

5:30AM

Onward to Macchu Picchu!

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