A few weeks ago, I decided to visit Peru. Over the course of 10 days, my husband and I visited Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titikaka.
We saw our shadows in a fog rainbow. We climbed a mountain so steep we needed ropes to pull ourselves up. We visited islands made entirely out of reeds and altars covered in gold leaf. We underestimated the strength of pisco sours and had to ask a cab driver to pull over in one of Lima’s sketchiest neighborhoods so we could be sick.
This was no relaxing beach vacation. But it was rich, eye-opening, inspiring, and invigorating, the kind of journey that stays with you long after you return home. Peru challenged us and changed us. We are better for having visited.
In the United States, we tend to think that vacations should be easy. We treat them as temporary escapes from reality, the chance to unwind and (finally!) spend a few days doing exactly as we please. We rarely venture too far from our comfort zones (what’s relaxing about that?), and then we wonder why 5 days on the beach isn’t enough to make us feel recharged.
There is something so powerful about taking yourself out of context. It is an opportunity to see yourself more clearly in relation to your family, your culture, and all the forces that shape you, scare you, inspire you, make you come alive.
The things you take for granted, the frameworks that uphold your beliefs, the invisible miracles and tragedies that unfold all around us, every day – it is good to be reminded of these things from time to time.
Because a single mountain contains multitudes. A single lake contains more wonders than we could ever hope to encounter. The world blooms, buzzes, confuses, and astounds. It’s worth a little discomfort.