To be fair, this isn’t my first Christmas in South America (it’s my third). I’m pretty used to spending holidays away from home by now — an acclimation I thought might never happen.
In gross oversimplification terms, I moved abroad in 2012 because I wanted to. I’m not part of a military family — my job doesn’t send me places — I just have always wanted to travel the world. It is an imperative for me. So I quit my job in Ohio, sold a lot of stuff, and moved to South America.
What I’m doing now (slow travel) is different from what I used to do (backpacking) because I’m ‘living abroad’ now, whereas I always just used to visit places for 3-6 months and then return home.
Right now my address is in Peru. And this means that I am really, really close to a lot of awesome things. One of those things being MACHU PICCHU.
My partner and I decided to spend our actual Christmas together at the lost city of the Incans. He’s like me — living abroad, away from his family. He’s Argentinian, and even though HIS country is much closer than MINE, it’s no quick jaunt to get back to his family, either.
We purchased a tour that took us to a point near the base city of Aguascalientes but not quite, where we then had to hike 5 miles (don’t worry — we WANTED to do this! And boy, were the views worth it).
At the base city, we got settled into a hostel and then arose at 4 AM on Christmas Day to begin hiking toward Macchu Picchu. (Again — we wanted to do this! Although in retrospect, maybe I should have paid the $10 for the bus…) We got to the entrance around 5 AM, and then began a two hour hike UP — and I mean UP. Pure stairs. Absolutely nothing else other than stairs scaling the jungle. At one point, we were in the clouds.
And boy, was it beautiful!
Once we got to Machu Picchu (ALREADY EXHAUSTED, mind you) we spent about 5 hours there wandering around, listening to a guide, and taking mass amounts of photos. Then, we began the entire hike down again…and back to the starting point….
Today, my legs are SORE and I feel completely justified in taking a day off from Ashtanga yoga! I’m also intensely curious to see what ancient Incan thighs looked like… I would have to imagine they were pure steel.
Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, full of fun and love and family and friends! And if it didn’t include family or friends (like us here in Peru), hopefully it was a non-traditional gem in its own way!