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lacking wanderlust: what my trip to peru taught me about traveling

That’s something I want and wish for everyone – that no matter where you go, you never dread the thought of going home.  Because let’s face it:  that little bubble is where you more than likely will spend most of your time, and if you wake up every morning dreading your work day or where you live or who you’re spending your time with, then you more than likely will be looking at travel as an escape and not an additional bonus to this life you created.  And I don’t want that for you. And you shouldn’t either. If you’re stuck in a situation that’s causing you to be unhappy, start looking to make a change.  Learn skills to find a better job, start waitressing on the weekends to pay off that debt that’s bogging you down, get rid of those toxic friends. Yes, it may mean a little sacrifice now on your part, but coming from someone with experience, the other side is a great place to be 🙂 Now, back to Peru.

I will never negate the fact that traveling is important – it opens our eyes to those parts of the world we are hidden from in our day-to-day lives. And while you probably won’t find me wanting to jet off for months at a time (there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed), I am still excited to see more of what the world has to offer.  My 10 days in Peru taught me more than I had originally thought it ever would, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to experience and share it with you.  So, without further ado, here are the top 4 things I learned about life on my first (but not last) international trip:

You Have to Take Leaps of Faith

I waited too long to travel.  I had my excuses: it was too expensive, it was never the right time with work, I couldn’t find someone to go with, blah, blah, blah.  You’ve heard them.  You’ve made them. They’re all crap.

When I decided to do this trip, I had no idea what I was doing.  All I knew is that I was going no matter what, and I’d figure out everything along the way.  And you know what?  When you make decisions like that, things start falling into place. I had originally thought I’d be going alone but when I mentioned the trip to a friend over drinks, he said he’d always wanted to do it as well, and suddenly I had found myself a travel partner. Who had been to South America.  And was an avid hiker. Just like that.

There will always be a million reasons why we shouldn’t do something but they normally don’t outweigh the reasons why we should.  Even if it’s intimidating, even if you have absolutely NO idea what the hell you’re doing or how you’re going to do it (like me), if you truly want something in this life, then grab it. Even if no one believes in you.  Even if you have to do it alone.  Just dive in.  Take the leap of faith.  You don’t have to know everything, and sometimes that’s the beauty of the entire experience.

We Are Blessed.  And Extremely Rich.

This was probably the most unsettling realization of the whole trip.

At every corner you turned in Peru, it seemed like poverty was screaming at you.  In the base town of Cuzco, you’d pass 4 or 5 different people on every block who were trying to sell you scissors or calculators from 1984 or shoes that looked like they were picked out of garbage bins.  Day after day. In the outskirts of town, most farmers still used donkeys or picked the harvests by hand. In northern Peru, it was night and day between the resorts where tourists stayed and the graffitied, dirt floor homes of the people who actually lived there.  It never left you, and seeing it firsthand made it all more real to me.  These people were glad to get $1 and I had just spent 50x time on a night out back home.  I was lucky.  And spoiled.

But I think that’s the main point of traveling: to put your small world into the perspective of the bigger world out there. It made me feel grateful to be born in a place with such amazing opportunities, where I can make a better life for myself and own a home with air-conditioning and afford nice restaurants. And it made me want to do more to help those around me. Not a bad lesson to be learned from people I’ve never met who live 3,500 miles away.

AboutKara

I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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