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I arrived at Lima by night, excited at the idea to pass out in the bed of my new airbnb. For my last country, I had planned some extravagant stays and my first two nights in Lima were one of them. The taxi dropped me on top of a cliff, in front of a grandiose gated building. I entered, gave my name, received a key and took the elevator to the last story. The doors opened directly in the penthouse -revealing a view of the pacific ocean that was even darker than the night. I knew that this view would turn out to be breathtaking, in the morning. Meow. I looked down to a flat-nosed white cat brushing against my legs. A bit confused, my eyes scanned the room in search of a hint. I noticed a light was on in one of the rooms, at the end of a corridor. I walked to it to discover an old lady, getting up from her bed. “Hello, I am Grace. Welcome to my home”. I had to fake and act like I knew what was happening, but the truth is that I was confused as fuck, my friends. Turned out that I had misread the airbnb page and my very luxurious penthouse was coming with a grandma (and her very soft cat). I was greeted warmly, showed to my room and after a quick shower, I went straight to bed.

I woke up the next morning, feeling rested and eager to discover Lima. It was pretty early, so there wasn’t a lot of people outside- except a few runners jogging in the park boarding the ocean. It was windy and a bit cold, but the weather was about to change for a very hot sunny day, a few hours later. I walked in the park until I reached the main mall of Miraflores -an amazing three-stories open-air building hooked to a cliff, facing the ocean. There, I did a bit of shopping and then walked back to my penthouse to get rid of the bags. I then walked back out and explored Miraflores and Barancco neighborhoods. Had my first pisco sour (that shit is strong as fuck, I was tipsy half-way through) and tried my first Alpaca meat (very tasty). I walked back to the park boarding the ocean to watch the sunset. A few minutes later, I received a text from Alex -a tinder guy I hadn’t had the chance to meet in Bali (because I was sick) that was now in Peru. We decided to meet that very night.

Alex ordered me an Uber to his flat, because he had back pain and couldn’t do any activities outside. He was very good looking and had an amazing personality, but in the end I didn’t felt any romantic or sexual attraction towards him. We chatted about two hours before he kissed me, but as I felt no attraction, I decided to be honest and cut the night short. I apologized for making him lose his time, but he was an absolute gentleman and told me he understood. After all, we do not control who we are attracted to. I went back home, wondering if Christian had just set the bar to high, but after reflecting for a bit I came to the conclusion that meeting him didn’t relate to not being into Alex. I thought about Stan, and about the fact that I would still be very attracted to him if we met again now -regardless of the fact that I met Christian or not. In the end, I cannot pinpoint why I wasn’t attracted to Alex, but I am still glad I gave it a shot. He was still an amazing person to discuss with. When I came back to the airbnb, I passed about an hour with Grace, looking through her family pictures and listening to her stories, before going to bed. The next morning, I had to wakeup at 3h30 AM for a new adventure.

The sound of the alarm woke me up in panic - I was having a nightmare and the noise made it feel like it was real. After catching up my breath and realizing this was just in my head, I prepped and went outside to wait for my lift. A mini-van picked me up around 4AM, direction Ica and Huacachina. Everyone was sleeping in the van, until we stopped, about an hour later, to get some breakfast. There, I made friends with a Mom (Fiona) and her very cute son that was around my age (Laurens). We chatted for a while before we were call back to the mini-van, about 2 more hours drive in front of us. We arrived to the port of Ica around 9AM and jumped on a boat to go explore some of the islands around. We had the chance to see sea lions, birds and penguins, there. The boat ride was about two hours, after what we went for lunch and I had the chance to discuss a bit more with Fiona and Laurens. Laurens was in-between jobs and had taken three months off to explore South America. Fiona had battle a sickness and wanted to come meet her son for the last part of his trip. We were once again called to the mini-van for another two hours drive, this time with the Huacachina’s oasis as a destination. When we finally arrived, we had to walk up a sand dunes to a few bogeys that were waiting for us. The group was split in half (Fiona, Laurens and I making sure we were together). The drive up and down the dunes was absolutely insane. We were screaming all along and had a real blast. About half-way through, the driver stopped on top of a dune and gave us boards for us to play with. Each one of us sand-boarded down with a smile on our face and sand everywhere you can think of. After about an hour of fun, we went back in the bogey and were driven to a dune overviewing the oasis. We took pictures and walked down to the mini-van. Fifteen minutes later, we were sitting at a table, in a lovely pisco farm. We had a tour and a pisco tasting, where I made friend with a very hot guy from LA. His name was Armani and he was a chef, there. We were sitting next to eachother at the pisco tasting and laughed our asses off for about half an hour. At lunch, we all sat together and after someone asked everyone’s plan for the week, I ended up talking about going to Skylodge, the next day. Armani’s eyes became big -he was trying to get a place there but it was fully booked. I sent an email to the company and we arranged for Armani to come. We finished lunch and hopped back on the van -Armani asking me to sit next to him for the ride back. We chatted for a bit and then both passed out in our seats. My flight to Cusco was very early the next morning, so as soon as I arrived back to the penthouse (around 10H30pm), I had a shower and went to bed.


I woke-up to a text from Armani -he got sick during the night due to the food we ate at the pisco farm. He had still reserved the flight for Cusco, so we was going to get medication and try to come anyway. He would update me later in the morning. I took my flight and arrived in the very small Cusco airport, about 30 min later. My initial plan was to hangout at the airport until 2PM -when the Skylodge team would come pick me up- but the airport was so small, there was no restaurant or place to sit. I took a taxi (and got ripped off by paying 100 Soles when it should have cost 20) and was dropped in the city centre. I hangout in a coffee shop for a while before going to the hotel in front and asking them if I could leave my bags there while I explore the town. They were lovely and accepted, so I could enjoy my stroll without the extra weight. I was very grateful, because even with just myself to support, every step I took made me feel out of breath. I was definitely feeling the difference in altitude. I had a small headache, but it would disappear later during the day. Armani texted me back that he would have to cancel the Skylodge -he couldn’t be away from a toilet right now. I was sadden for him, but these things unfortunately happen when you are travelling. After about thirty minutes walking around, I decided to take a pause in a park and call my best friends for a quick chat. It was nice seeing their faces, and I remembered once again how much I missed them all. While we were talking, I got annoyed at some street sellers -particularly one guy that kept coming back to ask if he could polish my shoes. My. Running. Shoes. The ones I have since 6 months and that I am about to use in a four days Inca trail. I felt a bit of a throwback to the markets of Morocco (it was never has bad as in Egypt) but after a while I just got used to it. I ended my call with the boys and walked to my meeting point for the Skylodge pickup. When the mini-van arrived, there was only one more traveller in it. His name was David, he was a fifty years old English guy on his first solo trip. We conversed through the one-hour-thirty drive, laughing and sharing about each-other’s life and experiences.


The mini-van stopped at the bottom of a cliff and we were told to go out. We were both escorted to a container full of climbing gear. David and I looked at each other, a mix of excitement and fear behind the eyes. I knew I had managed to overcome my fears of heights, but I had never done via ferrata before and was a bit nervous about it. We had a quick briefing on how to use the gear and then started our ascent. It was going to be two hours up before reaching the pods, 400 metres above. About half-way through, I was feeling my injured leg getting more and more stiff, but I had so much fun that I continued to push through anyway. There was a moment where we had to walk on a “bridge” which consisted of two ropes (one for the feet, one for the hands) hanging in the void and this is when I realized that I had really fully conquered my phobia. I was able to let one hand go of the rope, mid-bridge, and scream my lungs out of happiness. A few minutes later, I was looking at David passing on the bridge and doing the same as I had just did, and I felt incredibly grateful to be able to share this moment with someone like him. I knew that at this exact second, he felt exactly like I felt. Free. Proud. Powerful. As I looked at him also conquering his fear, I thought of all the moments in my life where this phobia had prevent me to enjoy activities like this, and how far I had come since these times. I felt incredibly proud and strong, to have finally fully overcome the anxious and paralyzing feeling that was coming with it. David joined me on the other side of the bridge, we both had a smile that wouldn’t leave our face until the next day. We high-fived and took a few minutes to enjoy the view of the sunset -even more incredible from this height on the cliff. We continued our ascent, and it became a bit harder for me, with every minutes passing by. We were now about an hour thirty in the climb, and some of the metal hooks were so spaced out that I had to push a lot with my legs to climb them. I guess this repetitive action was slowly waking up my injury. I had a furtive thought that maybe I wouldn’t be able to make it to the end, but I decided to push through until it would become unbearable. Fortunately enough, we managed to reach the summit before. When we finally saw the pods, both of us felt an immense sensation of joy (and I did felt a bit of relief for my leg, too). We were escorted to the restaurant pod, where we sat and were able to enjoy the end of the sunset. To both our surprise, we ended up having a delicious four-service meal, which we shared while discussing about the climb we just did and how we felt about it. After dinner, we were both escorted to our individual pods, so we could refresh and have some free time. The staff explained to us that we could go out of our pods to stargaze (or visit each-others) without them having to be involved. We just had to use the radio before going out and when we were going back in -so they could make sure we were coming back safely. I took a few minutes to refresh, explore my pod and settle-in, and then I decided to go up on the outside platform to do some stargazing. I put my gear on, called the staff on the radio and made my way up. As we were only two for all the pods, I yelled David’s name to ask him if he wanted to join me for a bit. He agreed and a few minutes later, he was making his way down to the platform. *Kling* “Fuck.” I heard David’s swear, just after a metal noise. “Are you okay?” I asked. “I just dropped the radio like a fucking moron”. We both laughed. I had to call with my radio to break the news to the staff, who got a bit stressed when they heard it. They went out to try to find the radio, but the night was pitch black and we honestly felt like it just went down to the bottom of the cliff. Rip. The staff abandoned the idea for the night and made their way back to the restaurant while David settled on the platform with me. We talked about all and nothing, looking at the stars and just taking in the moment. I love travelling because you meet so many incredible people that you wouldn’t had meet in a normal context. David was an air traffic controller, he was way older than me and he lived in a different country. Yet, we had such an amazing exchange that it felt like we could have been friends since forever. David’s personality was very calm, but he was also very funny and wise. I enjoyed a lot my conversations with him and I loved hearing his story and how/why he ended up on this platform, in the middle of Peru, at this exact second. I would have continued talking all night, but it was starting to get cold and the fact that I had to wakeup early every morning since I arrived to Peru was also taking a toll on me. I had to say goodbye to David, who climbed back like a champ to his pod -in the dark. I sat down, waiting for him to reach his pod, making sure he was okay, before going back up in mine. I slept like a rock, reminiscing on the incredible moments like this, that I had during this round the world.

I woke up a bit before the alarm, because I heard the staff passing next to my pod to reach the restaurant. I had slept so well, though, that I was feeling very rested and ready to go. I put on the gear and climbed to the pod restaurant, where I waited a few minutes before David joined too. We discussed about our night, while enjoying the breakfast. David didn’t slept as well as I did, because he said there was a lot of noise, like dogs barking, which prevented him to fully rest. He talked about the fact that for his work, he had to always be on alert of what people were saying, so he thought that was possibly why he couldn’t switch off in any situation. This whole conversation made me realize how far I had come, on this level too. I remember that before this trip, I couldn’t sleep if my room wasn’t pitch black and if this was not absolute silence. The slightest noise would prevent me to enjoy the night. But, since I had slept in all kind of setups since the start of this trip, I guess I had no choice but to adapt. Now, noises and light weren’t doing shit to my sleep quality. The staff told us they found David’s radio down the cliff, and as we got excited by the news, my belly suddenly started to hurt. I had to excuse myself to go to the loo, where I unfortunately got sick. This got me a tad nervous, because we were about to zipline for an hour to go back down. I told the staff who gave me some herbal tea and told me to go rest in my pod for an hour. I took some medication too, and thankfully it worked on time for the descent. My belly did hurt, but I wasn’t sick anymore, at least. It still got me a bit stressed out, but as we kept making joke about it during the whole zipline down, I managed to relax and forget by the end of it. There is nothing like humour to get people comfortable, and I was very happy to have a partner that shared the same as me, in that terrible time. We arrived down, gathered our stuff and hopped in the mini-van for the drive to Cusco. I felt asleep and woke-up, very close to destination. ​

David was looking for a place to drop his bags and explore the city a bit, before his flight later in the afternoon. I told him about the hotel I had put my bags at the day before, and that my new hotel was possibly next to it, so I could show him the place. He agreed and got dropped off with me. In the end, I was actually IN that hotel I had left my luggage at the day before, the receptionist even laughed about it when she recognized me. David was able to leave his bags for free, and he asked me if I would join him for a coffee. I was exhausted and felt like my belly was still acting up, but I decided to join for at least one cup. We walked out and in, in a coffee shop just in front. I ended up ordering a tea while David had a coffee. We discussed more, about how life was incredible and what was our plans for the future. Once again, I had an amazing time just talking about life and each-other’s experiences with him. I really felt like we had a great connection, and I was happy to have been able to meet such a nice human being. We walked back to my hotel, David got his bags back and we said our goodbyes, promising to keep in touch once in a while. I was about to go to bed when the receptionist started a conversation with me. We chatted a while about her dream to move to Canada, about travels and how it changes people, and I was once again so happy to have an incredible conversation with a perfect stranger. We exchange contacts and I walked back to my room and passed out of exhaustion. My alarm woke me up, at about 5PM. I had to get ready and walk to the Alpaca Expedition head quarters -we had a prep meeting with all the other hikers that would be taking part in the Inca trail the next morning.

When I walked in the room, there was only one person there. A charming guy, with dark eyes and a big white smile. I introduced myself, excited at the idea to meet everyone from my group. His name was Freddy and he was from Colombia. We chatted a bit while the others were slowly coming in. A couple sat on my left, while a few other duos sat all around the room. Our guide introduced himself, after a few minutes, telling us we would start soon -we were waiting for two people. The guy at my left made a funny comment about the fact that there is always “those people” who are late in a group, and I added on top, making all the room laugh. I had a feeling like we would all end up friends very quickly. There was already a good vibe, in the group, and I noticed quickly that we were all around the same age-ish. The last couple finally arrived, and our guide presented the plan to us. We would get pickup around 4AM the next morning, and we had to load a duffle bag with stuff to bring for the four days. These duffles would be carried by the porters, while we could carried a day pack with only the necessary for the day. The meeting lasted about an hour. I noticed that there was two other solo travellers, on top of Freddy and I. All the other were duos. When it was time for us to choose our tents, Freddy and I decided to be in the same one. We already had a good chemistry, so we both felt like this would end up with us laughing a lot. After the meeting, I walked to a market to grab some snacks for the trek, had a quick pasta dinner and went back to the hotel. I prepped my bags, took my last hot showers for a few days and felt asleep, excited by what was about to come.


I got pick up in front of my hotel by a short Peruvian man that would turn out to be one of my guide (Nilton). He helped me out with my bags and we walked (pretty fast, I thought) a few streets away. There, I recognized Freddy, waiting on the sidewalk, his bag on one shoulder. He greeted me with a very warm smile and we continued our walk until the bus pickup. There was already a few hikers sleeping on their seats, when we boarded. I sat near a window, on the third row, and Freddy sat next to me. We picked up a few other travellers and started to drive in direction of Kilometres 84 -the starting point for our multi-days hike. We were half asleep, when we finally arrived. It was still very early but the sun had already started to heat the air -forcing each one of us to remove the layers we had previously put on. We all applied sunscreen, made one last stop to the bathroom, and then proceeded to the check-in. We started the walk on an ascent -setting the tone for what was about to come in the next few days. Being not acclimated to the altitude yet, everyone (but Freddy and Andrew) were already out of breath. To forget how I wasn’t in shape, I decided to focus on each one of my fellow hikers, analyzing them to see who was of the same “non-athletic” breed and who was going to be running that fucking trek. We were 16 in total. Freddy was used to trekking in high altitude, doing so every weekend back in Colombia. He was very polite, though, and I felt like he was going to adjust to the pace of everyone else. Andrew was of Egyptian origin, but lived his whole life in Australia. He was also a solo traveller, and his pace was pretty damn fast for someone living at sea level. He would mostly be at the front of the group for the whole four days. Josh and Daisy were an english couple that seems to have the same pace as I had, and they had a similar humour. I liked them instantly (and I thought they were both so pretty). Every time Daisy spoke, I took a moment to close my eyes and her lovely accent projected me, each time, in the Victorian era. Sophia and Emily were from USA and although Emily never seemed to be out of breath, she was always waiting for Sophia -who was going my pace too. I befriended Sophia very quickly, as we shared the same struggle and humour. I felt like we would have been very good friends, if we had live in the same country. Ray and Shannon were also from USA, and they made me laugh a lot. They were top of the group for the first day, but quickly adjusted back and slowed their pace for the next ones. During the whole trek, I thought they were absolutely gorgeous to watch- they seemed like a strong couple that loved each-other deeply, and were there to support one another. Renith was of Indian origin, living in Australia since a young age. He was amazingly kind, friendly and funny and I liked him instantly. His pace was consistent with the rest of the group, giving us the chance to chat here and there on the path. Mark and Sine were a couple from England/France, with what I would call a love/hate relationship. They kept fighting over things but it felt like a scene from a comedy movie more than anything serious. They were both quite quick, but were always doing pauses to allow everyone to catch up. Kay, Jinkang, Neethu and Krishna were two couples from Singapore and India -they had the slowest pace of the group, but they made it each day to the end, making everyone so proud of them. “Let’s take a few minutes here”. Our guide, Lizandro, dropped his things on the ground, pulling me out of my thoughts. We were now standing in the middle of an Inca site, everyone happy to finally have a pause so we could catch our breath. We all sat on the grass, the wind finally freshening us up, ready for what would become the first of several history lessons. Say what you want, but Lizandro had found the perfect formula to make all of us exemplary students: we would be so exhausted during the four days hike that we would  literally beg for more history lessons -so we could finally take a break from walking. After about 25 minutes pause, we continued our hike for a few hours before stopping for lunch. We laughed about getting sick because we saw one of the porter washing the salad with the river water - but the food was so fucking delicious that we ended up eating everything, regardless. We were already all bounding and I could feel that these four days were going to be epic -hard, but amazingly rewarding. We had a bit of time to relax, before starting up the trek again. We stopped in a second Inca site, to get another history lesson, and hours later we finally reached the first camp. We all settled in our tent, changed into warmer clothes and relaxed a bit from our intense first day. Freddy told me he needed to nap, because he hadn’t slept very well the day before, so I decided to go for a walk around the camp to leave him to rest. I was going to come back to wake him up only when dinner would be ready. After about 15 minutes, Lizandro called us to the dinner tent for afternoon tea. This would become a routine -and one that we would love. Peru had it right by serving us desert before dinner. 10/10. We chatted and ate all together, everyone being somewhat concerned about Freddy not being there. After a bit, Lizandro lined up all the porters and they introduced themselves to us. I thought this was absolutely beautiful and I was battling myself to not cry. Each one of them told us since how long they were porter and since when they were with this company. They kept cracking jokes in quechua and Lizandro was doing his best to translate from one language to another, keeping the funny essence as much as possible. It lasted about thirty minutes - and it set the tone for the whole adventure. We were all in this together, and it felt incredible to be part of the reason why these amazing people were employed. It was finally time for dinner and Nilton decided to go wake up Freddy. He wanted to make sure he was ok. All through this expedition, the guides and porters went out of their way to monitor every one of us and make sure that no one had altitude problems. Freddy joined us and dinner was served. We were all impressed by the fact it was a four course meal -the food was delicious and literally just kept coming. After the feast, everyone went back to their tent and we all called it a night very early on. I was personally exhausted, and we knew we had to wakeup at 4AM the next morning. Freddy and I had a very quick chat, but we both felt asleep around 21H.

At 4AM sharp, a porter knocked on our tent door to wake us up. We were offered a cup of hot coca tea and were strongly advised to drink it all. This day was going to be the most challenging of all -even though Lizandro promised it to be less bad than the the previous day- we knew what to except this time. The plan was to climb two mountains, in the morning, and then going down to the base camp in the afternoon. We knew this was going to be very challenging, one part of the path even being called ‘dead woman pass’. When we finally arrived there, we took over the highest peak and just chilled there for a while. You could feel the exhaustion but also a deep sensation of success in everyone’s voice. We stayed there for a while, before making our way down. About half-way through the morning, Ray started to feel very sick. That’s really when the cohesion of the group revealed itself -everyone was trying to help, from taking his bag so he didn’t have to transport it, to providing medication. I thought it was beautiful, to see so many strangers rallying to make sure he was going to make it. We were a team, until the end -no man was going to be left behind. We stopped at an inca site, for one more history lesson and then we stopped for lunch and a quick nap. The afternoon was going to be only descent and I was a bit concerned at how my right hip would handle it. Already, the morning descent had took a strain on it. I managed to survive and we all arrived at the camp safe and sound. Even Ray, who pushed like a champ, felt better by then. There was one final Inca site to visit, before the campsite, but Daisy, Ray and I decided to skip it and walk straight to the settlement. We arrived right on time to watch the sunset, while waiting on the rest of the group. Andrew arrived not too long after us -alone. We laughed about him running, once again, but in the end I think he was on a mission to ask me something before everyone came back. He took me apart. “Can I ask you something?”, he asked. “Sure, whats up?”, I said. “Do you snore?” I was a bit confused by the question. I answered negatively and asked him why he asked. “My tent mate snores and I really need to sleep tonight.” I felt like I knew where he was going with this, but I asked anyway. “Ok, and what do you want me to do?” “Can I come in your tent? We can send Freddy with Renith”. I looked at him in disbelief. “No fucking way. Freddy doesn’t even snore. I am not doing that to him.” “Yeah but I really need to sleep”. I felt the attempt somewhat rude, and like it was a backstab towards Freddy. “I am sorry but no. I like Freddy. I am not doing that.” Andrew apologized for asking and ended up saying that yes, Freddy was a cool guy. He left and didn’t talk to me until a day or so later -probably ashamed by his tentative. I wasn’t angry at him, I just thought this was a bit off of him to ask. The rest of the group finally arrived, and we settled in and took some time to relax. Then, tea and dinner were served (once again it was epic and we were all dumbfounded by how elaborate it was) and we all passed out in our tents pretty early on. Freddy and I had the chance to talk a bit more before we felt asleep, and I remember thinking that it felt like I knew him since forever. We laughed a lot and I felt him very open to talk about personal topics. He was interesting and i loved these small moments where we would just talk, in the darkness, and try to contain our laughs not to wakeup the other people.

We were once again woken up by porters knocking at our tent and offering us coca tea. It was still early, but it felt like everyone was slowly adjusting to waking up before the sun. This day was going to be easier than the others, with the path mainly going down. Lizandro estimated that we would get to the camp for noon, at last. We were all pretty excited at the prospect of a half-day hike and the energy was high when we started walking. Lizandro decided to make us take an alternative path (that we weren’t supposed to take), which turned out to be a bit longer but way less steep -and way more exciting. This path was overgrown with twigs and grass, but we all loved it very much. We stopped mid-way to a viewpoint where we were able to see the Macchupicchu for the first time (from very far away). There was a sense of relief, to finally see it,  but it became suddenly bittersweet. Everyone was becoming closer by the minute -it felt like a camping trip with old school friends, and i loved every minutes of it. It was almost over and a part of me didn’t want it to end. Our next part of the trek was literally everyone running after Nilton and Andrew, on a very steep and slippery dirt road. I swear to god we probably made it in half the time that we were supposed to take. We finally arrived at an Inca site, where we had to bribe Lizandro for an history lesson (he was hungry and wanted to go straight to the camp, so we all gave him some snacks). I thought our moms would be proud, if they had seen us bribing someone to give us a class, while on holiday. We sat on the grass, in front of some llamas, listening to Lizandro’s class, happy to finally be sited. Thirty minutes later, we started to walk toward the camp, where we arrived not too long after. We relaxed in the tents, some of us had our first (cold) shower in days, we had lunch and a quick cooking lesson (where we were all amazed to see the very rustic kitchen they used to make the very elaborate meals). Around 4PM we walked 10 minutes away, to our last Inca site until the Macchupicchu. That sight was absolutely grandiose and the weather just added on the drama of it. There was a storm forming in the distance and a rainbow crossing the sky, just above the ruins. We sat on the wall, listening to one of our last history lesson, feeling immensely grateful to be there. We had some free time, after the lesson, to explore the site at our rhythm. But we used the first part to try to make sense of how much tip we should give to every porters -and then the storm caught up to us and it started pouring rain everywhere. I walked back to the tent, had a nap, and then Freddy and I had a chat before dinner. He opened up about his current relationship, which such transparency that I felt we had been friends since forever. We were just honest with each others, without any filters, and I felt the conversation was amazing. We then proceeded to the dinning tent, where you could feel a mixte of emotions from everyone -it was our last dinner all together. To celebrate, the chef had baked a cake that amazed the shit out of everyone. We talked, laughed and shared that precious moment until there was nothing left on the table. We all regained our tent and Freddy and I continued talking until everyone else around got quiet. He felt like he had share way more about his life than I had did, and because he was so transparent with me since day one, I decided to be as well. I talked about my past relationship, about my accident and about all the reasons I was doing this trip. We felt asleep, once again trying to contain our laughs to not wakeup everyone else.

We were woken up even earlier the next morning. It was about 3AM and we were going to have a take-out breakfast, this time. We all had a quick coca tea and walked to the Macchupicchu entrance gate, a few metres away. There, we would have to wait about three hours for the gate to open. My stomach decided to act weirdly and I had to do back and forth to the public toilet during these three hours. Everyone was so helpful, though, sharing medication and trying to support in any ways they could. The medication took effect right on time, when the gate opened. We started to walk, with a good pace, under the rain that was pouring down. When we finally arrived at the sungate, everyone’s face was betraying deception. The weather was quite bad and the clouds were covering part of the Macchupicchu, making the whole site way less impressive than what we would have expect. After that very hard four days trek, we were quite sadden by the views. We kept laughing about being spoiled child and tried to keep our spirit high while we hiked towards the main viewing platform. The sun finally came out and, as we turned the corner to reach the platform, everyone became silent. The view of the Macchupicchu, the one we dreamt about when we first started to hike days ago, was slowly appearing behind the clouds evaporating under the sunbeams. It felt unreal, like someone had just drugged us and we had woken up in Hollywood, on a movie stage. We stayed about an hour, taking pictures and laughing together, before we walked down to explore and get our final history lessons. It was now unbelievably hot outside, the sun was scorching, but we took in each history class with an eager to learn and the hope of making the moment last longer. We sat in the shades for a bit, just to cool down and then we started to walk out of the site. At some point, an old man separated us from the guide and was taking it very slow, blocking the path entirely. He was stopping, taking picture, just not concerned at all by the people behind him. “Excuse me, we just need to pass to catchup with our guide”, I said. I thought I said it in a very polite way, but Freddy caught up to me on the path and asked me “Is there anything you care about? It feels like you don’t give a fuck about anything”. I was a bit surprised/shocked by his comment, like what the fuck does this mean. I replied that I asked politely, but that guy was blocking the whole path for everyone behind, it’s not a matter of not giving a fuck, it’s a matter of knowing how to live in society. He told me he taught me asking was rude. For a moment, I question myself if I appeared like a cunt every time I ask things like that. I know that I do it out of fairness (I like when things are fair, clear and I do not like when one single person’s joy is an inconvenience for everyone else around). I decided to split with Freddy and get some time apart, because I felt attack by his comment. Suddenly, the feeling of proximity with him vanished. I felt misunderstood and judge, and I didn’t like it. For the next hour, I tried my best not to be too close to him, until we made it to the bus we were suppose to take to go down to the small town of Aguas Caliente. I decided to sit next to Freddy and just explain how I felt and that his comment hurt me. We explained each our points and then everything was fine, again. I think Freddy is a person pleaser, and he will always put someone else’s needs before his. He has a hard time to ask for what he wants, maybe even to really know what he wants. I am the perfect opposite, in that sense. I put the greater good before an individual one. I want things to be fair, but I am not ashamed or afraid to ask and to state when something isn’t. Sometimes, it might look like I do not care about someone’s feelings, but I in fact care a lot about everyone’s feeling. I just balance and choose - should 7 people be annoyed by one person blocking the way so that person can have the best time slowly taking picture OR should I tell that one person to move, even though she might feel rushed, so that the group can pass and feel serene again. Call me utilitarian, but I choose the latter. And I won’t apologize for it. The bus stopped in the town and We walked to a small restaurant hidden in a back alley, to get lunch and enjoy our last time together as a big group. We all knew that internet was back, but we all chose to ignore it and stay away from our phones. We knew that, like every moment, this one would never come back. It wouldn’t be easy to try to re-create, either. About two hours later, we were forced out of the restaurant so we could make it in time to catch our train. The group was split in two -mine being with Daisy, Josh and Freddy. The train was supposed to be a scenic ride, but we got hammered drinking wine and chatting very loudly (I would like to apologize to the people in this wagon). We would have definitely missed our stop, if the train driver hadn’t honk the horn, announcing that we had to step out. Lizandro was already waiting for us, a smile appearing on his face when he saw us all smashed. We hopped on the bus, where I was designated DJ for the rest of the drive. Knowing well that millennials are fond of the past, I blasted music from the 90s and 2000s and the bus became a Karaoke. We all agreed to go out together that very night, but as the bus was approaching Cusco, I could sense the tiredness in everyone. I too, felt like it would be better to do it the next night, instead. Freddy was the first one to leave the bus. He said bye to everyone, but me. I was a bit shocked and once again wondering why he deliberately avoided to hug me goodbye. I thought we made peace. I thought we were close. I felt a pinched to my heart, but as I realized that I had misinterpreted our relation, I just decided to let it go. He left the bus, and then the group was split in two. We had two go in mini-vans because the big bus couldn’t make it to the narrowed street of the old town.  Neethu, Krishna and I were staying at the same hotel. It was absolutely magnificent and I passed out as soon as my two showers were done.

The next morning, I met Neethu and Krishna in the hotel restaurant and they told me they were going to the skylodge, as I suggested, that very night. I was happy that they would have the joy to experience it, but a bit sad because everyone had plan to meet up at the restaurant later, and I would have loved for them to join. It was raining outside, so I passed the day writing my blog, talking with my parents and reviewing the footage of the trek. A bit before the dinner plan, Freddy reached out to me. He asked that we meet, an hour before, to catchup before he leave town. When I saw him walking towards me, he was wearing a face mask and looking quite pale. “Are you okay?” I asked, a bit worried. “I had to go to the hospital yesterday night”. What? Wtf! He explained to me that he got sicker during the night and his dad had to call a doctor that ordered him to go pass an xray because his lungs were stuffy. I guess because of altitude, people don’t fuck around with that. He passed the night at the hospital, to be told in the end that he only had a laryngitis. He still wanted to see me one last time before leaving. “But you hugged goodbye everyone but me, fucker” I said, half-joking. “I knew I would see you again”. We walked to a coffee shop, ordered a tea and a coffee and chatted and laughed for the remaining hour. I knew we had a very different personality and probably a different way to express it -but we liked each other a lot. It was like we always knew each-other. I convinced him to come to the restaurant a bit, at least to see everyone one last time. We arrived and Andrew was the only one there. He had reserved a table for everyone. We chatted a bit and then Daisy and Josh arrived, followed by Sine, Mark, Shannon and Ray. The waiting time was awfully long but we still enjoyed our time, laughed a lot and had some tasty food (although Ray and I both agreed that we would never ordered Guinea pig ever again. There’s barely no meat in this and there was a weird fishy after-taste that we both weren’t fond of. Freddy was the first one to leave, granting me a real hug this time. It was hard for me to see him go, but I knew someday, somewhere, we would see each-other again. Around 22H, I said my goodbyes too because I had to take a flight very early the next morning. I hugged everyone, hoping to see them one last time before I leave Peru -but well aware that this might be the last. I walked about twenty minutes, in the dark and empty streets, without ever feeling unsafe.


I wokeup and didn’t even bother to change my clothes, knowing most of my day would be passed in airports and planes. I was flying back to Lima for one second, before switching plane and flying to Puerto Maldonado -in the Amazonas. When I finally arrived, hours later, I felt a throwback to some parts of Asia. The town only had dirt road, everyone was driving motos or tuk-tuk and you could feel that this wasn’t very touristic. I even witnessed, right at the airport, two employees fist-fighting and the police trying to separate them. My uber and I had a laugh about it, until the moment where he dropped me at my lodge. The lodge reminded me of the jungle lodge in Thailand. I could heard the monkeys and birds in the trees -a very peaceful setup. I settled in, ordered pizza and relaxed for the night.

The next morning, I was picked up for a boat ride and a walk in the Sandoval Lake reserve. There was three other tourists with me -one girl from Switzerland (Anya) and two guys from Italy. We had an amazing time looking at the fauna and were lucky enough to witness several parrots flying from their nest, as a group. I loved every minute, being surrounded by such diversity. I was driven back to my lodge on a moto, around 20H.

The next morning, I was pickup again for another boat ride and morning walk -on monkey island, this time. I was happy to find that Anya and the two Italians would be joining too. We laughed at the fact that Monkey Island got it’s name wrong -we never saw a monkey there, and then it was time for us to go visit a local tribe. When we arrived (by boat), the whole family was naked in the river. It was bath time. We all felt weird to arrive in such an intimate moment, but the guide told us it was fine and not something private, here. The family went out of the river, dressed up and greeted us in their home. Or should I say, on their land (there was no home, really). They were all speaking a dialect that even the guide couldn’t understand. Still, we managed to share some amazing moments together. They taught us how to do fire with only two piece of wood, and then one of the Italian showed them a gadget he had to make fire (a metal piece) and the woman passed about 20 minutes trying to use it, laughing their asses off. They finally managed to make fire with it -thing that even the Italian haven’t been able to do before. We then shoot some arrows and after about two hours chilling with the locals, we had to make our way back to the lodge. I was going to be a bit short on time for my flight to Lima- but I enjoyed this moment so much that I didn’t thought about it until it was time for me to actually go take the flight. In the end, I make it just in time.


I arrived in Lima late evening. I was excited to have some time to write and to relax. I was also looking forward to see Grace, my Peruvian grandma. There was a lot of traffic, because there was some big Brazilian concert in the colliseum nearby, so I made it to Grace’s place in a bit more than an hour drive. She was playing cards with her friend, when I arrived. They both greeted me warmly, and I sat next to them and chatted with them for a while. I took a shower and came back chilling with them, before it was time to go to bed.

The next morning, I passed the day walking around town and writing in some coffee shops. I made it back to the flat early afternoon, and I passed the rest of the evening watching a movie and drinking wine with Grace. We had such a great time, just enjoying my last evening in Peru. I liked her a lot and I felt like her name was fitting even more with who she was now. After all, she was gracing me with something I had not the chance to experience before: an evening with my grandmother. Both of mine had passed away when I was so young, I would have never known what it is like to be able to share such a moment with them. I went to bed, grateful to have made the mistake of not double checking the airbnb fine prints. If I had, I would probably have cancelled to get a flat just to myself -and it would have been a big lost.

The next morning, I had to wakeup at 4AM to get to the airport. Grace was already awake, when I walked with my bags to the door. She wanted to hug me goodbye. I had a hard time keeping my tears inside -because I would miss her but also because she made me realize that the trip was finally over. I was surprised by my ability to really live the moment fully to a point where I had not processed yet that I was flying home (and not to another destination). But, because it wasn’t a gradual realization, I felt like I was just hit by a brick suddenly. It. Was. Over. My 6 months solo round the world, was now part of the past, not of the now. The drive to the airport passed by in seconds, and without realizing my ass was in my last flight -the one going back home.

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