Tag Archives: travel

The raw landscape


Ollantaytambo, Peru

I’ve been back home for nearly a week, but I’m not settled or back to normal. In some ways, I guess that’s good. Travel has a way of changing my perspective and I wouldn’t want it to wear off in a mere 5 days. I want all that perspective to stick around so I can continue to be more aware of the things in my life that are particular to my life. The special circumstances, this environment, the location, the privilege, my family, and my inborn constitution are just a few of the aspects of my life that shape my experience. These factors don’t look exactly the same for anyone else. As a matter of fact, sometimes they look really different. Some people grow up with llamas and live in the countryside and speak Quechua. Some people don’t have running water and have never been on an airplane. Some people know how to make amazing woven cloth with the most intricate of patterns from wool using natural dyes and a loom-thing that they wrap around their waist.

Yoga gives us tools and experiences that helps us to see things more clearly. I think it also gives us a fortitude to see stuff that isn’t so easy to see. Maybe it’s that I’m entering middle age and maybe it’s that travel isn’t all about the adventure anymore, but I need this special strength to be able to look at my life and the lives of other people. It’s good to be able to see the things that I do that could change. That need to change. I need this space that yoga creates in me so I have the ability to stay with something that might be hard to think about and not get so overwhelmed that I reach for the distraction or the next adventure. Sometimes seeing things without all the personal protective shields in place is tough. Seeing more clearly can be difficult and raw.

There’s also raw beauty. Raw passion. Raw love. That stuff is really amazing, though can be difficult in their own way, without the personal protective shields. It’s all part of the same raw landscape. And it is worth the visit, even if we come back from that place and can’t sleep very well and have stuff lingering in the gut. I’m glad I went and I’m glad I continue to go.

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Goodbye Peru

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We leave Peru today. Hazel can’t wait to be home and asks the details of our itinerary every few hours so she has an accurate hour count till she’s back in her room. I think it might have something to do with how often I lean in to “sing” the sounds of the beautiful Andean pan flute in her ear. We won’t have to worry about pockets full of change because Nora stops to get her photo taken with every baby lamb, alpaca, and llama she sees, an opportunity gladly offered in exchange for a little propina, or tip. We could write our own guide book on the locations of all servicios higenicos, bathrooms, in historic Cusco. Nora has had some tummy trouble for the last 25 hours, though she isn’t bothered. We learned that she considers her digestive distress a rite of passage, referring to it as her “butt period”– a term that sent all of us into uncontrollable hysterics at the one fancy restaurant we’ve visited in Cusco.

The children have heard me curse more in the last week than in their whole lives. Dave says that’s what happens when I’m south of the equator. I have to laugh at myself because before I came my yoga practice was so consistent and I felt so good that I actually had a vision that I’d bring peace, love, and appreciation of all things to the South American continent. It hasn’t happened exactly like that. Last night, Hazel congratulated me on my first day of no cursing. This was premature because moments later this street dog ran out in traffic and narrowly escaped death by taxi. It was literally under the front of the car when traffic came to a halt. The s-word left my mouth and of course Hazel heard. We have some great memories and photos to take back with us.