Our 2017 Travels in Pictures

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2017 was an incredible year of travel for us! We hope to keep the momentum going in 2018. Happy New Year and happy travels!

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Into the Dark

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I always find it hard to fall asleep. As an insomniac, I know all about the bumps in the night. Sometimes they frighten me. But at the same time, the night has always inspired and energized me. I love the sounds of the night creatures. As a teenager, I loved the feel of the cold morning dew on my bare feet when I snuck back into the house after a summer night out exploring the world while everyone else slept. The night was my time. I wasn’t trying to be bad by sneaking out, I just didn’t operate on the world’s schedule.

Even now, I am envious of those who sleep easily. I listen to their snores and wish I could simply close my eyes and drift off, too. But there is something about the night–only when everyone else is sleeping–that is so magical.

Tonight, especially, I feel that magic. I am at a lodge in the Amazon jungle. Although this lodge is very posh, it is also very open. There isn’t much privacy between neighboring rooms and one wall of our room opens completely into the jungle. It’s amazing! It’s also a bit difficult to adjust. I had to think of it as glamping at its finest.

The openness made it quite loud while everyone else was awake, but now as they all sleep, I am mesmerized by the calming sounds of the jungle. There are the usual cricket sounds and some unusual chimes and chirps–there are also occasional heavy foot falls and the sounds of rummaging mammals making their way through the trees. It’s all fascinating and also serene.

At the same time, it is frighteningly out of the ordinary. The electricity at the lodge turns off at 10 p.m., and I’m so freaked out by the total darkness. In my insomniac state, I lay here opening and closing my eyes repeatedly without seeing any difference. Totally cool! Totally scary! It reminds me of how overloaded our senses are on a 24/7 basis and how important it is sometimes to just shut everything down.

Although insomnia has its serious drawbacks, this jungle experience had reminded me of what I always loved about the wee hours of the morning when I was a wide-awake teenager and everyone else was sleeping–my senses were alive, there was magic in the air and the world was mine.

Tonight in the crazy and noisy amazon darkness, I feel that magic. I feel like the world is mine.

25-Aug-17
Refugio Amazonas
Peru

~ LiAnn

Machu Picchu was just as I imagined: Beautiful. Ancient. Inspiring.

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I was first introduced to Machu Picchu when I read the Celestine Prophecy nearly 20 years ago. From that point on, I wanted to visit Peru. It seemed inaccessible at the time, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming.

I imagined hiking the Inca Trail and watching the sunrise over the historic site. I imagined feeling the energy of an ancient culture long since passed. I dreamed of adventure. But I never went.

Later in life, when I had the means to travel, I chose other destinations before Peru. I traveled through Europe, Asia and Australia. North Africa. Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Central America, but never Peru.

I’m not sure why. Perhaps part of the reason was that I always wanted Peru to be the far off exotic place it was in my mind two decades ago. But over the years, more and more tourists visited Machu Picchu each year and now they are limiting access to the site. So I decided it was finally time to go.

Machu Picchu was just as I imagined. Beautiful. Ancient. Inspiring.

We didn’t hike the Inca Trail, and I’m glad for that! Instead, we stayed in the Sacred Valley for a night and took the train to Aguas Calientes–the small town at the base of the site. We hired a private guide to meet us at the bus queue at 4:45 a.m. Our guide saved us a spot in line and we hopped on to one of the first buses up the mountain with very little wait.

We entered the site as soon as it opened and our skilled guide took us around the less traveled path. He told us about the history of the site and showed us pictures taken throughout the last century. Of course we took plenty of our own pictures, too.

We wandered and wondered–absolutely mesmerized by each view.

A journey I’ve wanted to take for 20 years lasted two hours and was worth every minute of dreaming, planning and seeing.

The best part is that there’s much more of Peru still to see.

~ LiAnn