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Postcards from Peru: Day 1 Anticipation and Gratitude


Greetings from 30,000 feet!  

My journey has begun!!!!  15 years in the making and I am on my first flight (of 8) on a journey of a lifetime!  Peru here I come! 

I have my 40L backpack, filled to the brim with only the necessities to get me through 2 weeks in Peru, including four days on the Inca Trail and a visit to Machu Picchu.  I am excited.  My nerves are numb at this point, overworked from the past two weeks of panic, fear, excitement and exhaustion.  15 years of anticipation and the moment is finally here.   It’s a strange feeling that is difficult to explain.  15 years of imagination and build-up….  And soooooo many questions!  

Will it be as great as I’ve hoped?  

Have I learned enough Spanish? 

Have I packed the right things?  

Was I a fool to go alone? 

Will I make friends?  

How will my body react to the altitude?  

What if I drink the water? 

Am I prepared?

One thing is certain in life: you can never be fully prepared.  You can never know what to really expect.   And do you really want to know what to expect?!?  That’s the beauty of adventure!!! 

One thing is very concrete in my brain right now: I am proud of myself.  It’s not often that I say that.  I actually tend to get down on myself for not doing enough (or doing the wrong things).  However, in this moment, in this plane seat, above the clouds, I know that I took what seemed like a very distant dream of mine (hiking the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu) and made it into a reality.  One day is now TODAY!! 

I am proud that I was determined and focused and that I took all of the necessary baby steps to reach this moment.  Some of them weren’t easy, yet they had to be done. I had to get myself out of financial debt by drastically reducing my spending and working as many extra shifts at work that I could.  I moved in with family after living on my own for a decade (a very humbling experience).  I saved up a nest egg.  I built a travel fund (and I named it Machu Picchu).  I went on local backpacking trips to Isle Royale and the Porcupine Mountains and made sure that backpacking was for me.  I’ve built up my endurance by running marathons (22 in total, 10 in the last 18 months and 3 in the last four months).  I bought Rosetta Stone and began teaching myself Spanish (I’m on Level 3). I joined a frequent flyer program to earn miles on purchases I was making anyway….. and I used them to book my flight to Peru (the hardest step yet)!!  And then I packed my bags. 

Do I feel prepared?  No.  

Did I do everything I could do?  Yes, I think so.

Of course, I couldn’t have done it alone. I am so very grateful to my loving and supportive family and friends.  Both my sister and my mom took me into their homes when I was in need.  And now that I’m on my feet, they continue to help.  I can count on my mom and siblings to feed my cat and to keep an eye on my house.  My saintly mother doesn’t blink an eye about driving me to the airport at anytime of day, in any weather, regardless of how late she worked the night before.  I’m thankful that my family loves me and embraces me and encourages me to follow me dreams.  They don’t ask me to settle down.   They don’t try to dissuade me.  They are my biggest supporters.  THANK YOU!!!

I’m thankful for a wonderful job with excellent benefits.  I’m grateful to my flexible boss and to my coworkers who will pick up my slack.  

I am very thankful to God for placing me in a loving family and in a country where we have the greatest source of means available to us.  The U.S. Passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world, we just have to use it.

I understand that a lot of people just cannot travel, but I want to encourage U.S. citizens to take the baby steps necessary, make the right choices and make your dreams come true!!! It’s so liberating!!!!

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

When we are scared of the unknown, we must approach it, endure it and embrace it, for that is when we learn and we grow.  We become braver.  And more bold.  We become more open to possibilities in our lives and our futures.  Life becomes more fulfilling (and far less boring).  When you are open, you will meet all kinds of people that you’d never imagined, and you’ll gain confidence and skills to do things that you never thought possible.

Life is incredible.   What’s on your bucketlist?  Go make it happen!! 

Much love, 

Katie 🙂 

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