Peru, the destination I have dreamed about since I was 15 is finally a reality and words can’t even explain how I felt touching down.
Not even the fact that the door to door travel had been 30 hours, or the fact within that 30 hours I had only gotten 4 hours of broken sleep, I couldn’t wipe the ear to ear grin off of my face.
I had zero expectations – truly. I knew that to come to a place I had dreamed about for 15 years, the #1 place on my bucket list, I couldn’t have expectations because when that happens you hype it up too much and somehow (stupidly!) disappoint yourself.
But if I DID have expectations – even simply driving from the airport to our hotel exceeded them.
We got in quite late and walking in to our hotel, nothing could have prepared me for realising just how much of a dream come true this trip was about to become.
16 years ago I heard about Machu Piccu – I heard about the Inca people who had impossibly built an entire intelligent city atop the Andes Mountains – the biggest mountains in the world, with rocks that would have been impossible to get atop those mountain without todays machinery. And I became obsessed with seeing this city one day. I remember sitting for hours on end with Morgans beautiful Dad, Aronn (who I lovingly call Pa) talking about the Inca people and the history and this mystical place – I remember him telling me the craftsmanship and water systems and intelligence of the way they built it was literally second to none, and for whatever reason, it became my fascination.
Then something almost impossible to me happened – our company, more specifically the START movement, put up an all expenses paid trip to Peru to see Machu Picchu and the top 50 businesses in the competition time period would go.
There wasn’t one cell in my body that doubted I would be on that trip with Morgan, it was written in the stars.
So cue last night, after 30 hours of travel, walking in to our beautiful 5 star hotel was overwhelming. I never pictured exactly what it would look like when we did this trip, but I don’t think I ever imagined it to be this luxurious and taken care of.
We were met by some of the corporate staff who let us know it was an early start the next day as we had a few hours of travel to get to the Amaru village where we’d be giving back for the day and the bus left with us all at 6am sharp.
We checked in to our stunning room with it’s luxurious king size bed and beautiful décor and even though we knew we had only 5 hours of sleep ahead of us and 30 hours of travel behind us – with the threat of jet lag, we went to sleep feeling more spoiled than royalty.
Waking up to our 5am alarm I don’t know if it was the excitement or pure adrenalin, but I bounced out of that bed like I had just slept 10 or more hours and was beyond ready to get outside and feel the cool early morning air Cusco promises and see and feel some more of it’s energy.
Due to us getting in so late the night before, it was pitch black outside our hotel window, so drawing the long thick curtains that morning and seeing the red sun peak up over the Cusco mountains and light up the ruins outside of our hotel window I truly felt like I had been transported back in time.
We were all on the bus by 6am and headed off for the day to Amaru Village, to give back to a school and it’s local community – and even though there was some jet lag, tiredness and adjustment to altitude amongst us, the energy was absolutely buzzing and conversation flowing.
We arrived at the school to one of the most beautiful, warm and sincerest welcomes ever, all the school children had made us all fresh flower necklaces, and as each one of us 80 START’ers walked in to the school grounds, with live drumming and singing and clapping in the background from the local villages, a necklace was placed around our neck from one of the children, who then would take us by the hand and walk us to our seat.
The child who placed the necklace and took our hand became ‘our child’ for the day and one thing I was very quickly reminded of was smiling and hugs and laughter truly are the universal language. We were told the children spoke the local Andean language dialect, but many or most could speak Spanish as well – not being fluent in either of those languages, all I could do was smile, point, hug and laugh with my little one.
In the 6 years I have been involved with Isagenix and a part of and an Ambassador for the START your life movement – and the tens and tens of give back days I have done, never have I ever done a give back day quite like this one. It was spine tingling powerful to me just to see the REAL impact Isagenix IS in fact having no matter where we go in the globe, including allllll the way to the top of the Andean mountains.
WHY I believe it was so impactful to me this time especially, was because I got to see the direct impact Isagenix had before we even arrived. When we walked in I did in fact immediately notice a large very new looking building that almost looked out of place due to its new-ness amongst the other older school buildings – after all the welcome songs and dances the children did for us, we learned that was the new building and sanitation block they were able to build, they badly needed, thanks to a financial contribution from Isagenix. We were then all taken out around the back of the school to see a new Greenhouse proudly set up and ready for new seeds and plants to be planted Isagenix had also made possible with their financial contribution. What we then got to do to give back whilst there was plant everything in the Greenhouse, and play with the kids – as hundreds of toys and crayons and skipping ropes, bubbles – everything our own Western Kids are spoiled rotten with – were handed out amongst the children.
Leaving the school that day although sad, because I know in my own heart there’s no telling I’ll ever go back there and get to connect with that beautiful villiage again, but my heart and soul were full and smiling, because of the direct contribution I got to see Isagenix and our own hands have.
Walking back down the hill to the buses I was remarking to Morgan to look around and take it in because it is so damn surreal where we are right now and what a pinch me moment, when we saw a large beautiful area set up on the grass, over looking the Andean mountains – with brightly coloured rugs for us to sit on, and gourmet picnic boxes they were handing out.
You know those moments where you think it couldn’t get any better? Then it does? That was this moment for me.
We all then got shuffled on the bus and stopped off at local markets on the way home where Morgan and I bought our Poncho’s I was determined to find and buy and wear on our HUGE day to Machu Picchu the next day, and I bought a few colourful gorgeous gifts for Beth & Delilah.
Getting back to the hotel tonight, after a long hot shower and too many “is this even real life” comments to count, Morgan and I took off to the hotel bar to drink our new found favourite Peruivan red wine (a Tacoma Malbec from Peru) before a delicious night at a phenomenal restaurant in Lima with some of our best friends dining on Japanese inspired food (and not to mention getting to try our first Pisco Sours of the trip – delicioussss!!)
Sitting back in the room now, tapping away at my keyboard downloading the last two days I can’t wipe the smile off of my face.
This trip is only 24 hours in so far, but I literally feel like we are squeezing every second out of every moment and I go to bed tonight with a fulfilled heart and soul, and an excitement and anticipation that is indescribable because tomorrow is the day we all head to Machu Picchu.
I’m ready, I’m open to whatever the experience dishes up and I am humbled beyond belief I get to be on this sacred land, at this perfect time, with my beloved and best friends experiencing this with those I love most.
Peru – I can already say you have my whole heart and we are only 24 hours in.