So Your Here… Now What?

After spending 12 hours in airports and on airplanes we arrive at our destination, Peru. When everything goes as planned it makes for a lovely journey. Of course I ate too much and sat still for way too long.

Arriving at Lima Airport our bags arrived in as timely a fashion as we did. Walked through customs without issue and were whisked off by our driver to our quaint hotel. Checked in and off to dreamland for us weary travelers.


La Castellana Hotel is a small boutique hotel with solid plaster walls, dark wood accents and as few creature comforts as needed to be fairly comfortable. This is what true “locally owned” establishments look like. The room rate is reflective of the sparseness. There is no “European” frills here. The beds are small, there is dark wood accents with years upon years of dark paint spilling over the edges of the panes of glass in the windows. A small squeaky oscillating fan is mounted to the ceiling and moves the damp air around nicely for a bit of comfort. The only thing in the room that doesn’t fit is the 28″ flat screen TV chained to a small shelf in the corner of the room.

The sounds of the city of MiraFlores at night consist of nothing but the dull hum of the street lamps and an occasional cat fight on the tin roofs of the tightly packed buildings. The morning light arrives at 5:30 and the streets wake up to the bustle of cars, traffic cop whistles, impatient horns and the street vendors selling the fresh produce and catch of the day.


It is warm and muggy today, with a slight mist in the air. Our trip commences tonight with our CEO meeting us in the lobby. We have a “free” day today… What to do?


Part 2: Pisco Sours and Dirty Streets

We had a breakfast of bread and thee best damn coffee made on Earth! Back to the room with the normal get ready things which fortunately included a HOT shower and fluffy white towels. Put away everything of value and out the door for a “walk about town”.


In a country you are not familiar with there is a battle that arises between fit in and be safe but not look like a tourist. The things you see are so unfamiliar and yet hold a beauty of their own. You want to capture every moment with the camera, not necessarily the physical but the one of the mind. I only wish my mind had the memory of a camera.


We came upon a Central Park that was the home of at least 50 stray cats all lounging about. There was a circular pit that posed as the meeting point for college students, lovers, travelers, musicians and cats. We all sat around the pit and listened to the musicians sing and play, watched the lovers cuddle, petted the strays vying for whomever would give them a scratch, and the travelers and locals, faces planted I cell phones, share their deepest experiences with the unseen world around us…and a smaller world it is becoming.
Cultural Immersion

The Inka Trail: Day Minus One

As hard as it has been to shut up the brain the last few nights last night gave me a good night peaceful sleep. The trip ahead has a few things laid out on the line. #1, leaving the business to Kara and believing in her and our crew to pull this off. #2, can we pull this off?

Well honestly we don’t believe 7 business days will break us. Kara has been training for the last few months, intensely the last few weeks. She is ready but has a doubt about her abilities that we don’t share. She is very familiar with our business. How we do things, how our customers usually are and finally how the whole process works. Of course there is always the unknown and the hard to deal with customer. We have a great team!

Chris and I, of course, have some trepidation of our preparedness. Will we have the stamina to complete this journey? Not like we have another alternative. Have we thought of every last nuance of what is needed to complete such an epoch journey? “The proof is in the pudding” as the saying goes. We will be traveling into another hemisphere to answer this question, a crystal ball would be helpful.

Tonight we need a good night sleep. Not freak out about this or that. Make mental notes without solving world peace in our time made for sleeping. Tonight the journey begins.

Starlings in Flight

Out of the corner of my eye

Flying in black waves against the sky

Like an intricate dance

A troop of ballerinas by chance?

Carefully timed in motion

As they fly closer the commotion

Of a thousand starlings

Flitting this way and that

Soaring higher and higher

Swooping back towards the ground

A big black wave… round and round

Acrobatics in flight

Oh what a sight

Starlings on wing

 

 

 

The Daily Word Prompt : Murmuration

 

Spring… The Awakening

It has been a long winter this year. The bleak grays and sparkling white snow clash on the skyline in a fight for the short burst of sun. The outline of the barren trees etch patterns against the heavy clouds clinging to the mountain peaks. A cold wind blows and sends a chill through my body.  I awake each morning and pull on layer after layer… like a knight donning his armor for battle… only my battle is against the cold.

Like waking up from a long dream, I look outside one day and I see a hint of color… a green tinge to the mountain sides. I see birds flying overhead, landing in flocks on the wetlands. The small tender spring flowers are beginning to push through the once frozen ground. The snow clinging to the craggy peaks slowly retreats as the sun begins to march north… higher and higher each day…warming me to my very core.

The days begin to get longer and longer, warmer and warmer. The trees push small hard buds that crack open and expose their tiny leaves. The sun climbs higher and higher in the deep blue skies, pushing away the last cold gray clouds of winter. The ice on the lakes begin to retreat, releasing the stillness to the flow of creeks and streams.  Ripples of feeding fish awaken as they are released from the winters icy grasp.

Only a short time passes. The awakening of all life burst into beauty.  The trees, once stark lifeless patterns against the cold winter sky, now fill the skyline with lively colors dancing in the warm breezes of spring. The air fills with the sound of children playing, birds singing, and the clapping of leaves in the wind. The flowers burst into brilliant blooms as they stretch to be caressed by the warm sun. Spring is here.

Wishing on a Star

I wish to grow old gracefully. There are many women I look up to that are growing old gracefully. In their faces I can see the years… the life… the love for everyday they live.

I wish to travel the world and see all the sights there are to see.

I wish to live forever with my soul-mate and puppy. Settle down somewhere warm and calm… where old people aren’t ground up and spit out like the garbage.

Two Middle Aged Women Travel Alone

So I always ask myself… What’s the worst that could happen?  Next thing I know my mind is off on a nervous stream of random thoughts… and I promise they are not all good. There is always the flat tire in the middle of the desert while four wheeling, the blown hose when there is no service station or parts store within a hundred miles, being held up, car stolen by some rogue police men in a far away country… hell any of these things can and have happened right here in the US.

Some people think we are crazy! What on Earth are two middle aged women gonna do out there on the road, over-landing in “third world” countries… if something happens? I have never let my fears and nervous thoughts dictate where I am going to go, what I am going to take, what might happen to me. Quite the opposite. I let the fears keep me safe. I proceed with caution and good common sense. If I let the nervous jitters stop me I would never set foot outside my own house… hell maybe not even get out of bed.

Our plans for the end of this year are slowly gathering momentum and we are beginning to make lists, planing our financial well being, checking and double checking supplies. I spend at least an hour of everyday online, asking questions to those who are out there living the LIFE we only are dreaming of… gathering tid-bits on how to rig our Adventure Cruzer for over-landing… learning from others misfortunes. The best part is compiling the “BUCKET LIST”.

Everyday someone comes up to one of us and asks us if we are sure this is really what we want to do? The answer is simply, “yes or the stress is going to kill us”. Face it we are not getting any younger. The things we like to do take good health and strong bodies and time. Our life now is so stressful, we have so much “stuff”and so little time. We have been locked in the same career for over 25 years… it is time for a change.

Children of Ethiopia

One of the most memorable trips I have taken past was to Ethiopia. There have been few trips that have left such a mark on my inner most being. Aside from the level of poverty I witnessed, it was the simple joy that the children displayed in the face of such hardships.

My partner and I decided to join a Humanitarian group that was bringing aide to the Great Rift Valley village of Sheshamene. We brought medical aide, new baby packages, hygiene kits and items needed for fresh water filters.  There were twenty of us in the group including doctors and nurses, engineers and workers.

The drive through the Rift Valley was beautiful and aside from a small village of round mud huts and the procession of women walking along the side of the road with jugs of water on their heads, the abject poverty was not apparent. The road soon turned off and we were on our way to the village. The closer we got the more people we encountered… the children appeared out of the bush and ran along side the bus for the last mile smiling and yelling hello.

The next week we would be living in a makeshift tent village surrounded by armed guards and bramble bushes to keep out the hyenas and other nocturnal beasts that roamed the plains. We assisted the hundreds of villagers… some walking days to get medical aide from our doctors. We went into the village and built raised stoves with proper ventilation, helped them with drip irrigation, and showed them how to build clean water filters.

This trip changed my life forever.  It always amazes me that people can live in such conditions and still find something to smile about… something to live for.  The children and adults alike loved to swarm around us to get their pictures taken with our digital cameras and then would want to see their pictures in the small screen. The youngest children would walk with us and hold our hands and smile up at us with their big toothy grins. I saw things and experienced things that no person should ever see… things beyond our “fixing”.  It made me grateful for what we have… made me sad for the seriousness of these peoples short tortured lives.

 

via Daily Prompt: Swarm

In My Mind’s Eye

In my mind’s eye I can see all things

My brain may not interpret these things as real

My hands may not feel these things as solid

My feet may be unsure of where to step

My eyes may not see these clearly and in the right light

My tongue may not taste the fullness of the flavors

But in my mind’s eye all these things are alive

All these things exist in vivid colors, tastes, smells and flavors

It is the interpretation of all things around me

All things without prejudice

All things without outside influence

All things that are real to me

In my mind’s eye…

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via Daily Prompt: Vivid

Doubt

There is no bigger obstacle than doubt. If the mighty explorers of the past ever listened when their peers doubted them… we might all be living on a very small and overcrowded continent. Planes would not streak across our skies everyday. The moon might still be made of green cheese. We might all still be using oil lamps and yelling from mountain tops to get our messages out.

When I was young, people including myself had doubts I’d make it to my 21st birthday… say hello now to 54! My life has been full of doubts, mostly from those around me, and like those explorers, I took on those doubts as a personal challenge.

In my present life we are starting to sell off everything we own and planning our getaway. Doubt?! OMG our minds are full of doubt… and on some days we have to pinch ourselves and slap ourselves out of the funk surrounding this doubt. We have planned carefully. Never in 25 years together has anything that challenged us, not been surmounted, conquered and accomplished with a little faith and hard work. We live for our dreams… as dreams are our stepping stones into our futures.

Doubt can be healthy or a huge detriment. It depends on how you approach it. We all have a grand purpose in our lives… it’s in our DNAs. We can choose to let doubt run our life or we can choose to take it in stride and take little steps forward around it. Doubt is a thought, an opinion, but don’t let it become a lack of action or something so powerful that you’re life stops