As we rapidly approach the new year, 2017 has been the most incredible rollercoaster of experiences, feelings and adventures that will be hard to beat in 2018. I thought I would share some of my highlights from this crazy trip so far.
10. Holding Dynamite
Because, where else are you ever going to handle real dynamite?
- The UV party in Cusco
Only because, I don’t think I’ve ever partied THAT hard before. I can’t remember much but I know I got the bed at about 8am in the morning. Enough said.
- Valley de La Luna – Atacama Desert
This surreal landscape just beggars belief – it’s like being in a Star Wars film.
- Pucón & climbing the Villarica Volcano
I’ve raved about Pucón to practically every traveller who would listen, and sent many South to go visit for themselves. While volcano was special, I loved every one of the activities I did in this spectacular little corner of Chile.
- Llama’s & Alpaca’s
It literally never stops to be entertaining to see them, feed them, chase them, take selfies with them and just watch them in their habitat. What strange but hilarious creatures they are.
- Christmas eve in Arequipa (the fireworks)
A feeling and a night that just can’t be put into words, and I won’t even try. I have just never seen anything like this.
- The Markets
Literally all the markets here in South America; the sights, smells, the colours, the variety, the juices & of course the hedonistic mass of people selling & bartering everywhere you look. I could wander around all the markets for hours; these places are the heartbeat of a city, a great macrocosm of activity and life.
- Steak in Argentina
The best steak/meal in the world accompanied by some of the finest red wines, a pairing made in heaven. I am still dreaming about it to this day.
- The Perito Moreno Glacier
The sheer grandeur and awesome power of this glacier will forever stand out in my mind. Watching one of nature’s biggest spectacles dump house size icebergs into the water is beyond incredible.
- Inca trail
I hesitate to list this as the biggest highlight of my trip, because I’ve had many varied and amazing experiences which are un-comparable. However, that said, this far outweighed any and all expectations I had. While it’s been a bucket list item for many years, I wondered whether it’s reputation would live up to reality. But man alive, the hype is justified.
It’s oft said that it is not the destination which is important, but the journey that matters. And winding and weaving your way through the Andean Mountains, discovering Inca ruins underneath thick canopies and views that stretch for miles across the green adorned peaks, valleys, sheer cliffs, jungle and the waterfalls and rivers snaking their way through them all, it’s easy to see why. While Macchu Picchu may be the crown jewel of Cusco (and arguably Peru), in my opinion those who venture there on their air-conditioned trains and busses are seriously missing out on the main treasure along this ancient voyage of the Inca’s.
(and yes, Dead Woman’s Pass makes you wonder what sadomasochist part of yourself convinced you to sign up for this trek in the first place.)
These are just snippets after 4 months on the road, and I could have easily made the list twice as long. However, many of my adventures have already been documented in a great amount of detail (short summaries not being my strong suit) and need not be included again. I am only going to add 1 more, which does not befit the list above;
All of you have made this trip what it is so far; I have laughed, cried, been included, excluded, embraced, supported, stimulated, raised up, counselled, been loved, hurt and mostly completely humbled by the companionship and love found in strangers. I have shared in your amazing stories, your hopes and dreams as well as your fears and anxieties. We’ve watched sunsets, sped across deserts and mountains, been drunk/high/cold/wet/burnt/miserable/captivated & awe-inspired, but all shared in the appreciation of this amazing continent.
New years resolution – continue this voyage without apprehensions and see where it leads. But for now I am spending New Years in Lima and going on a purging/detoxing drug induced Ayahuasca retreat in the New year (say whaaaaaaaat?!).
See you 2017, it’s been an absolute blast & thank you to everyone who contributed to such an amazing year (and has read my blog/endured my drivel).