We all read how Elizabeth Gilbert got over her divorce with a trip to three unique places – she ate in Italy, prayed in India, and fell in love in Indonesia. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t find her trip of self discovery a little whiney and privileged when I first read her non-fiction book, Eat, Pray, Love. At the time I thought, who the heck do you think you are telling us that you reached full enlightenment with mosquitos buzzing around you?! Oh, you gained a few pounds in Italy? You are 100 pounds soaking wet, bitch, it doesn’t count.
However, I now have a different viewpoint of Gilbert’s trip around the world. While I still think she is a wildly self-absorbed writer, I understand her need to get away by herself to rise above her life slump. I had a life slump of my own. Cancer at 31 will put a damper on plans and experiences. So, as soon as I got the all clear from my doctor as well as clean scans I turned to what I love most to get my head back into the life game, solo travel.
I chose Peru really because I was dating a guy who had a friend getting married at the end of January and had asked me to be his plus one. Looking back, it wasn’t really a direct ask, more of a subtle possibility, but I ploughed through the subtly and started to plan a month-long journey around Peru. Machu Picchu, ceviche, llamas…and that was about all I knew of the country. But I was determined to travel and meet Nico in Lima at the end for the wedding. Needless to say, subtle boyfriend broke up with me (man, 2019 was a bitch) and I was left with a semi-empty trip to Peru.
Wallowing in a broken heart and a mending body, I started to plan. I planned and planned and planned and the more I looked at the magnificent country, the more I got excited about my solo trip. Machu Picchu was just the beginning. There were glacial lagoons and sand dunes and floating islands and penguins! Not to mention, two of the top 50 best restaurants in the world are in Lima. Then my trip started to take on a theme, I was going to Trek great mountains, Eat incredible and strange food, and Discover who I am – as a single woman, as a cancer survivor, as a world traveler. I want to fall in love with me again. The me who moved to the other end of the world for a new adventure. The me who decided that self was more important than career. The me who never needed a defining relationship of any kind because there were always cool people waiting to be met at hostels. The me who wasn’t sick. However, this old me needs to meet up with the new me who did have a battle with her body, who fell in love and out again, and who became scared and annoyed by talking to strangers. This trip is about falling in love with my body, my determination, my bravery, and my new intro/extroverted self. This trip is about discovering my love for adventure, even when altitudes are high and the water is poison. There are parts of this trip that will be lonely. There are parts that will be difficult and challenging. There are parts that will be 100% out of my comfort zone. But when I make my way back to Montevideo, I am hoping that all of these parts will make me whole again.
Cusco – Jan 1- Jan 8 (Rainbow mountain, Maras and Moray, Lago Mountain, Machu Picchu)
Puno and Lake Tikicaca – Jan 9-11 (homestay on a floating island)
Arequipa – Jan 12-16 (Trek Coloca Canyon)
Nazca – Jan 16-17 (Nazca Lines)
Huacachina – Jan 17-19 (Dunes and Oasis)
Paracas – Jan 19-21 (Ballestas Island and National Park)
Lima – Jan 21-25 (Dinner at Central and Maido, Ceviche cooking class, and much more!)