Posts Tagged With: Machu Picchu

It went all over my shoes

In 3 years of traveling, I’ve only gotten what some would consider “sick” just a handful of times. No more than if I were at home living a day to day routine. With that said, here’s a short story that sent my happy trails on a little detour.

It was the beginning year of my backpacking and my first trip to Peru. I had met a sweet young Dutch couple while studying in Argentina that decided to link up with me for a Machu Picchu adventure.

If you’d like an entertaining read with several pictures check out the entire 3 day journey here.

Here are a few photos from that memorable experience.

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2015/01/img_3241.jpg We had completed out trek with an amazing day exploring the grounds of the ancient Incas. Making it back to the main city of Aguascalientes, I was beginning to feel a little uneasy. Nothing major, but just enough ache in my tummy to want to lay down as my friends left to grab dinner. Food was the last of my desires. The hostel we had slept at allowed me to bundle up in the employees room to recoup before our long train ride home to Cusco. Simon and Ashgan (the two kind smiles at the bottom of the page) said we had three hours before our train departed and they’d come wake me up when it was time to go.

I closed my eyes for what seemed like a minute before the door swung open to reveal both of my friends frantically picking up our bags. “We read the tickets wrong and we have to go now or we’ll miss the train!”

Imagine, you can barely move your head without the feeling of Mr.Nasuea knocking at your door and now it’s time to sprint through unevenly paved streets while lugging a 50lb backpack over your hunched shoulders that are protecting your cramping stomach. Oh joy.

I only made it a few steps before Simon (my Dutch Superhero of the day) clearly read my agony and lifted the bag from my back. I was now able to keep up with the two of them as we hustled down the steep hills and tight turns. You’d think that a sense of relief would come over me as I saw the station, but at this point I knew that poor Peru was going to see what I had for breakfast.

I hollered at them to keep going in order to check us in as I took a hard right into a lonely ally. Plug your ears as you read on to find that this type of vomit was far from what I would describe as danty or sickly. Words that come to mind are violent, uncontrollable and…. All over my shoes.

I gathered myself knowing that the train wouldn’t wait for the extra pale-faced chica to catch up. I spotted my buddies who now had our boarding passes, all of our bags and the look of two concerned parents. I actually felt better, so with high hopes I assumed it was a one-time kind of deal and that the train would be more restful than anything. I was wrong.

We snagged a table booth next to the window and got settled in.

Let’s pause for a moment and talk about this “train”. Please do not imagine a high speed European railway or the popular US Amtrak, oh no no no. This was an ancient line of connecting boxes that reminded me of a daunting Disney ride. Looking back, it was actually really neat, but at the moment it seemed like a legal form of torture. This tiny beast rocked back and forth as if to struggle finding balance between one side of the tracks to the other. Clickity clack, clickity clack, clickity clack…

So the “train”, now in full motion, did nothing to my body except create a movement that encouraged another round of losing whatever may have been left in my guts. I excused myself from the table to find the nearest toilet.

“Pardone, ¿dónde está el baño? Pronto por favor!”

The petite Peruvian woman, dressed in professional attire with a gentle smile pointed to an occupied closet. It was locked. I returned to meet eyes with her and clarified why I needed it… Now! Not understanding my broken sickly Spanish she just kept pointing to the door behind me.

Have you ever drawn a blank while trying to remember a certain word? Especially in another language? I could not think of “bag” or “bucket” or anything for that matter, so I proceeded to take the charades route and made motions of puking while gripping my stomach.

Seriously friends, visualize that one for a minute.

I continued to signal for any type of container and with sympathy, she just shrugged her shoulders. Swallowing (literally) with all of my strength to keep it down, I rushed back to my seat and dug through my backpack to find the stash of plastic bags I always keep on the road. Not wanting to provide a show for the fellow passengers, I swayed back and forth to the end of the car and kneeled down. I opened the bag and at that very moment, my body could no longer keep it in.

So there I was, curled in the corner for all the train to endure as this poor girl emptied her insides into a plastic bag with “Muchas Gracias” printed on the side.

I finally reached a point in which I felt settled enough to go back to my seat. I stood up slowly looking down at my bag full of, ummm substance…. What was I ever going to do with this? After unsuccessfully looking for an employee that could point me to a bin, I had nowhere else to turn except a cart that carried all of the snacks and drinks. That’s it! I saw a symbol that appeared to be for “trash” on top of what resembled a waste compartment. Weak and tired, I still had the right mind to look inside first to confirm that it wasn’t where they stored the complimentary cookies. It was empty. I placed my bag inside with an internal (guilt driven) apology to the poor person who had to find it.

I proceeded to drag myself back to the booth, plop down and fall asleep.

I’d love to finish this story in great detail, but the only thing next in my memory was slowly opening my eyes. Relieved to not feel my stomach at my throat, I looked around placing myself in the bottom bunk bed, in the room of our original Cusco hostel. Next to my bed was a box of saltine crackers, a ginger soda and a pack of gum. My dear friends had carried my belongings back, tucked me in and provided just what I needed upon awakening. I’m so grateful for Simon and Ashgan for their selfless act in nourishing me to health and safety. Much love to you my friends!

2015/01/img_3235.jpg Side note update: Since that journey, I’ve traveled to Holland and have been able to reconnect with these two and their families! What a grand, beautiful world we live in.

Categories: Not-so-happy trails, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Part three of 2013

Part One and Part 2 did so well, I thought I’d bring an additional light-hearted post to wrap up what was yet another amazing year on the road. Lets just jump right into it!

Anything with a wheel honorable mentions:

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The runner up is a quirky little mobile that you should not be surprised that I found in Amsterdam. I’ve always loved the Dutch!

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And the winner is… a row of taxi’s that made for an excellent photo in Hoi An, Vietnam. I really enjoy the overall feeling of this picture, from the narrow angle to the smirk on the drivers face. It simply makes me smile.

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Creative carriages (or anything with wheels carrying cargo) honorable mentions:

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The runner up ranked high on my list due to the productive idea and the fresh goods that comes with it. My favorite food delivered from the farm right to my hands? Sign me up Santa Catalina, Panama!

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And the winner is… these guys! I like this photo because of the busy energy and the variety of actions that are happening. From cell phone use (he must get great service up there) to a few jumping on and off, this moving vehicle was a quality shot!

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Culture me this honorable mentions:

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After debating on the list and staring at these photos for way too long, it dawned on me that this is my list and I can do whatever I want (what a relief!). With that said, here are several “runners up” because this world is magical and I didn’t want to pick a winner. So there.

A gorgeous walk along the the river to a local market, all in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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The sky scraping cathedral in Cologne, Germany… What a climb!

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The unexplainable rocks of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

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The amazing lost city known as Machu Picchu in Peru will forever rank high in my most memorable journeys. It’s not an easy tour or quick museum visit, the entire trip start to finish makes it what it is.

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Categories: Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Top photos of 2013 – Part One

Time to reflect on the past year of traveling and give you my top picks for photos that I’ve placed in randomly themed categories.
After spending entirely too much time (that I thoroughly enjoyed) narrowing down from 18,000 pictures, here are the first 4 categories from 2013.

For Best facial expression, the honorable mentions are:

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The runner up is an entertaining shot from the base city of Aguascalientes, Peru. I don’t think we could ever capture this quality picture with all of its magnificent imperfections again. Well done Friends!

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…and the winner is my dear mother in response to the spider and mosquito filled room that we were staying in while volunteering in El Salvador. My personal favorite part of her reaction is the five finger spread. Thanks for being a trooper mom!

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Happy face honorable mentions:

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… and the winner is sweet Carina! She’s my German friend that I met years ago at Oktoberfest and recently got to reunite with in Costa Rica. This picture was taken directly after seeing her first monkey in real life (he’s the dark ball of animal in the background). We had been intently looking for days, so to capture this very moment was priceless. Her sincere excitement still remains a fond memory in my journey!

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Tastiest treat in a bowl honorable mentions:

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The runner up is a duo that I accidentally fell upon in Cambodia. Curious of the flavors, I ended up trying both and returning frequently to enjoy!

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…and the winner is the one and only sweet egg soup that Bree and I devoured every night until our departure.

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The Action photo honorable mentions are:

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The runner up is my energetic partner in island crime, Ryan from Barbados! Just give him anything to jump off of and he’s airborne within minutes. With his colorful style to match the vibrant water, this makes for a great action image!

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…and the winner is the unforgettable power shot taken at the top of Machu Picchu!

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I’ll close this post with my favorite photo of 2014 so far. Happy New Year!

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Categories: Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aguascalientes… more than just hot water

After the memory filled days of exploring Machu Picchu, the boys took the long route and made it up even higher as Ann and I skipped the bus ride and walked back to Aguascalientes.

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One of the outstanding features of this city, is how it sits hillside with a beautiful river running through it.

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Even though it is fully stocked with several gift shops, craft markets and tienda’s, we went for the group effort and indulged in a game of “table hopping”.

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This pleasant pause was with a local woman behind a card table, whom I believe was fully impressed with our enthusiasm for her amazing stuffed peppers and veggie potato snacks!

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Not only did we find Jenga at this pit stop, we found one of the last empty blocks to make our mark!

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Wrapping up our self entertaining excursion, we boarded a train to connect us to a bus, that finally dropped us off back for the walk to our hostel.

Tomorrow, the markets and inner streets of one of my favorite cities in South America… Cusco!

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Jump kick in Machu Picchu

Last year, I wrote about some secret tips that were given to me by a local. My promise still stands, if you’re ever going to make experience the sacred city, please write me and I’ll gladly expose a few hints that will enhance your journey! Until then, the secret remains amongst them who have made the trek with me.

4:00am- Alarm sounds to an already awake room of travelers.
4:30- Showered, packed and ready to leave.
5:00- Lined up at the first bus to depart!

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5:30- Bus ride in the dark to the base of the city.

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6:00am- Whats this? We’re the first people in line to enter the sacred city!

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The next 20 minutes is to remain undocumented for the strength of the “secret”… but here is one photo along the way before reaching our lookout point.

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Once arriving, the fog acted like a curtain that requested patience as it protected the artwork we all came to see. We took advantage of this moment with a few fun photos!

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Layer by layer, the curtains gracefully lifted as the masterpiece was revealed.

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On the way down into the city, I realized that I wanted to mix up the handstand photo from last year . How amazing are my friends? They patiently waited as I ran into the empty field (that was apparently off limits) and snagged the picture. Can you spot me?

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Time to head in and explore the walls that make up this mystical place.

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A happy picnic break to take it all in as we watched the herd of people (who slept in) make their way towards us.

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Between the four of us and our enthusiasm for fun pictures, it was hard to pass up any of the next photos!

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Here’s the classic pose and snap shots taken before our final hike down the trail.

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A sincere thanks to my new friends Colin and Ann for the incredible partnership and enthusiasm towards this remarkable journey. Hayden, you blindly booked a flight with the trust in me to make it happen… I’m honored for your company on this priceless journey as you enhanced the experience for all of us!

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Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are we supposed to go through that dark tunnel?

Last year, I started my Machu Picchu post with what’s written below.

“I feel a huge challenge trying to describe through words and photos the magnitude of energy and massive beauty that this place holds. If Machu Piccu has been on your “list” or this page intrigues you whatsoever, please remember:

YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN… SO DO IT!

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Before I begin sharing this priceless journey, if you haven’t read last years trek to Machu Picchu, you can do so at Machu Picchu link or The trek link. It has a more descriptive message of the actual route and facts that come with it. This year, it’s all about the friends and the adventure!

Living on the road has brought many new perspectives into my life as well as more than a few unexpected lessons that I plan on carrying forward. Lets be aware of how easy it is to live in “auto pilot” and go through day to day almost in a programmed sense, passing the garden without “smelling the roses” as they say. Ive grown to appreciate all situations in what they have to offer and am constantly reminding myself to be “in the moment”. Today…right now… This is my life.

With that said, I’m going to break up the Machu Picchu adventure into a few different posts, as the entire journey was special start to finish.

Hayden and I met as kids trying to balance homework and a social life while growing up in the small town of Folsom, California. Now, 17 years later, I get to pick up my dear friend from the Cusco airport as we have plans to hike Machu Picchu with Ann and Colin!

Let’s begin with the morning departure from our Hostel in Cusco. The four of us had reserved the bus to pick us up at 7:45 for the 5 hour ride to the base of our walk towards Aguascalientes. 9:00 rolls around and instead of a bus, we got a woman with her child that said “follow me”…. And so it began.

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We made a few turns to find a decent van stocked with two drivers, empty seats and a woman urging us to get in quickly, “Vamanos!”.

All smiles as we’re finally on the road towards one of the seven wonders of the world.

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The first pit stop is in the open country side of Ollantaytambo for a leg stretch, optional snack and a handstand of course!

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Even though this bathroom brought a tiny challenge of it’s own, it’s luxury compared to last year!

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Back into the van, I capture us still smiling (for now) as we have new sights along the way.
More than just mountains and clouds, you’ll see several animals and even cyclist who are making me feel slightly guilty of my sore bum.

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As we continue the climb up in elevation, you can begin to see the clouds roll in and take over the passage. This is almost a relief due to the unprotected cliff side that so gratiously accompanied the one way road. Each time another vehicle would approach head on, one of us would have to hug the mountain side in order for the other to safely pass. Not fun.

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See that tiny little bridge behind us with no guard rail? What you don’t see is that it’s barely suspended above thousands of feet of pure straight cliff side. What you don’t hear is us all gasping for air when the back tire didn’t catch on the tracks… Stomach, please return to your appropriate location and heart rate, it’s necessary for you to regulate again for the future of my journey.

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Arriving to Hydro Electronica means we get to stop for a quick break before we start our way by foot towards Machu Picchu. A toast, a few fun pics and the adventure continues!

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Find the tracks, find a four legged friend and keep on trekking!

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Three attempts to get us all in one photo… Fail.

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Awesomely awkward shot of all of us… Success!

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Finishing up the first hour brings more smiles and more more train tracks.

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From a distance we could here the tracks in use as the train blared it’s horn. We accepted this as a challenge to not only race the speeding beast, but snag a few cool photos too!

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Due to our relaxed pace, the walk took a bit longer than the average “trek”, but we were definitely ok with that. Considering the amazing conversation, great photo oportunities and the memories that came with it, I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

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The sun is sinking and adds one more fun element to our already exciting expedition!

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Arriving at night we head directly to get our tickets as the morning will only provide a 4am alarm and a line to depart by 5.

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Next step… Machu Picchu!

Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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