Travel – it’s a chance to explore, to learn, to expand your horizons, to try new things and meet people vastly different from yourself. It spawns not only new ideas but entirely new ways of thinking about the world; a new perspective, a new dimension to your persona. Which you can then share, and that’s exactly what helium’s art director Ryan is doing in this post. Sharing an amazing experience he and Chris had while traveling in Peru.
Machu Picchu is one of those places I heard people talk about, but it always seemed like some mystical, far away land.
Until suddenly I’m standing on the World Wonder overlooking a sea of green mountains that seem as endless as the library of photos I took.
Yeah it really is that awesome.
And while I may not be a nature kinda guy, there’s a slight possibility I got a little teary eyed.
Ok I did.
I teared up like a baby.
Step back to the day we landed in Peru; Chris, myself and our two friends. After a 2am flight from Miami to Cusco and many, many, many cocoa leaves, we arrived at our lodge exhausted and ridiculously excited. A little eco resort nestled within the mountains of the Sacred Valley. It looked like something from a movie. Like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. That one. Harrison Ford was not included on this adventure, though.
We arranged a three-hour ceremony with two shamans. They did a cocoa leaf reading, cleansed our spirits, burned offerings to Pacha Mama [Mother Earth] over a fire, and beat us with a bouquet of flowers.
It was awesome. Seriously. Check out these photos – like some National Geographic kinda stuff.
The following day was Machu Picchu. Quite honestly, there are no words. Photos attempt to offer a glimpse, but you just need to go see it.
I’ve always found inspiration wherever I travel by looking at old posters, graffiti, signage. But Peru offered moment after moment of breathtaking landscapes that overshadowed all design work.
The natural inspiration was, well, inspiring.
People warned about the altitude in Peru. But I’m a Florida boy, sea level is my only comprehension of altitude. So once we began climbing ruins and mountains, I quickly learned the exciting woes of high altitude. For anyone who is like me and has no clue what it feels like, I equate the feeling to having just run a marathon. That last half-mile where you’re gasping for air, but keep moving forward. That’s how it felt as we walked up every step. One point we were 12,000ft above sea level and the view was incredible. Overlooking a region called Pisac, we climbed to the top of an Incan archeological site. Absolutely worth the near pass-out moments.
Visiting market squares, meeting native people dressed in traditional garb, eating authentic Peruvian cuisine all added to an incredible experience.
On our last day, the four of us took an ATV tour through the region.
Speeding over 50 miles per hour amidst golden valleys, snow-capped mountains, and ancient ruins. I guess the best word to describe it all is –
One of those times when you keep thinking there is no way it will get more beautiful.
And then it does.
Again and again.
We drove the ATVs up a mountain and parked at the top. I say mountain, but it was really a giant hill compared to the massive mountains that surrounded us. The prehistoric structures that reached beyond the clouds, painted with pure white snow at their peaks. Mountain after mountain until all you can see is the vague haze of silhouettes in the distance. This Florida boy was wide-eyed.
I could keep going. I could tell you about the various types of food. About the interesting people we met. The vibrant colors that saturated their clothing, markets, and land. The desolate village that looked like something out of a textbook. The animals we befriended. Well, the animals that Chris befriended. Minus a llama that spit and kicked him in the leg. Ouch.
But I’d so much rather share the photos.
Anyway, go to Peru asap. And if you do, take me please.
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