Ahhhhh, hey readers! It’s been a very long time, so let me just jump right into it.
So, toward the end of November/beginning of December, I was going through a lot of small changes. Those small changes kind of piled up into one big anxiety ball, barreling down the hill ready to crash into my…life. I was trying to make a lot of decisions at once and felt like I was trying to force things because I was “supposed” to do this and “supposed” to do that. I figured if I had enough will, I could make everything happen exactly the way I wanted it to. (Eventually, I learned that that isn’t the case at all. But we will get to that at the end of the blog). In the middle of this raging, rolling anxiety snowball, I decided to book a random trip to Cusco, Peru, where I would hike one of the many parts of the Inka Trail and see Machu Picchu. I literally booked the trip at 1am, and was on my way three weeks later to spend Christmas in Peru.
Now listen, hiking and camping for three days in fine. But being with myself for that long (I ended up meeting other solo travelers on the hike, but otherwise I traveled alone) was a whole other challenge. There is no distraction when you are walking 4 days up and down the Andes Mountains. So I was nervous. I also foolishly thought I was going to have this amazing epiphany and life changing “Ah ha” moment. Well, neither one of those things happened. What did happen though, is that I met some amazing people on this trip. It takes all types to make the world go round, and I think on this trip, I met most of the types. I met a lovely, healing soul from Switzerland. I met a lady who’s very similar to me, but older and wiser, from London. I met a passionate Asian American teacher with beautiful insight from Seattle. I met some people with very little cultural common sense. I met Peruvians who’ve had amazing experiences and stories that most Peruvians don’t get. I also met some farmers and families who are making the most of what they had, and never hesitated to share a smile or a “hi miss lady” whenever they saw me. Talk about a humbling experience.
Likewise, I was also very much living in each moment while hiking. I was so grateful for my legs. Just a year ago, I was on crutches and couldn’t walk for 2 months. I was grateful for my health and my fitness. Hiking those trails is not for the faint of heart…literally. I was grateful for having the opportunity, especially as a black woman, to travel like this. I was grateful that I found God and was able to experience things that he’d made for us.
I completed an amazing challenge and saw another one of the 7 wonders of the world: Machu Picchu. Words cannot put to justice the views and breathtaking moments while on that hike. I can only hope and pray that whoever is reading this is fortunate enough to see and experience this hike and these views for themselves. The camping was amazing, the porters and cooks were exceptional, the guides were lovely humans and super knowledgable, and the whole experience all 4450meters of it, was absolutely phenomenal.
Post hike, after my celebration beer and a long shower, I had a moment of ungratefulness. I started to think about the end of the trip, me leaving, and the “problems” I still had to deal with at home (I say “problems” because nothing was or is ever that bad, but perception is a game changer, friends). However much I enjoyed the trip in its entirety, I could not help feeling a little disappointed that I didn’t have this major moment or realization atop this mountain in Peru. Like come on, I thought this was going to be all Eat, Pray, Love or whatever. And Unfortunately, I took this energy back home with me to start the first days of the new year. Brought in 2020 with an ungrateful attitude, I won’t even lie.
I had a day to be disappointed that I was back home in my “mess” and spent December 31st and January 1st missing the ease and fun and joy of Peru. And then it hit me. I realized, I had so much fun because I didn’t really have to make decisions. I did what I felt like doing. I said what I felt like saying. On the hike, if I needed a break, I gave my body a break. If I wanted to go faster or ahead of everyone (which I did often) then I let myself do that. When we were in the town, I walked around alone, shopped alone, and also did those things with people of my choosing. Long story short, I didn’t force anything. And then I realized on the second day of January, that my resolution…or really the solution, was that I just needed to not make too many decisions; I needed to stop forcing things and let things play out the way they are going top play out. But most importantly, I realized that I am my most beautiful self when I am authentic and take care of myself. When I give myself space and rest. I remembered all the gratitude that I’d while hiking and realized I could still have that gratitude back home (Duh, right!? I know, guys, I know).
So that’s exactly what I decided to do. But not just this year, for the remainder of my days. So far, so good. I feel really good and it feels really sustainable. I am not as stressed out about other people and other things outside of myself. This is not to say that I am stress free, but the management of stress and anxiety is far easier to handle than it was before with this change in mindset. Also, I’m just going to slide this into this blog post… ITS BEEN A YEAR SINCE I LAST SELF INJURED!
Sometimes, taking a trip is exactly what you need. Sometimes, a mindset shift is what you need. Sometimes you need both. You choose.
This is my story, this is my journey.
Until next time,