20 September 2008

Finally! I have returned back from Peru!


Come estas?

For those that know, I've been away for quite awhile. 3 weeks to be exact in the lovely country of Peru. I actually returned the late monday evening of Sept 15, but I wanted to take some time to reflect upon my adventure-vacation-journey before actually creating this post.

So why Peru? Why not? With most of my friends choosing "common" destinations such Thailand, India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Europe, I would be the first amoung my group to visit Peru. One can do all the research online or though books and travel brochures, but it would only give you a slight idea on grand and beautiful this country is with so much things to do.

For this trip, I went with a new company called PlanIt Adventure. Considering that the description called for many activities, I guess it was fate that I found this poster after my workout at Club Fit. At the same time, I was going through the phase of "Where should I go this year for my vacation that's not in Canada or the U.S. this time around?" Funny how things just work out.

I wasn't completely sold on Peru as I wanted to keep my options open, such as the common destinations within Europe. So I called Cole, the owner-operator of PlanIt Adventure (might I also mention, yoga instructor - so guess what we did a lot of during the trip!), to get a better idea of what this trip entails. So after a couple of phone calls and e-mails, I finally met up with Cole to sell me on this trip. It didn't take too long to get along and feel his passion and excitement when he described the places that he has been to and where we'd be going to within Peru - on top of the activities we'd be doing i.e. 3 day trek along an inca trail, white water rafting, mountain biking, kite surfing, horseback riding, fishing along the amazon, canopy walking.. as you can see, it didn't take too long to sell me on this trip after hearing it straight from Cole!

I didn't go with anyone I know on this trip, seeing that most of my friends have their own vacation plans and ideas on where to go, on top of our own financial commitments. I just saw this as an opportunity to do my own thing, travel outside north america for a change (it's been about 4 years since I went somewhere abroad) and meet new people. And considering that I would be traveling for 3 weeks with the same group of people, we're either going to know each other well and get along or this will be a very long trip. Survivor/Big Brother anyone? Luckily the group that I met and travelled with in Peru, who are also from in and around the Edmonton area, are a bunch of great people - so this made the trip an enjoyable one.

Additionally, I met a lot of other people from far and wide who were on the same journey as us, or at least had the same main places to visit. Met some great folks from the Netherlands, Australia, London, Mexico as well as some from the US and Canada. There are times that I'm glad there are interactive community sites such as facebook as we were able to exchange e-mails, contact information and keep in touch with each other's journey in Peru and anywhere else they went.

I don't know if there's enough words for me to describe on how spectacular and eye opening this trip was. As much as I've written so far, there are still tons of stories to share as this blog is merely scratching the surface as I've still yet to describe the visiting of the Amazon rainforest in Iquitos to check out an authentic tribe as well as build a playground for one of the local schools,in addition to hanging out at the sandy beaches of Mancora. Those that I've spoken to since I returned can still see the excitement in my eyes and expression whenever I recall some of the happenings of my trip. This takes me back to when I met up with Cole for the first time and having him describe his experiences to me. If you would like to find out more about this trip and are in the local area, I would gladly meet with you over a coffee/tea to discuss further of what I did and what to bring.

Overall, this was everything a vacation should be (well, for me anyways since I'm not one to lounge around for extended periods of time). It wouldn't be far fetched to say that this was one of my best vacations EVER! There were many a times I didn't even know what day it was as I got away from my structured schedule, and severed myself from being connected to the internet. We just took things day by day for the past 3 weeks, and for the most part, it worked out great and wouldn't have it any other way.

That being said, it didn't truly hit me that I was going home until I was already on my connecting flight from Miami to Dallas. "Was I really in Peru less that 12 hours ago and hamming it up with my group?" It hit me even more while in the air from Dallas to Seattle "Can this plane go any faster? I have friends and family to catch up with! I want to take a warm shower at home! I want to sleep in my own bed!"

Seriously, I had a whole range of mixed emotions go through my head on my way home: excited to go home, but somewhat sad that the vacation was over. It's almost like watching the last installment of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King in the theatres and realizing: this storyline took up 3 years of my life every December. What am I going to do next December? What am I going to do to fill this void that I'm somewhat feeling?

This was why I didn't blog about this right away!

But as one would say, "All good things must come to an end." I'm finally back home to share my experiences with my friends and families, let alone get caught up with life back home and fulfill my responsibilities. Maybe, and perhaps hopefully, I can convince others to visit Peru through PlanIt Adventure so that they too can enjoy the experience I just had.

And in case you're wondering: pictures to come shortly!

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