A couple days ago, a reader asked me what you think about when you’re wandering the wondrous Inca ruins of Peru. The question gave me pause, and I decided to respond in a blog post rather than as a comment.
It’s not an easy question to ask, and I’m sure the answer isn’t the same for everybody. There are certainly people who go to places like Choquequirao and Machu Picchu just so they can snap a quick photo for their Facebook profile, and then they spin on their heel and walk away. I guess it’s not fair to be critical of people like that, their actions just represent a willingness to seek out and then discard new experiences.
I’m different than they are though, I like to try to experience a place. However, that takes a concerted effort of concentration. You can’t just walk into Machu Picchu or Choquequirao and “get it”–and in saying that I’m not sure that I have “gotten it” yet. But I do make an effort to absorb the ambiance of the place.
First off, Choquequirao feels much different than Machu Picchu. These days, Machu Picchu is super commercial. There are people everywhere and every time they come prancing along, chattering away or playing angry birds on their cell phone, it pulls you out of the moment.
At Choquequirao you can actually be by yourself a little bit, it’s like riding an uninterrupted wave. The key is to just lean back, relax, and see where it takes you.
There’s also a certain element of glee that you get just from being up there. It’s similar to the excitement I used to feel when I went to Disneyland when I was very young. You’re just giddy (or at least I am). It’s pure joy to look around and explore. It’s one of those places that allows you to completely forget about all the money it cost you to get there.
So, I think the trick is to embrace the place but not try to force it too much. When you’re standing there in the ruins, something will happen and you won’t want to leave. It’s fun to wander in that feeling for a while…as long as you can make it last actually.
For those of you who haven’t already, make sure you do me a favor a pick up my books Beyond Birkie Fever and The Bone Sword over at the Rhemalda Bookshop! If you happen to write a review somewhere, please let me know! Also, add Birkie and Bone Sword to your cart on Amazon.com!