Take a Chance to Travel

By Rachel Epperly

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If given the opportunity to go across the globe, would you take it? I got the opportunity to travel to Peru in the summer of 2017 and it has changed my whole view on traveling. Traveling to another country was so much different than I imagined it would be, and I learned some key factors that helped my experience go so smoothly in another country.

1. It won’t be as easy as you think.

Peru was a life changing experience, but it was also a workout on our bodies and minds. Peru is filled with high mountaintops and steep slopes to hike. Between the altitude and me not being in the best shape, hiking the mountains were the hardest part of the trip. The mountains of Virginia were nothing compared to the height of these. Just standing on the high mountain tops could make you out of breath.

Don’t be afraid to take your time as you go through these new experiences because you might’ve not been ready for how hard they actually are. Take your time, don’t get discouraged, and keep a good mindset as you go through the trip no matter what obstacles you face.

2. Your tour guide could impact your experience.

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When we got to Peru we had an awesome tour guide named “Jamie” who loved taking us to the best restaurants where we could hear music and have great food. Everywhere we went Jamie went with us with a smile and was enthusiastic throughout the whole trip.

Our tour guide impacted our trip in a positive way by informing and exciting us about the new places we were seeing and going to. With a negative energy during tours and sightseeing, the trip might not be as fun or enjoyable so make sure to read reviews and choose your tour guide wisely.

3. Who you go with could affect the outcome of your trip.

I had a lot of great memories and laughs on the trip because fortunately I got to go with some of my best friends. Even before we left the airport out of Roanoke Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Jones, and Mrs. Williams were all as eager as we were to see and learn about the peruvian cultures and geography.

Surrounding you are people that could impact your trip in a positive or negative way. Some people are more open to trying new things than others. If you get to choose who goes with you on a once in a lifetime trip choose someone that will be outgoing and open to anything that comes your way.

4. Step out of your comfort zone.

One of the main things we did in Peru was hiking. We hiked up the mountain to Machu Picchu, the Incan Trail, and other smaller sites. These hikes were so much higher and unsafe than we realized. One morning, we hiked the Incan Trail. Being only 8 foot wide and thousands of feet up in the air, it was terrifying. Jamie took us through the trails and hand made bridges that the Incan’s used to travel on. We were walking on the 8 foot wide path and just looking at the gorgeous views when we realized how lucky we were that we got to hold a rope so that we didn’t have to share the same unsafe experience as some of them did.

These experiences were definitely not in any of our comfort zones, but they were all well worth the chances and fears we faced. Sometimes you have to break through what you are comfortable with and go out on the limb and try new, heartracing things.

5. The beauty of the new place will be like nothing you have seen before.

Traveling will show you the true beauty of this world like no other. In one of our last days in Peru we took on a sunrise hike to the top of Machu Picchu. After a lot of breaks to sit down and catch our breath we finally made it to the top. At an elevation of 9,000 feet we watched as the sun came over the points of the mountaintops where we were standing. For the first time in that trip our whole group was silent and breath taken by the view around us. As we looked around we all realized just how small we were and how beautiful the earth truly is. Surrounding us were enormous mountains bigger than anything we’d ever seen before, a river cutting through them, and below us a civilization where hundreds of years before was booming with people living their everyday lives. Sitting there in silence to take in the true beauty of nature had to be the best part of the trip.

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By traveling to new places you will get to experience so many new things and cultures that you wouldn’t have before and maybe get the chance to realize the true beauty of the earth. Whether it be going to a city or a mountain top, the views will all be unique in their own ways.

Peru was a once in a lifetime experience full of awesome people, a really sweet tour guide, and breathtaking views. If you get the chance to travel anywhere take it and keep your mind open to the new experiences and opportunities that may come while doing so.