Back in Cusco
We arrived back in Cusco on Saturday night. The plan was, the gang would leave for Machu Picchu on Tuesday. We just traveled from sea-level altitude back up to Cusco’s 3,400 m or 11,200 ft. Surely the group needed at least two full days to start feeling acclimatized, once again. The group was flying to Lima on Saturday with the exception of Xavia and Shauntae who decided to take the 22 hour bus ride back to Lima instead. Their bus left on Thursday, which meant, in order to go to Machu Picchu AND feel somewhat acclimatized first, they would have to leave early Tuesday morning.
Miro and I decided not to go to Machu Picchu with the group solely for financial reasons. We had outspent our budget by almost triple at this point, with all the excursions, travel and extra expenses. Although Miro and I have both been to Machu Picchu before, I would have loved to experienced it with the group, but frankly, we just couldn’t afford it. But Luke and Shauntae were both going, so I knew the teens would be looked after.
By the time Tuesday rolled around, Devin decided he didn’t want to go and would rather stay in Cusco. Perhaps he wasn’t feeling great because of the altitude, or maybe he was a little homesick. Regardless, we were happy to have him here, and since Miro and I were staying back it wasn’t a problem at all. (As it turns out, Shauntae decided at the last moment not to go either since she didn’t want to be “rushed”.)
Lorene and I prepped the gang on the route, busses, collectivos to take, the normal costs and the landmarks to look out for. I had gone to the South America Explorers Club and had maps printed out for them. Early Tuesday morning Luke, Xavia and Ben left on their journey.
I was not there with the group, so I cannot write about the experience. But from the looks of Xavia’s amazing photos, they seemed to have had a great time.
The Last Days
Xavia, Luke and Ben returned back from Machu Picchu late Wednesday night. This would be everyone’s last night together since Xavia and Shauntae were leaving the next day on the bus headed for Lima.
The rain came, and the girls headed out. I hugged Xavia, and knew in my heart, I was so grateful I met this beautiful soul whose spirit deeply touched me.
Miro and I had two final days left with the boys, Luke, Devin and Ben. Ben slept here and the boys were up, loud and enjoying their time. On the second to last evening, the boys went rock climbing at a gym dedicated to the sport. The physicality of it looked amazing and all three of them seemed to have a great time.
The Final Goodbyes
The last day was full. We had a wonderful breakfast together, gathered up all the usual suspects! Scott, our resident ethnobotanist joined us along with Stephanie, his girlfriend and of course, Lorene my dear friend (and hiking guide) joined us for the send off.
And then, the gang set out through the city for a little last-minute shopping. (Did you all get your presents?)
I’m certain, this trip to Peru will always be remembered. Each one of us created strong ties in one form or another. Some of those ties are to specific experiences, particular places or individual adventures.
The trip was not just to Peru, the trip was a voyage into each other’s hearts.
And there we found much more than we ever anticipated.
Read the entire Unschooling in Peru Adventure here, by week: