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Gloria Goldberg, Peru

The best adventure may not be on the itinerary

Many times when traveling, the best adventure may be the one not on the itinerary. One day our private van was journeying up a winding mountain road for a day hike in the Andes when we came across an elderly woman trudging uphill by foot carrying a large bundle on her back; she had more than likely been walking for several hours from the market we had left. As the van slowed down to cross a pothole, the woman tapped on our drivers window and asked if we could drive her up the mountain for the remainder of her journey. There was an air of desperation in her face and we felt compelled to drive her home.

So we approved and immediately upon sitting inside our van, she began chattering non-stop in her native language with our Quechua-speaking guide, Claudia. She insisted that she show us her humble home and her guinea pigs. The pictures attached reflect our visit.

The most memorable insight for all of us in our family was how cheerful and fulfilled their family appeared to be in spite of a total lack of modern conveniences and material items. When expressing our feelings to our guide, Claudia, she readily agreed and explained that the indigenous families living in the Andes in the traditional rural lifestyle are more happy and stress free; a lesson we certainly strived to bring back to our hectic lives back home.