Stepping outside the box: Amber J. does Peru

In 5 days I will travel to Lima, Peru. I. am. so. excited.

Beyond meeting up with 2 of my most awesome friends (who I have not seen in 2 years), I am ecstatic because this is my first international trip. I’ve had my passport since 2007, but it is still as clean as the day I eagerly ripped it out of the envelope.  I’ve done a lot of shuffling around in the past 3 years, but none of my journeys have taken me out of the U.S.

Traveling is one of the major bullet points on my life “to-do” list.  I dream often of jumping on a safari in Africa, exploring the Australian outback, and enjoying tea at high noon at a quaint country cottage in the English country side (I don’t really like tea, but I’ll suck it up for the sake of relishing in my fantasy).  In all of these dreams, I am the chic traveler. Perfectly accessorized with a worn copy of “Lonely Planet *Insert Cool Country Name Here*.

Dreaming about doing something is a lot less complicated than actually making it happen. How do I know this? Because the travel plans to Peru have been somewhat of an epic fail. And I know why. It’s because we really didn’t plan.  Life got in the way, stealing time needed for advance planning, and well, it just didn’t happen.

So, with 5 days to go, we don’t really have an agenda, or an itinerary in site.  I’ve glanced through a few books, but I don’t think it will actually hit me until the plane lands that I am in Peru without a plan.  Dude, we are winging in another country.

Looks pretty, right?

To add the the excitement, the friend we are visiting landed a cool new job…in Chile. He will be leaving the country the day before we come back to the U.S. to start a new job.  He sold his car and gave up his apartment, leaving us, well, homeless.  To his credit he is putting us up at a hostel, but imagine my reaction to this news!

Also, everyone keeps asking if we are going to Machu Picchu. Well folks, the answer is a big fat NO. Yes, I know, it’s supposed to be like one of the wonders of the world. So awesome, so amazing, that you might be wondering how the heck I am going to miss it.  But it’s true. My Dad always says when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And dang it, Daddy was right.   I felt a little better when my Peruvian pal admitted he’s never stepped foot up the Andes Mountain to see the Inca ruins.  Apparently,  Machu Picchu is to him, like Graceland is to me. I can relate to that.

Plans (or no plans) aside, I believe this trip will either feed my inner travel bug, or stomp on it. Am I cut out for roughing it? Will my limited high school Spanish fail me? Can my Hep A shot protect me?  I won’t be like Charlotte in the SATC Movie 1, stocking enough pudding cups to feed a small country, but I will make sure to have some dry goods on hand.  That’s the one thing I never fail to plan: my next meal!

Any tips for a first time international traveler?  I’d love to hear them :)

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