They say that there is almost nothing more beautiful than watching someone talk about something they are truly passionate about. Whether it’s a person, a place or what they ate for lunch, their eyes light up, and their hand gestures become animated, they describe every detail in such a way that you can feel their heart sing with the joy that they are able to share it with you.
Talking about travel and sharing my experiences with my family, friends and clients on a daily basis is like that for me. I’m not sure if people can actually hear my heart sing (that would be weird), but I can feel it. Knowing that I’ve have the opportunity to share my passions with someone else truly makes my soul smile.
So, in talking about my travels and the destinations I’ve visited, It’s no doubt that people are interested in my thoughts on where I’ve been, and I’m always asked one question (almost daily)…. ‘Which is your favourite country?’
Anyone who’s travelled as much as I have will know that this is not a simple question…. at all!
For me travel gets under my skin. The sites, the smells, the sounds, everything! I fall in love with a new country easily, I revel in the new experiences that I indulge in and I become attached to the people I meet.
As always I find it hard to let go, so almost every destination I’ve visited holds a place in my heart that will always make it my favourite country, but no one likes that answer. They want a FAVORITE!
So, I got to thinking and came up with 5 absolute favourites that I always seem to gravitate back to when pondering that question. (I’ve been to almost 50 countries, each with their own pros and cons…. There is no way I can pick just one! Lol)
Drum roll please, they are…….
PERU, CANADA, CUBA, SOUTH AFRICA & NEPAL (In no particular order)
I’ve chosen these 5 for a variety of reasons which I’ll highlight in individual posts (which will include info on my experience and photos).
Here is the first of my top 5 favourite destinations….
P E R U !
On an around the world journey in 2008/2009 I made sure Peru was one of the destinations on the list. I’d obviously heard all about Macchu Picchu and had wanted to visit the site for as long as I could remember, but what I wasn’t expecting was everything else that Peru had to offer.
From the ancient ruins and cultural sites around the Sacred Valley, to the food and of course the people and civilizations that are still living a traditional way of life today, Peru got under my skin.
I think what made it so special was the fact that I DIDN’T do the Inca Trail. I know that sounds weird, but my own disorganisation was actually an advantage (They do say that travel agents are completely crap when it comes to planning their own travels).
When I couldn’t get a permit to do the Inca Trail (they book out months and months in advance due to the limited numbers they allow on the trail at once), I opted for the alternative Lares Trek, and it was one of the most unbelievable cultural experiences and rewarding hikes I’d done.
There were literally 3 of us on our trek, and we didn’t see another tourist for the 4 days we were on the hike (compared to the Inca trail, where you are hiking with 500 people a day!).
We strolled through valleys and climbed over high mountain passes. We visited Schools, offered them supplies and interacted with the children using words from their language (Quechua), that we had learned from our guide.
We chewed Cocoa leaves to ward off Altitude sickness, and then we finally witnessed the sunrise over Macchu Picchu, before hiking up the 600yr old stairs (along sheer cliff drops I might add), that take you to the summit of Wayna Picchu (the peak behind Macchu Picchu). Amazing!
Peru’s other highlights that make it a MUST do destination include: A flight over the Nazca Lines, visit the Mummies at Chauchilla cemetery, Explore the steamy Amazon Jungle, experience the Peruvian way of life with a Home stay on Lake Titicaca and spot the condors at Colca Canyon or surf some of the world’s longest waves…. Peru has it all, and the list goes on and on and on.
Peru offers some amazing Food & Bev experiences too. We learnt to cook Ceviche with a local (who we’d met in the surf), which is traditionally a raw fish dish, cured in citrus and chillies, then topped with seasonings like salt pepper and coriander. YUM! (If you’re super adventurous then you can give the traditional Guinea pig a try too!)
And the traditional DRINKS will have you staggering around the historic centre of Lima in no time. My fave? The ‘Pisco sours’ which are a sweet, lime tasting, but strong drink containing egg whites. (Way yummier than they sound).
So, if you’re looking for your own Peruvian experience, the options for travel there are endless. I travelled with Intrepid Tours, and I can offer you a special MyTraveLust discount if you’d like me to arrange a trip for you. Check out all they have to offer at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/search/trip?f=im_field_pp_destinations%3A36824&f=im_field_pp_region%3A4124.
Otherwise there are plenty of tailor made tours, or independent travel itineraries to suit your exact requirements that I can arrange as well, so don’t be shy!
There you have it…. The first of my top 5 favourite travel destinations. Hopefully it gives you a little insight into why I loved Peru and why YOU should add it to your bucket list.
Stay tuned for Canada, Cuba, South Africa and Nepal which I’ll follow up with soon.
Thanks as always for reading!!