Last year about this time, I was itching for my next “new experience.”
My company had grown, our team was great–by golly, I was gonna “do something fun.” I checked my handy-dandy spreadsheet of wild and wooly things to make happen. An”oldie but goodie” from five years ago caught my eye–a trip to Machu Picchu. I’d even budgeted for it and had rough itinerary in my spreadsheet (next to one for Ramses’ pyramid, the temple at Ephesus, Mongolian Gobi Desert yurt hopping and a Minoan culture cruise).
Jean-Luc and I donned backpacks and “headed for the hills” — I mean, the Andes –in late September. Backpacking in the Andes along the Lares Trail ranks among the toughest physical things I’ve done. Its 16,500 ft pass is not just high, it’s hope-sucking: cold, wet, fireless, and the denouement of two days of numbing rocks and mud.
- For comparison, it makes the half-marathon I ran two years ago in Savannah look silly easy.
- For comparison, desperately poor people in this part of the world have sometimes seen bitter logic in slaying children to smoking mountains. In short, it’s a tough place.
Numbed body parts pale in perspective, though, next to the prospect of seeing the mystical Machu Picchu. I am ready to experience anything the world throws. Fresh from the Lares trail, we join the throng of pilgrims making their way to the magic. Up in the mountains of Machu Picchu, the landscape looks like a Japanese painting–all hanging clouds, impossible green angles, and exotic edges.
Walking among the beautiful ruins of temples and sacrificial stones sleeping in the sun, time slows.
Slows so far as to right now.
Slows so exquisitely as to excise all “must do” moments from my mind. As in, no more Minoans. No more Nile. No more Mongolia.
Instead of planning where I have to go, this season I’m seeing things a bit differently. Somehow, seeing Machu Picchu, the hunger for seeing things ended.
I blew up my 30 year old bucket list.
Yes, as in control-alt-delete, “say so long, sucker!”
I understand that what got me here, actually won’t get me there. There being, where I want to be. Not, “where I want to go.”
This holiday season, I’m scratching out a new list–a first kind of list for me.
It’s looking like this:
Instead of must see? MUST FEEL.
Instead of most want to get? MOST WANT TO GIVE
Instead of most want to experience? MOST WANT TO CREATE.
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