A 2013 article published on Living in Peru titled “Young men in crisis come to Peru” made me smile. The author, Larry Pittman, was spot on when he stated, Peru seems to be the destination of choice for people looking for a new direction in their lives.
For some reason I did the same. I wanted to travel after a heavy 2014, but I didn’t know exactly where to go. I was kind of looking for the reset button on the world map and I ended up traveling alone across Peru for three months, from March to May 2015. I, a 37-year-old Italian woman who had never been to Latin America before, was about to embark on a long trip all by myself for the first time.
I had no idea what it was going to be like. Cultural shock, that was the answer!
I was feeling quite confident because I knew Spanish. Nevertheless, some friends believed that I was crazy and my mother was really afraid that she was not going to see me again. Sadly, this is what happened earlier this year to a couple of girls traveling in Ecuador (José María Coni,22, and Marina Menegazzo, 21) who were killed by the men who offered them a place to stay for the night. I felt horrible reading this article on BBC and at the same time I realized how lucky I’ve been as nothing happened to me during my long journey. I feel blessed now and that’s also why I want to share what I learned, hoping that it will be useful for other travelers wanting to discover Peru on their own. It’s absolutely worthy doing it!
(Photo courtesy of author)
The journey was long but I will try to break it down into episodes. Here is a taste of what is going to come next…
Where I was hosted by a Peruvian woman in a house full of animals. What I’ve learned about the transportation system in Lima and safety in general. Last but not least, how good I felt about having a friend out there.
Where I basically had the largest cultural shock. How I spent some time as a woofer on a little farm close to Iquitos and then I traveled to the Pacaya Samiria Reserve with a couple of local guides. About the advantages and disadvantages of the rainy season.
The gringo road, from Lima to Arequipa
Where I started traveling a lot by bus, asking myself why did I decide to travel for so long and finally finding a good cure for diarrhea
Where I felt at home and safe, but sometimes I found myself in critical situations. How much I wished I had more time to also visit the Cotahuasi Valley
Where I jumped on a boat after arriving in Puno and I found myself in another world for the next five days.
Cusco and Machu Picchu
Where I finally took some guided tours. How much I appreciated the advantage of being already acclimatized to high altitude. How taking selfies in the wrong place can be very risky.
Lima and back home again
Where I had my last stomach sickness. How lucky I felt about being hosted by a very nice person, with many interesting stories to tell.
And… it has already been a year! What do I miss of Peru?
All these stories are coming up soon, stay tuned!A new series focuses on a woman unafraid to travel across Peru on her own.