My traveling companions sure are.
I’m just going through the motions hoping that I will “snap out of it.” But sadly, I have had very little success with that idea. The entire adventure includes a weekend in Cusco, Peru. Then 7 days trekking including 3 days on the actual Inca Trail.
By the following Sunday, we will be at Machu Picchu.
There will be a 2-hour tour of the site. Then a 4-hour Vista Dome train ride back to Cusco. Monday evening, we will fly back to the states (USA). Seems like a great follow up to climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. We flew again from the states to Africa and spent 7 days summiting (19,341 feet) and then returning to sea level.
Packing this trip seems straight forward, compared to our first trek at altitude.
On this trek the highest we will be is 15,240. However, we will see mountain ranges that mirror Kilimanjaro. And last fall, I spent a large amount of time securing the proper equipment for that trek. This time it is choosing what I will take from what I already have.
So, I haven’t spent much time doing that or much about the trip.
I have worked quite a bit on making sure we have the proper flights to and from Peru. Just Fly has been a nightmare. Several legs of the trip have been cancelled by the airlines. Getting reimbursed by Just Fly so that I could book new flights took weeks. Having learned how to advocate for myself, it looks like we are finally set.
So why am I not feeling the excitement this time?
I’m not sure if it’s my medication, but I have cut my nightly Remeron in half. I plan to do this until we leave Thursday, and then stop taking it all together while we are on our trek. I have attempted to speak with my psychiatrist about this, but I am not making the time to call. And the one time I did, no one was available, so I just hung up.
I know that’s not the best decision, but that has been all I could muster.
It is Sunday night, and we leave on Thursday. I am working on packing but have not really completed the job. For Kili, I packed, repacked, and then packed again. I tried out multiple configurations and tried labeling all of the dry bags and compression bags.
This time packing is just another thing I must do.
Friday, I did not answer my cell phone at work when my peer advocate called. I made a mental excuse that I was at work, and I would call her later. In the end, I did not call. And that has weighed on my mind. I am afraid of what she will think if I tell her that I am not excited about the trek. In the end, I am not wanting to let her down.
That’s my depression talking.
I am just doing what I need to do to make sure this trip works. I am certain I will feel something when we are finally in Peru. But right now, everything I still need to do feels overwhelming. Even though I am following the trekking companies packing list, I just can’t seem to be excited about the trek. Maybe it will be more attractive tomorrow and that “I cannot wait,” feeling will replace my ho-hum feelings.
As I get back to the United States, it looks like my Peru blog post is still a draft.
Looking at my laptop, it seems I never actually posted part 1.
But the trip took place as booked. We flew from Dulles, (IAD) to Cusco, Peru by way of Bogota, Columbia, and Lima, Peru. All we saw of Bogota was the airport. It was the middle of the night as we passed through. And we were in Lima pre-dawn on Friday. Because the flights are rather sketchy, we had to retrieve our luggage in Lima, and reenter the airport ticketing area before boarding our final flight on a different airline.
Even as we were heading south of the equator, I was less than excited.
We arrived in Cusco, our base for the next 10 days, just after 8 AM. Our hotel was able to get us in our room early and we were able to stretch out and relax. As we got to the lay of the land, we booked a Sunday bus tour of three sites, including salt flats, alpaca wool farming, and an Inca site related to crop cultivation. The cost for the three of us was 150 Soles, the local currency.
What I ended up paying in US dollars was $39.00.
Three people for almost 6 hours for $13 US dollars each, seemed like a huge bargain. We did tip everyone involved. And then Monday AM, we were up and out by 6:45 AM, on our way to the Inca trail and Machu Picchu.
So yes, I am skirting around my feelings or lack there-of about the trip.
I can say that the 48 miles in 7 days was an incredible experience. Trekking on one side of a mountain ridge at over 13,000 feet helped put my feelings in perspective. And seeing glaciers on the peaks facing us, and hearing them creaking in the sun, helped ground me in the moment.
By the final morning, when we got up at 3:00 AM to trek the final 2 miles to Machu Pichu, I was feeling very thankful.
It was my gratitude for all I had seen that pulled me into the moment, and temporarily out of my funk. Seeing the Inca sun gate, and then the entire area spread out below me, left me feeling humbled. I pictured the engineers who designed the site and the trails into it. And I felt the presence of the slaves who most likely were the power behind the ideas. I wonder how many died, completing this project?
Back at work, I am sharing at least one picture of the trek with every employee, and a few of our members.
I am taking this as a sign that I feel more than I am giving myself credit for. Some days, the trek was hours of uphill climbing, while at 14,000 feet or higher. I developed a habit of keeping my head down and just concentrating on the next few footsteps. I found that to look at the scenery, I needed to stop walking. But now I am a week after the trek, back to work and back to the same challenges.
Except for the gratitude, I feel for having had the opportunity to travel to Peru, I am kind of feeling the same as I did before the trip.
Next week, I have an appointment with my psychiatrist for medicine management. I will ask her thoughts on my feelings or lack thereof, related to my trip. I just wish I felt something about the trip, for it opened my eyes to an entirely new way of living. This relationship with the earth and the sky is very appealing. Yet it is being lost as the younger generations move away and do not return to live off the land.
Next year I am setting my sights on Nepal, and Mount Everest.
Ok, so I am looking at Mount Everest base camp, not the summit, But I will continue to write and may someday make sense of my lack of feelings. I know my depression is always coming up with new ways to get me into unhelpful thinking. This trip may have been one way depression has robbed me of the enjoyment and excitement of a trip to a different continent.