Contrary to popular belief, traveling can teach you better than a classroom, job, or relationship ever will. I’ve found that people’s definitions of “the real world” vary quite a bit. For me, the real world means packing up and leaving your comfort zone, the familiar, your safe place, and experiencing unknown things – a new place, new people who may not understand you, unfamiliar customs, the list goes on.
Last July 2015, I visited and photographed Machu Picchu. I was fortunate to see, walk and experience the world famous Incan city of Machu Picchu. After all, it is a new Seven Wonder of the World and has become one of the most recognizable tourist attractions on the planet.
Machu Picchu is very spectacular and towering 3,050 meters (10,007 feet) above sea level, the mountain trek offers unparalleled views of the famous Inca sanctuary and panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountain scenery.
I joined the guided group tour in the morning that took us about 2-3 hours to walk and hike the whole citadel. The atmosphere was foggy and it always showered. The hike is stiff. Most of the citadels have no hand rails or pretective railing on the side of the stiff cliff. Some of the pathways are very narrow and good for one person only. The organisers tried to cram a lot of tours during the day, perhaps 3-4 tours in a day. In the morning, there was a bit rush, as they tried to get to the next group of tourists. I wasn’t able to photograph a lot during that morning group tour, so I decided to venture up again on my own after lunch. And it’s only during this time that I found out the I have a fear of heights. With my heavy camera backpack on my back, I experienced for the first time a panic attack or whatever you call it, it’s a symptom of fear of height. I had to sit down and block the road as I couldn’t breathe after seeing a very stiff cliff. Luckily, a kind person helped me to get to that next level and from there I met a local and offered him a pay if he could help me to hold my hand to walk and hike again the citadel. He just finished work, so he decided to help me without receiving any money from me. I was very thankful to him as I was able to unhurriedly go through again the citadel, this time not rushing, with my heart’s satisfaction of photographing the Spectacular Citadel.
It turned out that the local girlfriend and the mother had a souvenir store in the market, so after my citadel tour, as a gestures of gratitude for his kindness I decided to buy all my South American gifts and souvenirs in their shop.
Now, is this one of the places I would like to go back again? Perhaps not, for me this is one of the places to experience and visit only for the first time. I have met a lot of people on this tour, especially the older people, where they really have prepared themselves first to get fit, to be able to trekked this spectacular ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.