“So, how was the trip?” (Inca Trail, December, 2014)

Two days back and struggling for words until I had an email from a colleague early in the morning asking me, “So, how was the trip?  An unleashed stream of consciousness locked for days powered out.  Saved for later interpretation and process it freed me to begin my sharing.

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I have read that once you are able to put the overwhelming into words it loses it’s divinity. The intention of the awesome, the majestic or even the essence is to leave the recipient speechless because it is there in the middle of that energy where there is engagement with the divine, a very personal and wordless experience. Important to note that my use of the word divine here is giving respect to, acknowledging and grateful in being able to feel, embrace and trust the unexplained.

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Dozens of labeled plastic bags filled with what-if’, don’t forgets, all weather preparation, reservations, confirmation numbers and directions across cities and altitudes are now wrinkled, half filled or empty. Shoes are a new permanent color of dirty. There are snags, stains and cuts in clothing. Prescription and over the counter med containers are also empty. One home crafted walking stick from California redwoods left behind to our guide, Marko, as a relay of wisdom and achievement. Over a thousand photos have been lifted from SD cards, at this moment only to have xx.xx.xx jpg as identifiers.

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Bruises and pains are dissipating.

The exhaustion and lessening patience levels from the thirty-three hour journey home drained from the body into familiar pillows and beds. Stomachs grateful for our basic familiar kitchen ingredients. Returns of stresses and to-do’s left behind are embraced with a new outlook and sense of personal control. Yet, each diluting moment seems to have been replaced with one of these “essences.” Wordless overwhelming moments continue. The pulse felt in the bottom of my feet as they made contact with the ground in the Andes below, in the middle of and above the clouds beats strong as I now walk my familiar California soil. There is a connected heartbeat between the mountains, the unexplained and my internal pilot light.

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It has taken me time to get to the issue at hand. Blogging, recording, retelling, sharing and trying to answer the question, “How was the trip?”   I realize that all the blogs I read, all the questions I asked, the chronicles, the diaries, the daily episodes and all the information I sought out as I prepared is not the task at my hands upon returning.

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After Day #3 of acclimatizng in Cusco I walked into the mountains and at that moment for the next four days there was no separation between minutes, hours, days, steps, elevations, fears, joys, doubts, pride, determination, insecurity. The unexplained danced with reality. Loved ones from the past hitched into our minds and walked beside us at dfferent times. Shadows alongside us had heartbeats. Every mountain seemed to stretch their arms around us. Clouds cooled us. Sun warmed us. Fog created a clarity. The sky wet us and dried us. Rocks provided grips and grass provided footing. Flowers provided moments.

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The world inside the Andes provided mystery and courage. While there were questions each step of the way there were answers. Permission was given to let the non answered questions just be or wait to be answered when the time is right.

There was a new felt joy witnessing the awe my two daughters and husband were experiencing. There was concern in their challenges. There was a level of pride not felt before.

So, how do I capture the essence and share it without the explanation? It is in that place where the real trip lives.

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I spent hours selecting a small group of photos for this writing. They were all taken at a time during this trip. They do not need explanation or captions. The story in each photo is for the reader to feel, experience, interpret and personalize.  They are not in any sequential order.

Subsequent writings will witness a specific piece of the trip. To share. To relive. To make sense of. To question. To remind.

My love, pride, appreciation and gratitude to my daughter’s Lindsey and Jess and my husband, Billy cannot be limited by words. We will always make memories.

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Finally, to pachumama who allowed me to walk through her heart and soul while feeling my own.

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