Our first moments in Peru were not our greatest. In fact, it was the only point on our whole trip when someone attempted to rob us. Yup, it was really not a great start. Things could only get better though and once we thwarted the would be thieves, we were free to roam about the country.
Peru was more than we expected. It’s not often you can say that about a place, but I was expecting the home of Machu Picchu and little else. It turned out there was A LOT more to do in Peru than I ever expected. We spent a month in the country and I still feel as though we missed a lot. Peru was a country of many firsts for us: my first time hiking above 15,000 feet, the first time I saw penguins outside of a zoo, the first time I ate heart, the first time I let a monkey climb on my shoulder, the first time I ran up a mountain in the dark to get in line to climb another mountain, and unfortunately the first time someone attempted to rob us.
Perhaps it is because of that last first that Peru taught me to ENJOY my travels and to STOP worrying. Sure it was incredibly empowering knowing that my paranoid watching had stopped thieves from running off with our backpacks, but instead of doubling down on my “all seeing eye” I somehow felt that the experience validated relaxing a bit. Naively I felt invincible and somewhat like a travel superhero. I felt like I sent a message out with every look, daring the next thief to take me on. Fortunately none did because I highly doubt looking back on it I would have been so successful the second time.
The naïve sense of invincibility allowed me for the first time in the trip to really let my guard down. Ironic that an attempted robbery caused me to be less cautious, but somewhere between being shaken by the experience and exhilarated at thwarting the thieves I realized that even if they took my backpack SO WHAT. Let me repeat that, my world, my trip, it wouldn’t end just because someone took my backpack. So I learned to relax and stop worrying so much. Experiencing something is often less scary than what you imagine the experience to be and after someone tried to rob me I was a lot less afraid of being robbed. Strange isn’t it, but I learned not to be so afraid. I learned to let go of my what ifs, worries and fears and go with the flow. It was exhilarating.
In Peru I learned to let it go and started to really enjoy our trip.