Looking Ahead

As soon as Bryn Mawr permanently closed for the semester, I had a feeling that my summer plans– the BMC Arabic immersion trip to Jordan followed by backpacking around the Mediterranean– probably weren’t going to happen. It was disappointing, but I am nothing if not good at finding interesting things to do. Surely, I thought, the worst of the pandemic will be over by June, and in a fit of optimism I sent out several job applications.

I actually got a few offers: a work-stay on a sustainable farm on a remote island in Maine, and a job as a deckhand on a schooner. They both sound like a dream, but the end of the semester was drawing closer, and the pandemic wasn’t getting better.

The cheapest hostels tend to be the seediest, and in this case I definitely found myself wishing I had paid for a better one!

Here’s the thing: I’ve never been hesitant to travel before. When trying to make a trip happen, my methods are best described as “any means necessary”. Long hours of work, militant frugality, cramped buses, and extended layovers are all completely worth it in my eyes as long as it gets me somewhere new. So, when my gut started telling me that I should probably stay put for the summer even though I could travel halfway across the country and do something exciting, it triggered a mild identity crisis.

I got over it, though, and I’m starting to get comfortable with the idea of spending the next three and a half months at home. This is by far the longest amount of time I’ll have spent in Houston since I left three years ago, and as a result my room was largely the same as it was in high school. I’ve been slowly redecorating, and I think my next goal will be to use up my vast collection of art supplies, which I’ve barely touched since I started my gap year.

A small portion of my collection.

Specifically, I’m looking forward to tackling my fabric collection. The day after I finished finals, I dug out every piece of fabric I own. It was more than I thought– the results of 10 years worth of unfinished (or unstarted) projects, remnants that were just a little too big to throw away, and a bin full of donated wool suiting that I’ve been too afraid to touch.

It took four hours to sort through. I burned a swatch from every piece to check the fiber content (you can tell what it’s made of by how it burns), made labels with the fiber type and size of the piece, and tucked them into shallow cardboard boxes so I could see all the patterns.

 

Unfortunately, that was the easy part. Now I have to figure out what to do with all of it– and most of it isn’t good for face masks. Maybe I’ll open up sewing commissions, or make everyone I know a tweed vest.

In addition to sewing and art, I hope to study at least a little Arabic, round out my writing portfolio, and do some micro internships this summer. I tend to keep myself unbelievably busy with work, or school, or both, and I find myself welcoming the opportunity to take a step back and put time into my longer-term projects and goals. Luckily, I have stable wifi, a quiet house, and skills that lend themselves to remote work. Unluckily, Texas is about 100 degrees for most of the summer. Even though I’ve figured things out, I will deeply miss the outdoors.

I have… so much tweed.

2 Social 2 Distant

I must admit I have not actually seen any of the Fast and Furious Franchise, but I do love their title scheme. Anyway, welcome to the second part of my transition to #BrynMawrAtHome.

A month has passed, I’m finally settling into a new routine, but it’s a lot harder than I thought: trying to balance my classwork, figuring out the summer, being a member of a household, and of course, emotionally coping with all the uncertainty a global pandemic has to offer.

I also miss the dog that sometimes visited the Park Science building.

I’m beginning to realize that I never fully appreciated how much dorm living facilitated my ability to do school work (which, oddly, has increased since online classes began). There’s so many little things I do at home — cooking, spending time with family, helping around the house — that eat up a surprising amount of time. Plus, it’s hard to stay focused when I’m working, sleeping, and relaxing in the same room. I miss all my study spots on campus!

Since I’m spending all my time in my bedroom, I’ve been slowly reorganizing everything to make it more comfortable. To be honest, I secretly hated the layout for years, but since I was never at home, I never bothered to fix it. But after doing a serious book purge, clearing out all the stuff my dad left from when he used my room as a home office, and moving a few pieces of furniture, I’ve finally made it feel like a livable space!

Unfortunately, the furniture plan in my bedroom isn’t the only thing the pandemic is forcing me to reevaluate. I had an epic plan for the next few months: I was going to go on the Bryn Mawr trip to Jordan for the first half of summer, then travel to Rome and work on a boat for a couple months, and then go back to Jordan for my fall study abroad. My applications were almost done, I had enough money saved, and then… this.

A cream cheese, tomato, and spinach omelette– my moms favorite so far.

Now, the BMC trip to Jordan is online, and I suddenly need to find a job for the summer. I despise sitting at a desk, so I’ll probably look for work on a small farm, since I doubt the sailing tourism industry will be up and running. In addition, given that social distancing measures might last for six months or more, I’ve decided to try to delay my semester abroad until next spring. Thankfully, BMC is being extremely flexible with changing people’s study abroad plans.

Despite the global chaos, though, I’m doing okay. I’m getting plenty of fresh air, the house is stable, and there’s food in the fridge. In fact, as I run out of new ideas for lunch, I’ve taken to cooking omelettes of ever-increasing complexity.

Despite all the boredom and stress, there has been one excellent highlight from the past month: Zoom Passover.

Almost every year for the past four years I have received email invitations to family celebrations of Hannukah, Yom Kippur, and Passover. This is pretty standard for a lot of big families, and everyone on the email chains is always super excited to see each other!

My only problem with these emails is that I’m not Jewish, and neither is anyone in my immediate family.

After the first few times, I realized that someone in this family must have an incredibly similar email address to mine, and that I’d been put on this family’s email list by mistake. Every now and then I would respond to let them know some random kid from Texas was still receiving their potluck plans, but the emails kept coming.
I thought we’d finally sorted it out for good last year, but in early April I received an invitation for a virtual Seder. I almost deleted it, but then I paused. This was something that I could actually attend, for once. What would happen if I asked to join in?

The worst they could say was no, right?

They responded immediately: of course I could join, I was “practically family at this point”.

So on Wednesday the 8th, I scrounged together whatever Seder appropriate foodstuffs I could find in our kitchen cabinets, poured myself a large glass of wine, and sat down to meet my new extended family. When I logged into the Zoom meeting, they immediately introduced me as the “newest cousin”. There were a lot of people: 15 screens, most of which were couples or families. One of the younger cousins alternated between virtual backgrounds: a piece of matzoh, a tropical beach, a burning bush, and an extremely dramatic painting of Moses parting the Red Sea.

After we read the Haggadah, everyone sat around and chatted for almost an hour. It was nice to finally be able to put names to faces, and to hear firsthand news from many other parts of the country. This is not the situation in which I ever would have expected to meet them, but I’m glad it happened. At the very least, it’s a good story to tell!

Social Distancing Part One: In the Beginning

The long-suffering cat in question

My spring break started out so normal. I hung out with my friends, took a million selfies with my cat, and dedicated a few days to working on my study abroad applications and planning out my workshop for the upcoming Community Day of Learning. There was a lot I needed to accomplish for school that week, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get it all done. Sure, I was a little concerned about the Coronavirus, but I didn’t really think it would affect my life that much.

Then within 24 hours, everything fell apart. The virus was spreading, and we were not to return to campus.

Like many other Bryn Mawr students I found myself stranded halfway across the country with barely any clothes, no school supplies, and no idea what would happen next. I’ve lived through my share of crises, but nothing on this scale. At times I was so anxious I could hardly breathe, and I had a tension headache for three full days. I’m wasn’t afraid of getting sick, I just hated the uncertainty. My entire life for the next six months could change on a dime.

I spent that weekend alternating between moping and researching how to best work from home. The general consensus was to follow a set schedule and have separate areas for work and leisure. So on Sunday night I wrote myself a to-do list for the week, set my alarm for 7:30 am, and went to bed ready for my new life as a very productive hermit.

The next morning, I hit snooze 4 times and slept for an extra hour and a half.
Failed step one.

Soon after, another roadblock to productivity arose: my sister’s college had also cancelled classes. My mom needed to drive 6 hours to New Orleans to pick her up and didn’t want to make the trip alone. I didn’t actually mind going along, since I was sure the first few days of online classes would be a disaster.

You know how when you pack for a road trip, you pack a lot of extra things “just in case”? This was the first time I thought any of the things I packed would actually come in handy.

“We need some first aid supplies, because we won’t want to go to a hospital. Better pack some extra food in case we can’t find anywhere to stop and eat. What if they close state borders and we can’t get back?”

My mom and I on the banks of the Mississippi

Of course, none of that actually happened, and my mom and I had a lovely time exploring the French quarter while my sister packed up the last of her belongings.

Ironically, that was probably the best time to photograph all the beautiful houses in the French Quarter. We were able to go out, since at the time there were relatively few cases in New Orleans. However, there were still no other tourists, so the French Quarter was deserted.

The French Quarter

The rest of the week was fairly low-key, mostly filled with assignments and home projects. Since I have to spend so much time in my room, I’ve been using this as an opportunity to rearrange and redecorate. These kinds of projects aren’t nearly enough to cure my cabin fever, though, and when I went for a run on Friday I ran twice as far as usual, then did a yoga routine to boot.

Now that the biggest changes are over, my life has taken on a weird feeling of unreality. On one hand, I know there’s a terrible crisis going on. The media is howling over grocery shortages, the tanking stock market, and political corruption. Some of my friends are afraid for their lives or their livelihoods, and I share their unease. On the other hand the sun is still shining, and in my neighborhood children play in the street. My daily life is so peaceful that days slip by without me realizing it. It’s a strange sort of cognitive dissonance.

I know this is not a cheerful blog post, but these are not cheerful times. Every day I count myself lucky that I have a home to return to, no bills to pay, and a quiet, walkable neighborhood so that I can still go out even when all public spaces are closed. I also got to watch as the entire BMC community — students, alums, parents, and professors — pulled together to try and ensure that every student had housing, travel funds, and someone to mail them their essential belongings when the college closed. It was amazing to see, and reminded me that even though we are not physically at school, Bryn Mawr is still an incredibly strong community that I am proud to be a part of.

Why You Shouldn’t be Afraid of Office Hours

One of the most common pieces of advice I was given when I started college was “Go to your professor’s office hours!” and “Get to know your professors!”
Like many students, my gut response was an extremely decisive “no f-ing way”. I was never the kind of person who hung out with their high school teachers, and I had no idea why my professors would want to get to know me. Office hours, I thought, were only for people who needed help (and I loathe asking for help) or for being a kiss-up. I would never go.

The only photo I got of our Emily Balch speaker, Roxane Gay

Thanks to the Emily Balch seminars, though, I didn’t have a choice. The seminars cover a range of content and teaching styles, but one of the common elements is that you meet with your professor a few times a month to discuss your work.

I didn’t dread my first meeting, but I definitely wasn’t looking forward to it. I don’t like asking for help, remember? Even though I’d struggled a lot with my first essay, I didn’t want to admit it.

The meeting was surprisingly helpful, though. If I’d just been handed back my essay with a grade and a few comments, I probably would have taken all semester to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Thanks to that, I got the hang of what my professor was looking for pretty quickly, and by our third meeting we had a little time at the end to just chat. She asked me pretty standard stuff: how was I doing in my classes? What was I studying? Had I ever considered majoring in English? Pretty soon our meetings turned into hour-long discussions about campus culture, academia, and current events. I even started telling her about a few anxieties I’d been having.

Eventually I began to see her as a mentor, and even though spring semester had started, I still went to see her. She pushed me to get help for a health problem I’d been trying to ignore, inspired me to write a letter to the editor for the College News, and convinced me to take an English class this semester.

I would guess a solid 50% of my friends are friendly with at least one of their professors. My roommate says she went to hang out with her dean almost every week, and I know other students who have babysat for their professor’s kids or even had Thanksgiving at their houses.

These days I have no qualms about going to see my professors, whether it’s because I need help on a paper or because I want to know more about a study abroad opportunity. It’s not crucial that you get to know your professors in college, but getting to know my ESem professor definitely had a big impact on my first year at Bryn Mawr.

Many humanities professors have their offices in the 2nd floor of the Old Library building

 

Sailing on a schooner: My summer as a deckhand on a 150-year-old tall ship

At 7 a.m. on July 6, 2019, I was approximately 55 feet in the air. I was supposed to be re-rigging the ship’s flags, but I had paused for a moment to admire the view. To my right stretched the rocky Maine coast. To my left, a dozen schooners — probably a third of America’s traditional sailing heritage — were anchored throughout the harbor.

At the top of the mast, nestled between the crosstrees.

A motorboat raced by, and though its wake was only a minor annoyance on deck, the top of the mast seemed to sway wildly. There was nothing but a harness and precarious footing between me and a rather unforgiving fall.

It was time to get to work. I shifted positions, sometimes clinging to the ratboards with the barest tips of my toes, sometimes holding my entire body up with my arms to swing my legs around a bar. I ended up nearly lying down on the crosstrees with my foot hooked on a support bar. My palms were sweating, but I’ve been aloft enough times to know how to force down my fear.

I finished the job after half an hour, and clambered down the ratboards to a smattering of applause from our awed passengers. Most of them had never seen anything like this. I shucked off my harness, flexed my feet for a minute to get my legs to stop trembling, and got right to work helping to set up the breakfast buffet.

Working on a schooner is a job like no other. In the same day, I’ll go aloft, clean toilets, wash dishes, power sand and paint a section of the hull, furl sails, and give passengers restaurant recommendations. It’s one part adventure, one part hospitality, and one part blue collar work. Days off are few and far between, but that hardly matters, because I never really enjoy them anyway. As the saying goes, ships and sailors rot in port.

If I got any down time during the day, it was usually filled with projects — I’ve taken apart and reassembled a fan, made leather chart weights, and taught myself decorative knots. I spent several weeks on my rig knife: doing fancy knot work on the handle to make it thicker and grippier, then making a lanyard and a sheath.

One of the most common questions I get is how I even found this job. It all started in my senior year of high school, when an artist I followed on social media started posting about her job on a schooner in Maine. After a little research, I found there was an entire fleet of traditional sailing vessels running multi-day cruises off the Maine coast. I weighed my options: spend the summer before college in the same smoothie shop I’d worked in for months, or go halfway across the country to work on a tall ship. Not much of a contest, really.

My job interview went something like this:

“Why do you want to work on a schooner?”

“I’d like a job to kick my ass for a few months before I start college.”

“Okay, I’ll kick your ass.”

And then I was hired.

Me, driving the boat.

I ended up working there for three years, first in the galley, and then on deck. It hasn’t always been great — I’ve had injuries, issues with coworkers, and dealt with some sketchy situations, but the good times far outweighed the bad. It’s hard to feel down when you can admire the sparkle of bioluminescence in the water, then look right up at the Milky Way.

Sailing has taught me a lot of skills, some of which you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Of course I’ve learned how to tie knots and handle a line, but I’ve also mastered the fine arts of making small talk, saying an elevator pitch, and giving instructions. After all, I was trapped on a 90-foot boat with 25 people for nearly a week. If I wasn’t a people person when I started, I am now.

I’ve already got plans for next summer, so I doubt I’ll be sailing next year. I’ll definitely miss my leathery hands and beefy biceps, but more importantly, I’ve found some of my most important friends and mentors through sailing. Though I’m excited to go back to school, the feeling is bittersweet.

Why Bryn Mawr?

Along with “What’s your major” and “How are your classes going”, this is one of those quintessential college questions you get asked by your relatives at literally every holiday dinner.

For me, it’s the most difficult one to answer, usually because they’re not actually asking why I chose this school. What they really want to know is:

“Why on earth would you choose to go to a historically women’s school? Won’t you miss men?”

“Do you hate men?”

“Are you secretly super smart?”

“Are you secretly a lesbian?”

What some people think goes on at Bryn Mawr, apparently.

Honestly, the whole no-men thing really weighed on other people a lot more than it weighed on me, and a lot of people had opinions about what a historically women’s college is like. One rude customer at my old job delightedly informed me that Bryn Mawr used to be a finishing school, which is a.) untrue and b.) misogynist as hell. I was told by friends and strangers alike that it would be terrible because everyone would be catty and gossipy, that as a relatively tough woman I would be driven crazy by all the weak girly-girls I would have to live with, and that our menstrual cycles would sync up and we would all turn on each other Lord of the Flies style.

I wish I was exaggerating, but that’s really what people think! And literally none of it is true. I thought we as a society had finally managed to acknowledge that women are strong, whole, rational people, but I guess not. When I was growing up nearly all of my really deep and meaningful relationships were with girls and women, so I honestly didn’t think twice about applying to Bryn Mawr as a “women’s school”.

“Why Bryn Mawr” is also a difficult question because I’m not quite sure what drew me to Bryn Mawr. For all of other schools I applied to, there was a specific thing that drove me: either they had an interesting political science program, or my parents wanted me to apply, or it was just where everyone else in my class was going.

Me and my roommate after we got our lanterns.

When I went on college tours, a lot of the tour guides would answer “Why _____ college?” with “It just felt right! As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I knew that this was where I had to be”. This, of course wasn’t helpful to me at all at the time. I really liked a lot of the schools I visited! How was I supposed to know which one was more right than the others?

What I didn’t realize at the time was that I had already figured out where I wanted to be.

Though Bryn Mawr has some interesting programs and opportunities, they’re not nearly as dramatic and exciting as the ones in the big universities I was looking at. Really, the only thing that stood out to me about Bryn Mawr was its campus culture and traditions.

Of course what sparked my interest was Lantern Night and May Day– who doesn’t like cryptic ceremonies and frolicking in the flowers? But I also really liked the vibe on campus. It’s intellectual without being cutthroat, friendly without being overwhelming, and traditions-oriented without being old-fashioned.

When it came time to choose a school, I was paralyzed by indecision. I had narrowed down my choices to American University, which had a really interesting international school and was offering me a decent merit scholarship, and Bryn Mawr, which had nothing in particular going for it, at least on paper.
Luckily, my parents could afford for me revisit both schools. It turned out, all it took for me to make my decision was a few minutes on each campus.

American University is a nice school, and I’m sure it’s a great fit for some people, but it was just way too loud. I felt tired and strung out only twenty minutes into the tour. Bryn Mawr, on the other hand, felt like coming home.

Me, after my campus tour. This tree outside of the admissions building was the biggest tree I’d ever seen.

I think that the hyper competitive nature of young adult life has distorted the process of higher education. A lot of people choose schools based only on how competitive they are or what programs they offer, but prestige is only one piece of a much larger and more important puzzle. It’s hard to do well in school when you don’t vibe with the culture or don’t feel like you belong.

College doesn’t have to be the best time of your life– in fact, one of my teachers even told us “If anyone tells you school was the best part of their life, they’re having a pretty sad life.” However, I think it’s important to go to a school where you feel you belong, and that is what I found in Bryn Mawr.

Quote Walls

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with your friend, and it takes a bit of an odd turn? And before you know it you’ve just half shouted “Can’t talk about fingernails in the freezer when no one will make eye contact with you!” in the middle of a silent coffee shop.

In that moment, you know, from the bottom of your heart, that although that was a perfectly legitimate thing to say in your conversation with your friend, no one who just heard you will ever believe you’re not in a cult.

A lot of people like to jot down snippets of conversations that got a little weird or sound hilarious out of context. I used to record them on the cover of my first journal, and I have friends who keep a detailed archive in the notes app on their phone.

The Brecon 2nd quote wall.

I live on the second floor of Brecon, and the people on my hall tend to hang out together a fair amount. Conversation topics can range from Arthurian literature to events on campus, but we often end up saying some pretty goofy things. Rather than keep this to ourselves, we took to recording them on a Quote Wall for the rest of the world to appreciate. We originally wrote them on a small white board my Customs Person had outside her door, but it filled up within a month.

So, my roommate created a new 3 foot-by-4 foot monstrosity to log our quotes. As a finishing touch, I donated the gnome-shaped crayons my grandmother sent me as a gag gift, and we tacked them up in a special gnome-pouch.

Our small collection of gnome crayons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gnome pouch.

I have included some of our more memorable quotes:

“I don’t like fruit. I’m a bad Californian.”

“Horses are measured in hands because that’s what they eat”

“Please, Mr. Doo is my father. Call me Scooby.”

“Hmm. I can’t remember if I’ve had any bad run-ins with the clergy…”

“I feel like this movie is not appropriate for a STEM major to watch, I am leaving.”

I did some exploring around campus and found a few more quote walls: in Merion and Rockefeller halls. I couldn’t tell you the context for any of these quotes, even the ones from Brecon, but they’re that much funnier because of it!

The Merion 4th quote wall.

The Rock 1st 1st quote wall.

Spring Break in Peru

I’ve had a travel bug for as long as I could remember, so when my friend Zoe suggested going somewhere cool for spring break, how could I refuse?
She initially suggested New Zealand, but I thought that was way too far out of the way. The time difference alone would make it exhausting, not to mention the nineteen hour flight!
After a few hours of deliberations and research, we finally decided on Peru.

Getting there was not easy. Both of us were working with very tight budgets, so although we were only on a plane for twelve hours, we were in transit for twenty six hours. I took a greyhound to New York, met up with Zoe, flew to Mexico City, then flew onward to Lima. It was grueling, but we finally made it out of the airport at 6 p.m. on Friday.
It probably would have been a good idea to ask our hostel to send a taxi to pick us up, but neither of us thought of it. We ended up in a cab with a driver who tried to convince us we should go to a different hotel than the one we asked for (that hotel would then pay him a commission for taking us there). But, we finally made it to our hostel, conveniently situated directly across from the art museum! It was a gorgeous old colonial house, and I was sorry we were only going to stay there for two nights.

The intricately tiled floor in our hostel.

We only had one full day in Lima, so we decided to take the free walking tour offered by our hostel in order to see as much as possible. The tour mostly centered around the Plaza de Armas, but we learned a lot about Lima’s history, both before and after the Spanish invaded.

Lima’s Plaza de Armas in the golden hour.

The next morning, we took a bus to Ica. Lima is technically in a desert, but you wouldn’t know it by staying in the city. Ica, on the other hand, is a city among sand dunes.

Me, resting after hiking to the top of a sand dune. Picture taken by Zoe Herring.

Ica’s biggest draw is the Huacachina oasis. Though water stopped flowing into the lagoon in the 1980s due to human activities, water is pumped in from a nearby farm in order to preserve the lagoon and the tourist industry surrounding it.

The whole place is a little bit of a tourist trap, but that doesn’t stop it from being absolutely beautiful! We hiked a sand dune to watch the sunset.

We’d heard there was a wine festival in town, so the next day we set out to find it. After a lot of research, we determined it was taking place in a park fairly close to our hostel.
It was not in the park.
We did however find a zoo, which looked open, so we went in.
We immediately fell into a conversation with two students, Diego and Gina, who volunteer at the zoo for school credit. We talked to them for two hours! Though initially we just worked through some questions they had about English grammar, we eventually began talking about our lives, our cultures, and everything in between. I’ve never formally studied Spanish, but I was proud of how much I could follow along anyway.

That night, we took a bus to Cusco, which was the capital of the Incan Empire. It’s home to countless ruins and is the nearest city to Machu Picchu. It’s a beautiful city surrounded by mountains, with an elevation of over 11,000 feet!

The street outside our hostel.

For our first full day in the sacred valley, we went to the nearby town of Pisac.
As soon as we arrived, we met a guy who I eventually dubbed Colombian Supertramp, because he was A) Colombian and B) in the middle of walking across South America.

Sketch of Colombian Supertramp on the back of a receipt.

We decided to go on a hike with him along a river. A dog we’d stopped to pet in town followed us, and our little entourage set out for adventure! Along the way we talked about plants and their uses, discussed folklore, and told travel stories. In addition to being well traveled, Supertramp was a very spiritual person, and we stopped midway through the hike so he could pray.
He ended up coming back to Cusco with us, and spent the evening making a heroic effort to flirt with both of us at the same time. It’s pretty hard to convince two girls you’re equally interested in them, but he didn’t let that stop him!

The next day, we went to Machu Picchu.
We decided to hike up instead of taking the bus because we’re tough chicks who aren’t afraid to sweat, but we definitely were not prepared for the altitude.


I may or may not have gotten a massive head rush and almost passed out while standing up after taking this picture.
However, we made it to the top with our limbs intact, and it was definitely worth it.

The sky was spectacular.

I also got menaced by a llama.

Since both Zoe and I are artists, we took the time to sit and sketch, which was a nice break from all the climbing.

My sketch (Left) and Zoe’s (Right) of houses in Machu Picchu.

Huayna Picchu, a lactose intolerance joke, and a warning about llamas.

We were so involved in sketching, we forgot to keep track of time, and ended up having to run down the mountain to catch our train back to Cusco!

We spent our last day in Peru cafe-hopping and catching up on our journals. After all, we were on vacation!

Me, writing in my journal.

Overall, I loved Peru. I’ve traveled to a lot of places, but I’ve never seen landscapes like this! The mountains of the Sacred Valley were stunning, and the desert around Ica was more beautiful than I ever imagined it could be.

A foggy morning in the Sacred Valley.

On the road to Machu Picchu

This wasn’t even my favorite part, though. A lot of people go to Peru to hike the Inca trail, or do one of the other famous treks. I’m sure that’s a wonderful experience, but personally, I love cultures and people. Mountains and ruins are pretty neat, but there’s nothing I love more than trying some street food, making a new friend, and picking up a few words in a new language.