I’m going on a 3-week backpacking trip to Peru. I leave tomorrow.
Just kidding. I can’t leave tomorrow because I’m still at QuiltCon in Los Angeles. I go home to Chicago tomorrow. Next week, I’m the keynote at the big Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Washington state; the week after that I go to Canada; I’m at OSQE in Atlanta the week after that and then I’m going on a 3-week backpacking trip to Peru. It will come as no surprise to anyone that I do not have any children, pets, or plants. I only have shoes.
My world-travel portfolio is slim. It’s been years since I needed my passport and this trip will be unlike any I’ve ever taken; I’ve only been to Europe and the Balkans. I’m going to need some good world-traveler advice and, lucky for me, I have a trusted source.
My sister Rebecca and my brother-in-law Jack are world travelers. For the past five years or so, they’ve celebrated the New Year in a place far from home. One year, they rode Icelandic ponies in Iceland; another year had them eating haggis in Scotland. They hung out with the kids running around the grounds of the Taj Mahal year before last; they drank warn, sugary, mystery drinks from vending machines in Tokyo last year and this year, Jack and Rebecca went to Vietnam. I’m in awe of their sense of adventure and their photographs. Rebecca and I had lunch the other day and I told her I was going to Peru.
“Get a pee-pocket,” Rebecca said, and gave our ticket number to the stir-fry guy.
“A pee-pocket. It’s a little pouch you wear and then when you have to pee and all there is is like, a hole in the ground, you’re fine. It’s like a little funnel.” Our bowls were put up on the counter and Rebecca took the tray. “Pee-pockets are like two bucks apiece on Amazon. I’ll show you. Can you grab chopsticks?” She wears her world-traveler mien well.
“So why are you going to Peru?” Rebecca asked, biting into a sugar snap pea.
I told her that Claus has time in mid-March before he goes back to Germany and was thinking of going on a trip someplace cool. He asked me if I’d like to go with him and I said that I would have to a) check my schedule and b) learn what “cool” means. To my surprise, my calendar was open. When we discussed “cool” places to go, we came back again and again to Peru. After much thought, research, and deliberation, we purchased plane tickets to Lima which, I’ll have you know, were $500 roundtrip. Hotels will be about $30/night total, and the buses and trains are cheap, too. This is not a luxury trip, but it’s amazing how far your money goes in Peru; we’ve confirmed this with people who have been there.
“Peru sounds good,” Rebecca said. “Have you gotten your shots?”
“No, not yet. I have to do that today. Do you have someone?”
She pulled out her phone and gave me her travel doctor’s office number, which was in her list of contacts. “I’ve gotten all the juice I’ll need for awhile,” she said. “Hep A, Hep B. I’m all hepped up. Listen, don’t wait to get your shots; some of the immunizations you have to start up to four weeks before your trip.”
It’s many weeks before the trip and I’ve got my travel doctor appointment set up. I’ll share more about where we’re going, what we’ll see (Machu Picchu, of course), as well as my impressions while I’m there. As Claus told me recently, “Mary, if you can’t take three weeks — three weeks — out of your busy life to go do something wonderful like see Peru, your priorities are out of order.”
He is right.