I’m moving to Peru. I’m moving to Peru. Maybe if I write it one more time, and slowly, it will actually process in my mind. I’m. Moving. To. Peru. Nope. This is a sentence that I just can’t even believe I’m allowed to say, allowed to do, allowed to claim as my life. I mean…what?! I am going to book a one-way flight to South America. No return ticket. Just the rough idea that, yeah, I’ll go ahead and spend the next 365 days on the other side of the equator from everything I know and love. What?!?!
It’s a strange feeling taking a dream and making it real, like I’m floating in some void between reality and make believe. Until I’m on the ground being ambushed by hawkers asking me “Masaje, Senora? Masaje?” and being offered a pisco sour every time I walk through a door or being hit on by the dreadlocked Bohemians in Cusco’s San Blas while I plaster myself against ancient Incan stones to avoid the passing vehicle on the too-narrow street…yeah, until then I don’t think the reality of what I’ve decided to do will truly sink in. And that scares the crap out of me. Because by then it’s too late.
If I learned one thing from my last great adventure, it was that fear is a lie put in our path to stop us from expanding. That is, if we let it. It’s entirely a choice. You can feel the fear and do it anyway or pitch a u-turn and crawl back to life as you know it. When you are doing something you’ve never done before you are, by definition, outside of your comfort zone. It’s terrifying but how does that old saying go… “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” It is sooo, so true. And because I choose to keep re-drawing my circle of comfort, I have to move to Peru. Why? Because literally there is nothing in my way to doing that except my own fear.
This past June I traveled to Peru alone. The bundle of nerves I was the night before boarding my plane was insane. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve felt so scared about something to come. I just had to keep repeating to myself, “You’ve got this…You’ve got this…” no matter how much I felt that I didn’t. I had no idea what was waiting for me on the other end of my flight. What unfolded during my all-too-short 14-day trip was incredible and I realized that as soon as I touched ground in Lima. My very first night was picture perfect, beyond anything I could have imagined. Everything flowed so smoothly that I didn’t even have to consciously think about what was going to happen next. It was like riding a wave, letting it take me. I spent the night sipping a Cusqueña beer the size of a baseball bat on the rooftop of my Lima hostel while deep in conversation with travelers from Canada, Brazil, Scotland, and Australia. I’ll never forget that moment, sitting there in the misty rain, looking up at the dark sky and realizing, I’m okay. Everything is going to be okay.
Here I am again, scared but equipped with the knowledge that on the other side of this fear is something amazing that I can only know and experience by living it. And it’s an experience I want to have more than spending the rest of my life living in regret for having not done it. So, here is my commitment to myself, my announcement to the world, my proclamation to fear: This February 1, 2015 I will be boarding a plane to Peru where I will spend my entire 26th year of life.
For now, that’s all I’ll share. Specifics are still being sorted out. Stay tuned.