Coming into another country, into a foreign land, you can never really know what to expect. We always try and prepare ourselves, reading ahead in guidebooks and travel blogs, emailing fellow travelers in hopes of finding some all-telling glimpse into what our next experience holds; yet it never does justice to first-hand experience.

During our stay in Yucay, a small town in the Sacred Valley near Cusco, we’ve been visiting so many beautiful places and having so many new and amazing experiences. Throughout these first few weeks, as my eyes have been opened to all these beautiful vistas and cultural masterpieces, a sensation has been growing in my chest: one of a powerful, peaceful energy. During our second week we took a trip to the Wari ruins near Pikillaqta, a city that pre-dates the Inca Empire. Wandering through the ruins in groups of fast-growing friends, the landscape of Peru unfolded before us, a mosaic of colors.

Valleys giving way to rolling mountains and snowcapped peaks peeking from behind. Brilliantly blue sky giving way to powerful thunder-clouds that stretched on forever into the distance. The Peruvian beauty has yet to cease to amaze and inspire. The ability to learn and to grow beneath these sky-scraping glacial mountains and star-strewn skies has already given me a new understanding and an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

→ Biodiversity & Development in the Andes-Amazon in Peru