The #100DaysOfYoga Challenge!

100DaysOfYogaChallenge

I’m starting a #100DaysOfYoga challenge starting this morning!

What is it?

100 Straight Days of Practicing Yoga.
It will include 30 minutes of Yoga a day followed by a picture and a reflection.
All of these photos will be kept in a single album on Facebook (and Google+).

Why?

A WDS friend of mine, Rita Chand, inspired me immensely with her #100Days challenge of working out every day. Here is her post last week after making it to Day 100:
RitaChand

An incredible feat, and quite a commitment to a practice for over 3 straight months.

Yoga has been a big part of my life since the Fall of 2011.

I wrote a post on November, 11, 2011 entitled, “Home is where the heart is”. In this post, I mentioned, “I returned home to KC under difficult circumstances where I re-connected to my roots, made critical business partnerships, and found focus and clarity through Yoga (I’ll be writing more in-depth about this in future posts).”

I’m so sad I didn’t more closely document my experiences during these months because they held some of the most expansive self-growth I’ve ever had in my life. I grew more as a person in the year-after that post than I had in almost a decade before.

Only a couple times I posted...

Only a couple times I posted…

Only a couple times I posted...

Only a couple times I posted…

At the time, I meant to discuss things I had discovered and what Yoga meant to me, but I just couldn’t find my voice.

Sometimes, you lose your voice when you feel most in flow.

That’s what happened to me. I became so drawn to the practice, the philosophy, the culture, the science, the energy, and the world-wide community I met through Yoga that it changed my perspective. I ended up feeling incredibly connected to everything around me. As if I was engineering serendipity. I was so caught up in the flow, I lost the ability to connect with my voice about it.

I want that to change. I want to return to my inner voice which allowed me to connect easier with everyone around me. The voice that made it easy to write and blog about these experiences as they were happening.

For example:
I ended up at a cafe in Paris shortly after making that post; sitting quietly on a couch by the windows looking over the Rhine river. A man sitting next to me sparked a conversation that would end in us talking for hours that night. I remember feeling down, and being able to talk to this man about the successes of my business and lifestyle path was incredible. I could see a fire in his eyes; a passion and a yearning for something greater in life. He happened to be reading a book that I was very fond of in college and we reminisced on this intellectual wavelength throughout the night. We saw the greatness in each-other which allowed us to be grateful for ourselves. I never anticipated making a connection like this on a random night in Paris, but when you live intentionally with your heart out, the universe has a way of attracting people in your life at the right moment at the right time.

I would end up traveling through 8 regions of India shortly after…

Finding a spiritual center in Auroville, near Pondicherry.

Finding a spiritual center in Auroville, near Pondicherry. I would be drawn back to this magnificent place again and again shortly after this trip.

howYogaWorks
I still remember reading “How Yoga Works” while the plane was landing in Bangalore and feeling incredibly connected to the Moon, the Sun, and the Earth. It’s almost crazy and unexplainable… but I felt as if I embodied all that was around me, and all that was around me filled me up. As if there was a universe within mirroring the universe outside and I could feel that inner universe so purely. And no, I was not on any drugs.

Later in the Summer something incredibly would happen. I just had the most inspirational time of my life attending the WDS conference in Portland.

Photos by Armosa Studios. https://flic.kr/p/csPRB1

Photos by Armosa Studios. https://flic.kr/p/csPRB1

Morning Meditations led by Nathan Agin

Morning Meditations led by Nathan Agin

On my flight out, I was sitting next to a lady who was flying to San Francisco. She was flying to say her graces to someone who was passing away. She had been taking Yoga classes and was fascinated by the effects it had on the energy centers of the body. After I talked for almost an hour about my experiences throughout the year, she opened up to me and told me something that to this day still leaves me in Awe. She said she experienced this moment (while being a nurse and in the care of this elderly patient), where she saw the oneness in the universe. She was stitching a patient and rolling a white cloth over their arm, when all of a sudden, circles upon circles entered her field of vision until it engulfed her, but not in a confusing, scary, or mind-spinning way. She felt like she was in a womb — safe and protected. She felt the reactions her energy had on everything around her, including inanimate objects like tables, chairs, and the bed of her patient. She said she had been struggling with faith and dedicating her life to something noble in order to help people which led her to nursing. She was sad because she felt no matter how much she would care for patients, many of them (especially elderly patients), would simply pass away shortly after her care. Life was and is impermanent. As much as we like to control the outcomes of our lives and day to day experiences, life unravels sometimes in ways we can never even imagine.

She would later tell me that her son lived a few years in India, in the holy city of Varanasi. I had never heard of this city, but I happened to be on my way to India again, and it soon became part of many things that would line up in my life path.

This was only the beginning of an incredible year in 2012 which included diving deeper into my Yoga practice, collaborating on a Virtual Yoga Studio called Joyful Breath Yoga which is currently the largest Online Yoga Studio in the midwest, and finding love through incredible synchronicities.

2013 was a turbulent year. Despite this, I still helped organize a Yoga Retreat to India. The first Journey of Joy for Joyful Breath Yoga. Everyone that participated made this an incredible success. I was so humbled to even be a part of it:

YogaInIndia2

yogaInIndia1

This year has been all about restoring that peace and security of self I felt back in 2012.

I’m feeling incredible in these days leading up to Summer. I’m reminded of all the beautiful memories, the people I encountered, and the wonderful connections I made. Words have been pouring through my soul and I’ve been writing feverishly to keep these experiences close.

I want to publish these past experiences along with new insights I gain through a regular and dynamic Yoga practice. I don’t plan on just getting more physically fit, but also growing a deeper calmness in the mind and stronger spiritual connection.

Doing this in 100 Days will not only be a challenge to myself, but it will be an incredible journey in and of itself! In these next 100 Days, I already have plans on being in at least 5-7 different cities in at least 3 different countries!

First up will be Detroit this weekend for a visit with cousins, followed my Minneapolis with more cousins, and then Fargo, ND for the annual Misfit Conference.

After this, Jacki and I will be heading to Brazil for the World Cup and taking buses along the countryside as we venture onwards to Chile!

During this challenge, I will practice at least 30 minutes of Yoga every day, take a picture, write something meaningful that came to me from the practice, and post it in the same Photo Album on Facebook and Google+. At the end of 100 Days, there will be 100 Photos in that album.

Some days I may simply reflect on the experiences of the last couple of years which has shaped my life in ways I could never have imagined. Other days I will write what feels like is coming straight through me.

I’m so excited for this journey! If you have any interest in the deeper philosophies of Yoga or how they intertwine with the realities of our life, stay tuned (or make your own #100DaysChallenge)!
:)



Color your Life

Jan. 14th and 15th is the Uttarayana kite-festival celebrated in Gujarat, India. It’s a tremendously colorful spectacle with thousands of people flying kites on the terraces and rooftops of buildings throughout the city. Uttarayana is meant to mark the day that the Sun begins to travel North above the hemisphere signaling the approaching Summer. It’s a truly amazing sight that has to be experienced to understand. Kite shops line the roads and shops close down for the weekend as everyone takes time off to be with family/friends and fly their kites while dancing to music.

The day after I arrived, we went to a kite shop to pick up a pack of brightly colored kites on our way to downtown Ahmedabad. The cultural richness of the city is not missed when passing through the old city walls that used to encompass the town.

 

The downtown streets of Ahmedabad are very narrow and so similar to all the other streets that it was like walking through a maze finding the right building to climb up. We actually got lost twice after we parked going to the building and on our way back to the car. After we got to the building, we ascended the stairs to the roof where others had gathered either tying their kite together or flying it off the roof. Even the strings of the kites were brightly colored neon-pink or yellow that would leave your hands colored after the paint chipped off of the string.

Here are some pictures of what it looked like flying the kites:

The festival continued well into the night as we watched in awe as the night sky was lit up by orbs of light similar to the chinese festivals. Essentially they were tiny hot air balloons powered by small candles and hundreds of them flying up through the sky at once.

An orb of light flying above the terrace. It appears reddish from the glow of the candle flame within.

The festival is known for continuing throughout the day and night.
***
At night, sitting on that terrace, reflecting on the colorful kites during the day and the balls of light flying at night, I realized something about the transition:

Our world is filled with Dualities. Day/Night. Black/White. Up/Down. Hot/Cold. Ying/Yang.

When you balance the outside, you balance the inside.

If you build strength on the outside, you feel stronger on the inside.

Why do people feel better after a tiring run? You feel better if you’ve accomplished something on the outside, which drives that accomplishment inside.

Our exterior world and inner world, which is our own body, mind and spirit are inter-linked.

It’s about finding that balance within yourself and the universe.

When gurus always say “hapiness within you” or find “peace within”. What they mean is that simply reflecting those thoughts and feelings into the exterior world, reflect back into your interior world. If dropping weight makes you feel better about yourself, you truly will be better. You must actually be happy and endlessly satiated with the state of your weight or you go into imbalance.

Whatever you do on the outside reflects back on yourself inside.

***

We live in a very vanilla world. We get drawn into patterns of big brands, big box companies, and bland products. We seek out a Starbucks not necessarily because of their coffee, but for the familiarity. In many ways, this cuts away at the core of creativity. Other brands and companies begin to copy the way of the leading brand until they all are vanilla, the same message, the same product. Corporations have been structured like this for years, leading to the same idea for work schedule, retirement plans, benefits. Creative ways in actually achieving production and consumption are thrown by the side as bigger solutions are seen as the sole answer. In times of economic woe, as we’ve seen in 2008, the necessity to tighten spending, consumption of resources can lead us back to the infinite possibilities of a business/product/service/idea. New ideas begin to be possible as opportunities for change open up. The truth is that these ideas were always possible, but money, systems and familiarity blind us from seeing the way.

I walked into a restaurant in Goa that had over 50 items but nothing mentioning simply some cut up fruit. Since I noticed some items used bananas and oranges, I  simply asked for them to cut me up some bananas and oranges. At first there was a look of confusion on the server’s face as to how this would work, but I simply smiled and he went back to the kitchen and had this made:

When your menu item isn’t there, why not just create it?

Just like the kites flying high above Ahmedabad, coloring the sky with bright hues, color your own life with new experiences that add value. Create a handmade card instead of picking one up from Hallmark, skip Panera for a local bakery down the street, make your own pizza from scratch with fresh ingredients rather than ordering delivery. Share these moments with others so they can experience them too. It’s the little things in life that add spice and flavor to keep things interesting.



Bloom Your Vision From the Depths of Uncertainty

 

The Matrimandir at the center of Auroville in Pondicherry, India. Symbolizing the bud of a Lotus flower blooming.

 

“Our world is merely a reflection of ourselves.”

The blooming of a lotus flower is an amazing thing. I’ve been in india the past two weeks where the lotus is regarded as the national flower. It’s the only flower that is able to fully bloom among the dark, shrouded sludge of a swamp. Among all this muck, rises beauty in a magnificent form.

It therefore symbolizes spirituality, fruitfulness, wealth, knowledge and illumination in India.

Many people have a stereotypical view of India as being a very chronically dirty place. With dust, pollution, over-crowded traffic, limited city planning, and a humid heat that keeps people in a state of low energy. Pollution isn’t limited to the trash that is littered throughout streets, but also the imposing noise and light polution wherever you go. Endless honking can be heard in every corner of every city as the common way of driving seems to be honking as if you were dribbling a basketball.

****

I just finished traveling through almost 5 states in India, three of which I had never been to before. Relatives were asking “who’s accompanying you?”, “why are you going?”, to which I would simply respond “I’m going alone to really see India, not the way others do, but the way I do.” I never de-value having companionship or family/friends when visiting a new place, but simply appreciate the value in everything including solo travel. My journey took me through Bangalore -> Pondicherry/Auroville -> Madurai -> Kochin -> Goa -> Ahmedebad and the states of Karnataka -> Tamil Nadu -> Kerala -> Goa -> Gujarat. There is one profound thing I realized as I mingled with tech professionals in the bustling city of Bangalore, found inner peace in Auroville, enjoyed company of family in Madurai, experienced coastal richness in Kochin, traded stories with new friends while growing a deeper understanding of Yoga in Goa, and finally landed in the Ahmedebad airport last Friday… all of us express an inner desire to see the best of ourselves and our beliefs in the world around us. We want to prove with our actions an inner truth that lies within us. We crave deeply in our hearts to show this to others through: material possessions, charitable donations, volunteer work, organizations we join, recognizations (awards, trophies, medals), our status or position in a company, and even our own art.

I noticed it was beautiful not what people were doing or how they were doing it, but rather why they were doing what they were doing. Why had someone who had lived most of her life in London now make handcrafted paper in Pondicherry? Why had an Austrian couple who had stable jobs back home leave everything to open up a creperie in Goa? Why had an auto rikshaw driver in Kerela left his poor village to make a living as a driver in a wealthier state? These were all stories I encountered on my trip that had one common thread — there was an inner truth as to why they were doing what they were doing. From the outside it may look like someone is just driving, or someone is just serving crepes, or just making paper… but deep down there’s a story, there’s a reason, there’s a purpose within all of us.

Where we find beauty, we find inspiration, we find meaning, and we find ourselves.

***

Pondicherry and Auroville was devasted just 3 days before I had arrived by the largest cyclone seen in over 20 years. Neighborhoodds looked like impoverished ghettos, with trees collapsed in every direction and crumbled concrete walls blocking the roads. Power lines were hanging open across storefronts and many areas were being cleared by large tractors. The botanical gardens, which I was told was normally much more open was now shrouded by fallen branches and looked more like a lumber yard. The cleanup crews had cleared much of the streets and Auroville was still accessible even though 70% of the trees had been knocked down.

Here are pictures of just some of the destruction:

 

Among all this destruction, there was a beatifully and artfully placed authentic French Boulangerie, a French Bakery, still open called Baker’s Street.

From the steps of the shop you could see a collapsed roof, an open drainage system that was filled with green water, and debris littered across the street, but this well-known shop had placed their sign further out into the street and opened their doors to the smell of freshly baked baquettes and pastries.

The contrast was stark and noticeable, like a white lotus flower rising out of darkest depths of a pond. I noticed something amazing in that moment about India that I had failed to realize — most of India is actually like this. Anyone who has visited India is well aware of the dusty air, the dirty streets, the endless traffic, and the pollution that is everywhere. But there is always some nice-looking shop in the middle of all of this. Typically these are the shops mentioned in travel guides, the shops locals know well, and the highly respected ones in the community. They could be well-known silk shops, jewlery shops, or restaurants, but they are all very noticeable from their storefront appearance with the contrast of everything around it. Even in the more developed areas of India, you see this on some level.

This is no different than our own experiences in life.

While others may just see the murkiness — the difficulties, the challenges, the hard work, find the beauty in the little things around you and cultivate your own vision from the depths of uncertainty. Create those things in life that will allow your own lotus flower to bloom into this world. 



Home is where the heart is

couch I sleep on

Yes, I sleep here usually now.



It’s been awhile since I posted on here. So many things have transpired for me in the past couple months. Some for the better, others I’m not so sure about. One thing I do know though — these last few months after returning from Peru have had a huge impact on me. In fact, I see this year so far as having three major impacts on my life:

1) Being apart of an amazing Coworking Community that helped me grow as a person and really learn how to connect better with people on a personal and professional level with a simple idea: you are more inspired, passionate and productive when you work together rather than alone.

2) During the Summer I was bit by the travel bug and gained a thirst for adventure.

3) In the Fall, I returned home to KC under difficult circumstances where I re-connected to my roots, made critical business partnerships, and found focus and clarity through Yoga (I’ll be writing more in-depth about this in future posts).

I just keep thinking back to a day last Summer that I’ve never told anyone about. It boggles my mind that this day even took place with where I’m at mentally and physically at this very moment.

I reached a low point in the Summer of 2010, where I was not only depressed, but uncomfortable in my own skin. I was looking out in the world and seeing all these amazing things others were doing and seeing their successes as a reflection of how I’ve always failed at doing anything spectacular with my life. My life was so simple, so plain, so predictable, and so empty. Yet I had everything — I had a loving family back home, a great salary with a stable job, a nice apartment with a view over a beautiful park, and was living for the first time out of Kansas on the Front Range in Colorado. What more could I ask for? Why did nothing ever satisfy me? Why did I always feel second tier even to my friends?

I remember sitting under a tree in late May of 2010 at the park one evening with the biggest hole in my stomach. It was a painful feeling like a knot was tying me up from inside, pulling me in like an anchor I couldn’t stop from falling. I felt absolute uncertainty and loss of purpose. I crouched, hands around my feet, head down fighting the waves of tears that kept wanting to come pouring out of my eyes. I didn’t even know what I was sad about. So many people had it worse off than I did. I was actually privileged to be where I was, but here I sat, under a tree wondering why my life was passing me by. I did the only thing I knew at the time to do — just wait until the pain went away. I sat there for a few hours before I got up, wiped the emotions away and pretended nothing ever happend. Tomorrow was a new day, even if I wasn’t looking forward to it.

Reflecting back, I think experiences like this are more common than people are willing to admit. Our society is not so comfortable revealing the hardships and low points that make us who we are. We only like to see who we become, not the trials and tribulations that are encountered to get there. Entreprenuers and business owners face these moments of uncertainty constantly, some on a daily basis, but the difference is that they are treated as growth opportunities not validation of failure. And that’s the key. If you look at a moment like that as proof of not being able to accomplish anything, you probably won’t. Instead, you need to embrace such moments to gain clarity and vision on where to position yourself next. Where’s the next opportunity? How can I grow from this point forward?

It’s not an easy path working for yourself, that’s why everyone isn’t doing it. But it’s moments like this when you realize why you’re doing it.

Shortly after this, I received an e-mail that would change the course of the entire year ahead. My friend Kunjan and I had already started a business on the side of our jobs because we both were convinced about at least one thing — we wanted to do more than sit in a cubicle all day having our skills strip-mined and our futures decided by people who took our time in exchange for money. It was a big struggle to build up to the point where we were able to break out of the 9-5. Nothing comes easy in this world, but sometimes it can be a single catalyst that sets you off, and this e-mail was one. I’ll never forget my response to it which seems so hilarious to me now:



With that, we had our first client, and a long-term partner and friend in Raghu as he helped us throughout this year with business development while he went on to do bigger and better things on his own. I feel differently now about only doing work for clients and not focusing on your own projects, but this opportunity allowed us to really focus and take our business seriously. We had a goal, we had a vision, we had purpose, and we were working towards something. Personally, I gained more confidence, and continued to push myself out of my comfort zone which allowed me to meet the unbelievably passionate people through the Cohere Coworking Community I joined later that year.

After that, it was full speed ahead, we were getting referrals left and right, juggling many hats, trying to keep up with all the work that was now coming our way. The best part about our work was every single part of it was online, so we collaborated wherever we could find internet connections — Cohere, coffee shops, airports, friend’s/cousin’s places, or in our pajamas at home. This is actually the true benefit of working for yourself — the freedom you gain from it. Time is also worth currency even if it’s hard to quantify and completely worth monetary pay cuts due to the time you get back that could be used to put yourself in the path of greater opportunities you would otherwise have missed out on. It was this time and freedom that allowed me to take over 5 weeks of working vacations to Seattle, San Diego, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Peru over the Summer.

It was really hard for me coming back to KC. I had enjoyed some of the best months of my life living in Northern Colorado; meeting, connecting, and working with some of the most inspiring people I know. Logistically, I didn’t have much of a choice. The rent in the apartment I had was being increased by $300 at the end of the lease and there was 17 days to move-out/find a new place while also trying to prepare for my 2 week trip to South America. I tried everything I could after I got back from Peru to stay — kept my things in a storage locker, lived on friend’s couches while I scoured craigslist for temporary living arrangements. All the while, realizing I was probably being selfish trying to remain in Colorado while our largest clients were in KC and Kunjan, getting married in January, had only a few months before he would be leaving to India; thus I only had a small window of opportunity to work closely with him before he left.

Home is where the heart is. Where our lifeforce keeps getting replenished. Our blood flows back through our heart before taking its trip through our many vessels delivering life throughout the rest of our body, our brain and our soul. It’s a cyclical process; one part cannot exist without the other. I decided to return home, to where my heart was, where my roots were, where my past was, and where most of my experiences in this life have been to understand where I needed to be and where I wanted to go. It just made sense at the time and I’m grateful I did. New business partnerships were made, current clients were able to meet more face to face, and exciting projects have been planned for 2012 that I can’t wait to announce. I also developed a deeper love of Yoga (more on that later).

That moment in the Summer of 2010 changed me. When I realized it was the way I valued myself and that I didn’t have to rely on external acceptance of others to be happy or fulfilled, the world began to open up to me. Seems like a simple, almost obvious fact — others don’t control your life, you do. But it’s hard to truly accept. Even if you’re dependent on others for money, shelter, food, at the end of the day, each breathe you take, each moment you experience is your own. You can choose to keep feeling sorry for yourself and being a victim or you can find excitement in everything you do, see opportunities and possibilities in everything you’re involved with, and impact the world in any way you wish.

As Ganhdi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.



On the Road: Trekking the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu – Day 5 – Climbing Machu Picchu

Note: If you’re just interested in a particular day of the hike or only Machu Picchu, jump to that specific day here: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5 – Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu. The final destination. After 4 long days, over 32+ hours hiking, about 60 miles up and down mountains, we were about to make the final ascension up to Machu Picchu. The guides woke us up at 4am so we could be at the bridge to the base of the mountain by 5am. The gates open at that time to begin climbing and it’s a foot race to the top to be the first in line to pass through Machu Picchu. There was magic in the air. You could feel it. I felt a sense of excitement so great it was like a non-stop adrenaline rush — and we hadn’t even started walking to the bridge yet. This was going to be an amazing morning.

As we walked out of the hostel, the reason they ask you to bring a head-mounted flashlight became apparently obvious. It was pitch black in the direction of the bridge, no lighting had been put up there. Groups of travelers were walking together with flashlights and we made sure to simply stay in the glowing light around them to see.

After we had our entry passes to Machu Picchu checked(there’s a daily cap on the number of people allowed in every day) we approached the steps. They were basically half-crumbled rock steps that were very steep going directly up the mountain. If you can imagine being on a StepMaster with the highest setting, constantly using it for about an hour to an hour and a half, and without any lights — that was what it seemed like.

High stepping along the way: the excitement of what was ahead and the warmth of your body as it began to sweat made the experience feel like having an amazing workout combined with a heightened sense of accomplishment. In the midst of this rush, I felt no pain and simply kept going up the steps with no other thoughts besides how great this all felt, passing many people who had stopped for breaks. The dawn began casting a low blue light on the steps, allowing me to see them for the first time that morning without a flashlight. I looked up and could finally see the gate of the entrance to Machu Picchu.

At the top, 5:45am, I was joined by many travelers who, like me, had rushed to the top and left their groups behind. We were around the first 40 people in the line and you can see my silly excitement at that moment where I had a German guy next to me take this picture:

Soon the sun was beginning to rise and buses from Aguas Calientes(for those who didn’t want to climb) were arriving. The gates opened promptly at 6:30am and I went in waiting for everyone else with Young Miguel:

The sun starts shining over Machu Picchu around 7-7:30am as it rises above the mountain ranges in the distance and many people hurry to the highest point to get the best vantage point. You can easily get startled with amazement the moment you enter. It was truly surreal seeing Machu Picchu first hand as opposed to pictures. To think humans created such an intricate city on the edge of a mountain is remarkable. The entrance we came through had us right at the bottom of some terraced steps that were likely used for growing crops.

Typically you recognize Machu Picchu from an aerial angle or birds-eye view. When you’re on the ground, you get to touch, feel and walk through the actual passageways which provides a completely new perspective. For instance there were tiny aqua-ducts that irrigated the crops and distributed water:

Some small homes were collapsed, but you could peek in:

Just to get a feel for how stunning the passageways were:

One of the questions I had about Machu Picchu, and I figured it may simply have been a mystery, was where the rocks for the structures came from. Near the top of the terraces you can easily see that there was a massive rock quarry and even evidence of where the rock was cut:

This rock shows how they cut them by creating notches and then flattening it out after it was broken:

One of the gardens has been replanted with possible crops including a large tree with coca leaves:

Just like the architecture at the temple in Cuzco, Qorikancha, you can see the very accurate cuttings of each stone on these walls:

Whenever the stones were this precisely cut, you can tell the area was a sacred place like a temple.

The incas were very fond of the sun, so obviously there was a sun dial:

The entire grounds of Machu Picchu are actually very large when you walk and would take half a day to see everything. We said our goodbyes to each other after the guided tour and continued to walk around for many more hours through the different areas.

 

 

 

There were many more Incan ruins to see here including Huyana Picchu which is where many of the aerial views of Machu Picchu are taken from. There’s also the Sacred Valley and Incan Bridge, but after the trek and long morning, we decided to start getting ready to head back to Cuzco on our train.

While passing by on the train, we caught our last glimpse and allowed the moment to sink in: we had just experienced Machu Picchu.

 

I’ll never forget what Old Miguel told me the night before at dinner: “When you see it, close your eyes. Imagine your biggest aspirations and dreams. Then open them and realize you are looking at just that for an entire civilization.” Yes, it was a humble reminder of the amazing capabilities of humans and depths of our impact on this world. I’m so glad to have experienced it and would recommend it to anyone.