Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fellowship in the Andes

It's that time of year again... when my guest bedroom gets a gear bomb dropped right in the middle of it.
Duffel bags, electronics, solar panels, packs, sleeping bags, layers and layers of well broken in clothing, boots with the last trip's dirt caked in the tread... spread from wall to wall.
It's time to put my work clothes on and head out.

It's also around this time I do start to get a bit antsy...ready for an adventure...primed to breath some foreign air. I'm convinced that I'm genetically wired to implode if I don't escape the confines of the US at least once every 3 months. Can't say that I've tested out this theory in the past 20 years...but I'm guessing if I pushed the 3 month limit, something would would happen akin to the dude that had the creature pop out of his belly in Alien. I'll just continue to not test it.

As I've returned from expeditions over the years and recounted tales of adventures from far away lands, one comment has been repeated to me countless times from many of my good pals... "Dude, I want to come with you on one of your trips some day. No, a trip sometime that I can join you."

Well, I listened and here we go...
Last year I laid it out there to a circle of my good friends that I would be putting together a trip to Peru to do our "Hidden Inca Trail" trek for exclusively friends and family...not knowing what kind of response I'd get. Be careful what you ask for.

This weekend 30 of my good friends and I will depart from our respective home airports and head for Lima, Peru with what will unquestionably be one of the most rowdy groups to ever set foot in South America. We will spend the next 2 weeks exploring the ancient city of Cusco, tromping through the rugged peaks of the Andes, getting our hands dirty with a day of community service in Chilipaua and most likely drinking a fair share of pisco sour along the way. My shaman friend, Sebastian will accompany us as a beacon of goodness throughout our journey. This man is pure magic with just thoughts of him making me feel cleaner and more grounded.

One of the joys of my job as an expedition guide is providing a venue for like minded folks to come together and bond over powerful experiences. I have been witness to dozens of life long relationships that were galvanized on the flanks of great peaks around the world. Climbing a mountain or trekking through remote alpine valleys places individuals in a wonderfully insulated world that requires bonding on a level that is difficult to attain in the ho-hum civilized world we walk around in day to day. As we sweat together weaving up and down these deep gorges and high passes, we go through our Heroes Journey together...establishing alliances, facing the dragon and sharing our tales. It is through this process that only we know...our own little secret that can never fully be told through photos and videos... that we are bonded forever.

I will watch with great joy as friends from my different worlds collide in one beautiful blend of adventure, culture and fellowship...forever to be linked by our shared walk.