• Guest Contributor

Travel That Has Shaped Us, Part 3: How I Fell in Love with Travel

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

This piece is part of an ongoing semi-monthly series in which we will explore how travel has shaped our lives - who we are and how we see the world. We will include multiple voices in the course of the series, and we welcome YOUR submissions.


When we look over our lives, we can see milestones and events that have shaped us along the way. We can observe the ways they’ve shaped our worldviews, our sense of culture, our characters, and shaped the way we look at others who are different from us. Our team is exploring the traveling we've done over the course of our lives so far and how those travels have shaped who we are up to this point. Our hope is that this multi-part series will prompt you to reflect on your own experiences and discern how your life has been impacted by your adventures and journeys.


the freedom journey

About seven years ago, I started the long journey to personal freedom and joy.  I was grappling with failed efforts to return to the workforce after becoming a mom of two girls fifteen months apart. On top of that, we received a new diagnosis of autism for my older daughter which meant brand new adjustments and just trying to figure it all out.

I read a life changing book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book speaks about leading a life of integrity, personal freedom and attainable joy no matter the circumstances. Two of my favorite quotes from the book are:


"We can have heaven on earth. We don’t have to wait until we die."

"Say no when you want to say no. Say yes when you want to say yes."


falling in love with travel in peru

For a ‘milestone’ birthday, I said a huge YES to a trip to Peru with my old college friend. Having young kids, most of our vacations in previous years had been to beaches and other kid-friendly destinations, so this was my first taste of ‘adventure’ travel. I had done smaller trips on my own but this time I was going away for eight whole days! 

My friend and I decided to take an ‘escorted tour’ to Peru which means that you get to travel with a group and have a tour guide throughout the trip. The trip included two nights in Lima, one night in the Sacred Valley, one night in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) and two nights in Cuzco. An escorted tour is easy because your airfare, all ground logistics, hotels, some meals, park entrance fees, and airport transfers are all taken care of. As a first time adventurer, this was a definite plus to have an agenda already planned and ready to go. We have done many more since then!


We arrived in Lima early afternoon and met up with the rest of our travel group.


Out of the whole group, my suitcase didn’t arrive (yikes!) so the tour guide had to walk me to the grocery store for basic toiletries. Lesson number one: always have a change of clothes and basics in your carry on!

We spent two nights at sea level in Lima and then flew to Cuzco which stands at an altitude of 11,000 feet above sea level to get to Machu Picchu. The tour guides warn you about the possibility of altitude sickness and encourage you to take the coca leaf mostly in the form of a tea. Most hotels in Cuzco will serve coca tea in the lobby. You may know that the coca leaf is the main ingredient in cocaine but don’t worry, a few cups of tea will not have the same effect as cocaine 😉 Once we arrived in Cuzco, I did not have altitude sickness but I felt some aching in my joints (also due to lower oxygen levels).


From Cuzco, we took the train to Aguas Calientes and then a bus takes you up most of the way up to the ruins. Machu Picchu was amazing. I will not soon forget the exhilarating feeling of being in the Sacred Valley and then finally getting to look down at this Incan wonder in the middle of the Andes Mountains. I look at the pictures fondly and celebrate the start of my love affair with travel. I found the adventure and spontaneity I didn’t know I needed. Travel gave this mama her groove back.


No matter where we go, travel shapes us in ways we could not predict or imagine. The world is so big and full of limitless opportunities for growth and the expansion of our minds and our hearts. We share these stories to inspire you to reflect on how you've been shaped by your own journeys. And what about tomorrow's adventures? How might your future travels develop you, your family, and your circle of friends into the people you want to be? We'd love to hear from you about how you've been shaped by your travel experiences.


Join us in two weeks for another installment of our series, "Travel That Has Shaped Us." If you'd like to submit an autobiographical piece for our series, please contact us.


This blog piece was written by our client, Monga Abila. Head over to her blog, https://africanmamatravels.com/ to read more of her travel tales and tips!


More from this Series:

Part 1: Traveling with my Hubby by Christie Costello

Part 2: Building Relationships Cross Culturally by Christie Costello

Part 3: How I Fell in Love with Travel by Monga Abila

Part 4: Growing Up a Traveler by Christie Costello

Part 5: Moving to the Other Side of the World by Dacoda Maddalone

Part 6: Missions Travel by Christie Costello

Part 7: Fam-cations and Friend-cations by Christie Costello

Part 8: Bali & Growing in Gratitude by Dacoda Maddalone

Part 9: The Culture that Opened my Eyes by Anna Fowler


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