Volunteering in Cusco, Peru was a good idea. =) Even though it was 5 years ago, I still remember every little detail: living in a residencia with 20 travelers from all over the world, hiking a mile up a mountain every morning to volunteer, teaching 20 rowdy 5 year olds, trekking a mile in the dusty roads of Cusco at night for Spanish classes, witnessing a bajillion glittery stars paint the heavens at 3 miles above sea level, roughing it out for 3 days in Lake Titicaca, busting out the camping skills, dining on questionable cookery, learning Quechuan the hard way.
I'd do it all over again. A small luggage and an open-mind. It's an extremely simple lifestyle.
And like any memorable trip, it's the colorful chats with fellow wanderlusters that are the best. Random convos in the residencia gathering area, long talks on 7hr bus rides, tete-a-tetes at the local stomping grounds. These are what separates travelers from tourists, no? They certainly are a different breed. For instance, V's mom gave me a Marc Jacobs tote with a funky design on it. I'm not much into designer bags, but this particular one had an unassuming exterior. It didn't look like a status bag. Plus, it was big enough to throw in travel essentials, so it became my carry-on to South America. The tote certainly caught everyone's attention and when informed that it's a Marc Jacobs - nobody knew what I was talking about. Nobody. You mean to tell me 20 people from all over the world didn't know ... Marc Jacobs? Hah! My kind of people. I love you guys!
Anyways, for more pictorial spread and full 'llama drama' recap, pop on over to my old Xanga account. (Don't lie - you know you had one back in the day!)
besos ... jin.