Hello, all!

After the difficult hike up to Humantay Lake, we had to make the decision on how we would reach AguasCalientes. Originally we were determined to complete the entire process on our own with only means of transportation being collectivos and a lot of walking. After the first hike kicked our bus we settled on a decision to compromise: we would take a bus to Hydroelectica and then hike to AguasCalientes. Through our hostel (Pariwana Hostel) we booked the shuttle ($15), rode for 5 hours over the steep cliffs along the Urubamba river, ate lunch, and then began the hike along the train track and river for 3 hours with a group of Mexican girls and one French girl. Remember it is an active train track so don’t get too close to it as it passes by (as Analeise learned when she tried taking a photo of the train and it briefly missed her). By the end of it, Analeise, Ana (the French girl), and myself were the only ones left after taking our time, stopping for snack and water breaks, and taking so many photos.

 

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When you begin Googling, you will see a blog post about the “reality” of Machu Picchu: long lines, crowds, and rain. Unfortunately, this was exactly what we got. We got in line for the bus to Machu Picchu (which I would recommend purchasing the night before- $25 roundtrip) at around 5:15AM and…oh. my. goodness. the line seemed never ending. It was difficult to not get discouraged as we headed towards the end of the- what felt like- mile long line. Thankfully the line went faster than we anticipated. It was probably about an hour later that we were on the buses up the mountain to the entrance of the Machu Pacchu.

We completed the Mountain Hike ($65 with entrance into Machu Picchu) within the 7AM to 10AM slots. Although we stayed much later at the very top in hope that the view would clear up. The hike was definitely bad, but it wasn’t terrible. Its countless steps, slippery when wet, but if you keep a slow and steady pace eventually you will reach the top- which I pray is a clear and remarkable view for you. Unfortunately we were among the clouds, getting drizzled on, and phenomenally cold.

The day wasn’t a loss though, as when we arrived back down we got to witness the Machu Picchu everyone raves about. I’ll let the photos of the remarkable landscape with its constantly rolling clouds and lush greenery do the explaining. Of course I met up with my new llama friend and took some photos of him/her. I think they are some of my favorite photos ever taken!

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(Iphone)

In AguasCalientes we stayed at EcoPackers ($14 a night) right next to the station we finished our trek at.  It was a 6 person coed dorm. Although a little loud due to being right next to the track, it was definitely one of those hostels that you make as fun as you want. There is a bar on the rooftop where breakfast is also served. One of the best nights of our trip was hanging out with Phoebe and George again and our roommates Daniel, a German medical student, and Ahem, an Argentinian father and teacher. We ended up chatting into the early hours, switching between French, Spanish, and English, from everything about how plastic is destroying our environment to following our dreams. Ahem shared with us it had always been his dream to ride a bike throughout South America. “If I don’t follow my dream how can I teach my young students to follow theirs?” That is when I realized how lucky I was to be living one of my dreams at that exact moment: being able to meet people from all over because we share a mutual fascination on exploring the beautiful world we live in.

And man, what a beautiful world we live in.

Until next time, friends!

-Mary Anna

Travel

Peru- Hidroelectrica Trek

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Travel

Bernkastel, Germany

Holy smokes what a day!

Hello, all! I hope everyone is doing really well! Today has been a ridiculously long day. It started out at 4AM German time to intense wind crashing against my window and snow/sleet falling. After breakfast, Laura, Per, and Teryn, my crewmembers and friends, decided to go for a little walk. To my surprise it was a walk down snow covered vineyards to the nearby quaint village of Bernkastel. The town is very popular in the summer for its many vineyards and boat cruises on the Middle Mosel river. Cobble streets are filled with tiny boutiques and cafés. The buildings are really quite old, one from 1490 to be exact. Try and picture that! As Laura said, Bernkastel is exactly how you would picture a German town to be, especially down to the decorum. The town has a huge down period in the winter so we basically had the entire center to ourselves. It was a pleasant afternoon walk full of much needed fresh air with wonderful friends. Continue reading

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Travel

Osaka, Japan

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Hello all!

Here are a few snapshots of a wonderful layover in Osaka, Japan. Cass, Alyssa, and I started the day early and eager to explore as much as we could. All we really knew was the general destination as we purchased our tickets from the train station with the help of a friendly clerk. In fact, every single person we interacted with was incredibly nice and helpful, even those in the train station.

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Personal

Jealousy-Goggles

Tonight I’m going to briefly write about something that I have struggled with for over a year now and something that I feel as if many people as well struggle with, some on a daily basis.

I’m going to talk about jealousy-goggles.

Sometimes I get very jealous. It’s hard not to when my every day involves watching co-workers on social media having the time of their lives on boats in Capri or walking around old towns in Romania. This month has been especially difficult as I’ve sat on reserve in Houston for what feels like a very long time (almost two weeks). But as I am now going back onto “Off days” and will soon be making my way back to my hometown where I can see my family, friends, and cats, I am forcing myself to look at my life with a different perspective. Instead of living with jealousy goggles, I am reflecting on the moments in my own life that I feel very fortunate to have experienced. It’s all about perspective. Sure, it sucks when you aren’t used for work, but it’s not always going to be sunshine and Tokyo.

This doesn’t just happen in the aviation business, but in every day life. With the huge constant presence that social media has in our lives, we are all infinity tied to one another (if we so choose to be). It is not uncommon for many of us, including myself, to start off our days reviewing Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. to see what in people’s lives we’ve missed overnight.

Being tied to one another’s social media accounts can be a good thing sometimes. It can be inspiring, motivating, and knowledgeable just as a “Dream board” you would hang on your wall. I vision myself living the life of a successful travel writer, a determined creative director, and a creative, persistent photographer. I’ll scroll through feeds and see work that one day I hope to live up to.

The moment that becomes self-destructive is when we stop feeling inspired and turn our perspective into that of jealousy and resentment. The last two weeks have been an on going battle for me as I work to be okay with the situation I am currently in. For those that work 9-5 jobs, they may jealously look at those that post a new photo every day of a new place. For those that are constantly moving, they may jealously look to those that post about security and stability. The point is, one might want what the other has. One might want what many others have.

This post is mainly for myself as I have had to sit down, revisit old Facebook albums, and rethink my perspective on life. Yes, it has been slow for me for a little while, but no that does not mean that life stops. Really, it just took a reality-slap and a good, hard look at my past (and a look into my future) to finally feel okay with where I am again.

So, dear reader, if this makes any sense to you, and if you understand how I feel, listen when I say: Take off those damn jealousy-goggles. You have things that people want. You have goals to work for. Your life does not pause or stop because you don’t have it all. And, I think you’re pretty cool already. So make a list of things that make you proud; it doesn’t have to be full of fancy, expensive shit. It can be anything that makes you smile and makes you feel good for experiencing it.

Read more for mine. I’ve gotten to do cool shit outside work and because of work. I need to remember this more often

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Travel

Tbilisi, Georgia

 

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Flying into Tbilisi, tall abandoned cement apartment buildings lined up like Tetris were in great contrast to the open landscape full of valleys and mountains. I was able to get a new stamp into my passport, which is a huge relief as I was starting to feel a little antsy of working the same routes every other day. As soon as we got to the hotel, Cass and I hit the ground running.

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