Ask the Alumni: Peru through the Eyes of a Discover Corps’ Traveler
Sometimes in travel, as in life, it is better to know what you don’t want from your experience than what you do desire. This was certainly the case for Kai, on her recent Peru: Children of the Andes trip. A seasoned traveler, Kai had chosen to travel by herself in the past but learned it was not for her.
“Previously, I have had the experience of being a solo traveler… planning the trip alone, traveling by myself the entire trip. I learned that I don’t like that! I need someone else to arrange details, introduce me to the culture and local people and customs and places, and other travelers to share experiences with.”
This awareness made her Peru volunteer vacation with Discover Crops a perfect match, as Kai details below:
Why did you choose Discover Corps versus another travel company?
I saw a movie (“Palomita”) about the Q’ewar Project in Andahuaylillas, Peru and immediately went to the web to see if I could visit the Project. I found Discover Corps right away. I spent time on the Discover Corps website and was impressed with its vision and after talking on the phone with a person from DC, and had very positive feelings about the organization.
What made you choose this trip in particular?
I specifically wanted to visit the Q’ewar Project, but the whole itinerary sounded intriguing to me.
Did you feel this trip was educational and played a role in immersing travelers into the region and local projects?
Very much so! Miguel was knowledgable and thoughtful about the projects and places he took us to…a great variety of significant and hopeful initiatives are happening there. And he introduced us to many local people who were so open and welcoming.
Tell us about the most memorable experience of your trip.
It’s difficult to choose one! For me, seeing the Q’ewar Project confirmed my excitement about its mission and accomplishments, and I was beyond impressed seeing their beautiful buildings and gardens. It was very inspiring seeing the intricate work the women do and hearing how Julio and Lucy are sensitive to and proactively approaching the needs of the women and their children. Another day, I had a deeply spiritual experience on my early morning horseback ride at Rainbow Mountain. The vastness and quiet serenity of the landscape, the gentle horse and accomplished man leading the horse, the nearly unreal, colorful mountain as well as the high altitude all contributed to one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.
What did you think of your guide? What about your accommodations?
Miguel was superb in every way. Discover Corps is so lucky to have him on board. He is a gentle, humble, generous, kind, knowledgeable man. Because he is so well-liked and well-known in Andahuaylillas, he was able to take us to places and introduce us to people that we otherwise would not have seen or met. I appreciated that he was also knowledgeable about Cusco, having grown up there…taking us to local restaurants, providing us with specially-trained tour guides for the Inka ruins. His hacienda in Andahuaylillas is very beautiful and quiet with gorgeous gardens and centrally located so we could walk to many places and events. We each had private rooms which were a plus. Our hotel in Cusco was also very lovely.
What tips would you give someone considering going on this trip?
Take lots of warm layers of clothing (Adrienne had done a good job of reminding us of this). If you know that your body needs more time to acclimate to the high altitude, consider going a couple of days before the trip begins.
What would you say was the most surprising thing you experienced on your trip that you weren’t expecting?
That, because of Miguel, we had such intimate access to local people.
What you would say to someone thinking about traveling to Peru with Discover Corps?
Go! You will be well cared for, you will be immersed in the culture and environment and have wonderful opportunities to meet local people.