Finding Magic

My nephew is going to turn twelve this year. He is one of those kids who is fascinated by the world and soaks up knowledge that outdoes many well-read adults. He has been waiting for pictures of Maccu Piccu, and I have been wishing I could share this experience with him. As I ponder this fine young man, and my life, and this blessed journey I have been on, I can’t help but think of the things I hope he finds and carries with him into his adulthood. Likewise, I hope that I can remember these gifts and keep them on whatever journeys life still has in store for me. In any case, Michael, this one is for you.

Some places you will visit in this world will astound you at first sight. But there are hidden treasures that you will find if you have patience and an open mind, and look for beauty wherever you are. Chile exploded on me in all its glorious blues, greens and greys. I was immediately enchanted, with the fascination of a first kiss. Then there is Peru. Peru with its raw energy, its roughness around the edges, didn’t give up its secrets so easily. The beauty and mystery of Peru lay covered beneath an exterior that was not polished for the tourists. While Chile flaunts it, finding magic in Peru requires (for me) more than the chemical attraction of lust at first sight.

Peru can show you how to dream big. In this world, the only reason many things seem impossible is because someone said they were, and people chose to believe it. It takes a special person to ignore the constraints people and society put on us, and to know that anything is possible.

The Uru people, who predate the Incas, live on reed islands that they make themselves on Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia. They collect the roots of the totora reeds that grow in the lake and fashion them together to form the islands, which they then anchor to the bottom of the lake. They pile the reeds on top of the masses of roots and then place their living structures on the reeds.

This is a demonstration of how they make the islands:

For transportation, the Urus make boats out of the same reeds.

Uru woman harvesting Totora reeds:

Since their islands are constantly decomposing, they have to constantly rebuild them. Big dreams usually take a lot of effort but they’re a lot more exciting than any alternative I’ve seen.

Peru can show you that magic exists in this world, that there is more than what we can see, touch and feel. Here is a place where shaman healers still practice their craft, a place with energy so strong that your emotions seem to go on their own journey. Whether you are standing at dawn in the misty mountain tops, staring at ancient Incan ruins:

Walking to the Sun Gate where orchids drip down into the path:

Or wandering a small town where Incan aqueducts still carry water down the streets:

Whatever you want in this world, do not wait. Do not put off your dreams; do not hide your hopes. Find what makes you feel alive and what gives you joy and pursue it with reckless abandon. Always have multiple dreams. Seriously, I’m talking like 15 or 20! That way when one doesn’t work out, you don’t have to stop and be devastated. You can pick up the pieces and follow a different dream. Failures are gifts. They let us walk down another road we otherwise might not have seen. If I hadn’t lost the fight for my house, I wouldn’t be writing to you about Peru, I wouldn’t know its magic. Failures are our greatest blessing.

Love big, dream big and live big. Everything is possible.

What about you? What dreams have you lived, and what dreams are you working to build?

About stephwithoutborders

I decided to sell (almost) everything I own and buy a plane ticket to South America. This is all about why and how, and what happens next.
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2 Responses to Finding Magic

  1. Heidi says:

    I am living one dream right now and working towards another. I am so happy for your present “silver lining” and excited to see what happens next for both of us.

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