Further Up & Further In: Cusco, Peru

Well, I live in Cusco. And though it's been harder to breathe at over 12,000 feet, I'm confident this is where I'm supposed to be this summer. The risk feels great, but the reward greater. As I sit here in a little coffee shop in San Blas, I'm reminded of how much of me comes alive in the context of new cultures. My little explorer heart feels as though I can truly exhale and pioneer like I was made to do. 

To me life often mirrors the ascent up a mountain, as if I'm constantly climbing toward the next season, the next stage or next step. I've read and re-read Hinds Feet on High Places so many times my copy is torn in several places, but this allegory resonates so deeply with me. 

I heard a friend once speak of this same allegory. She said the higher you climb, the thinner the air and the fewer the companions. And as I've nestled into my little home in the Andes for the summer, her words have been ringing in my ears as I realize how right she really was. 

As I climb higher, step forward, going further up and further in, the air certainly gets thinner. It's as if my body is responding to the next level and I must learn to compensate for the new altitude. The companions grow fewer as well. The crew that started at the bottom is no longer together and yet I find myself thankful for the unlikely ones beside me.

This summer I have the privilege of climbing with a team of 35 interns and co-leading with some of my dear friends. We've already trekked into remote villages in the Andes (and interacted with some of the most precious people who had never seen foreigners before), served an orphanage outside of Cusco, picked avocados, walked all over Cusco, and even attended a Peruvian salsa dance class. See below for some pictures and highlights from my time so far and keep up with me on Instagram