Florida greeted us with a week of promised rain showers and no beach days. We were stressed by the disruption and cabin fever. The next evening we went to the beach. My daughter reached for my hand and then asked me if I had felt nervous when I had started preschool. I had failed to see through my own stress that I had not given her the encouragement and time to open up. I was met by my own tide of emotion. Just maybe planning to do nothing is more significant than always planning to do something. And sometimes perhaps we need a tide to wash through to help us see that.Read More
Fellow Mommas, why do Mondays feel like Fridays sometimes? I had a vision of starting this week awake, rejuvenated, and ready to take it on. Supermom versus the world! However, when my eyes opened this morning, I felt as though I had not slept in days. The week ahead seems daunting. My body tense. The stress was already working its way through my muscle into my mind. We have all been there, probably more times than not. We carry on, check off items on our To Do List, juggle a work schedule, and take care of those we need to. Of course, we are happy to do so. I always feel fulfilled in doing such, but sometimes that demands more energy that we might have available within us.
Yet, when you hit that "wall" do you recognize it? Permit yourself to listen to your body and mind? Do you slow down to recharge?
In Portugal, for a small period, I found myself completely alone in the gardens surrounding Palacio da Pena. For a moment, I felt the compulsion to rush and catch up with my husband and daughter. But I stopped myself. I concentrated on taking deep breaths. To take in my surroundings completely. The silence. The air. The smell. The peace. The things that I would frequently miss in my everyday life.
I sat in the middle of the path, and I watched the fog roll in around me. It felt like an embrace. An acknowledgment of sorts from Mother Nature that self-care is essential. A lesson from Her to root yourself in the moment and realize that the energy of your environment can be healing if interpreted correctly. The acceptance that such moments are not selfish. That those moments are essential because I am taking better care of my family by taking better care of myself.
What do you when you hit your "wall"? Where do you find yourself most able to recharge?
"When you travel with your children you are giving them something that can never be taken away. Experience, exposure, and a way of life." -Pamela T. Chandler
As parents, we believe providing our daughter with the opportunity to view the world's beauty, diversity, and to cultivate respect and appreciation for all, is of the utmost importance. Our wish for her to recognize the value of travel, yet remain grounded and humble without a sense of entitlement that can come with such experiences. Let's not BS here, at almost three years old how can we expect her to grasp that concept? (Quo the full blown temper tantrum that took place today - hitting at me and throwing herself onto the pavement - over me saying no to a second dessert).
My expectations are realistic for her first European visit. No, I do not presume she will remember the tour of Lisbon or the all the historical stories I have presented to her this past week (geeky history buff over here). Yes, I expect that scoop of gelato to be more important to her right now than all the time and effort my husband and I put into planning this trip.
Still, with the little memories, she will retain of these trips during her early years I am confident that the experiences, encounters, and environments will shape the person she will become.
Her appreciation for adventure will continue to blossom. Her world will become bigger than the city she calls home. And her understanding of the good and the evil that makes up humanity will be well-formed.
So for now, I will take deep breaths as I attempt to peel my kicking and screaming child off the pavement - while mouthing silent apologies to those around me. And I will relish the "WOWs" that escape her lips as she wanders through the foggy forest of Parque e Palácio Nacional da Pena.
“Few romances can ever surpass that of the granite citadel on top of the beetling precipices of Machu Picchu, the crown of Inca Land.” – Hiram Bingham
Peru is a spectacular country comprised of captivating culture and unmatched landscapes. It's creative inspiration and energy will greet you the moment you arrive. I understand why people visit and then make the decision to stay permanently. I know a few. My trip was planned to photograph the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for the one hundred year anniversary of the discovery of the settlement by Hiram Bingham. A guide, a group of porters, and creatives – with our bags packed with heavy equipment – set out to document the trail on a six-day hike condensed to three days. Ambitious, yes. By doing so, we were able to avoid other groups traveling the path which meant capturing better imagery. Then the realization of what that meant set in – countless more miles to trek per day, less time to stop to create photographs, and less rest in the evenings.
I will post more on the hike later on. I literally could write a novel on the experience. For this post, my focus is the destination. A place where ancient spirits float among the visitors and llamas are sacred. Welcome to Machu Picchu.
At the last camp, we awoke at 3 AM to reach the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) before sunrise. Inti Punku is the entry point from the South. Inti Punku is dedicated to the cult of the Inti, the Sun God. As we climbed the last few steps the whole sanctuary opened up to us. It took our breath away. When you look up images of Inti Punku, you will see people sitting on the stairs quietly gazing. You are so utterly awestruck this is all you are capable of in those first moments. From this location, you can see the sun rise over the entire mountain ranges surrounding Machu Picchu.
Giving the volume of tourists that are bused up to the site daily, we were fortunate enough to have some time alone amongst the ruins. It was a privilege and honor. Sitting in silence on the agricultural tiers of Machu Picchu (which feel like they drop down into oblivion) I was alone with the echoing of my thoughts. The undeniability of spiritual energy and stillness enveloping me was the most emotional collision I have ever experienced.
The jungle works desperately to reclaim the ancient sites throughout the region. Our guide informed us that archaeologists cannot operate fast enough to preserve what has already been discovered and simultaneously uncover what remains. It is believed that only a fragment of what was built by the Incas has been unearthed. Looking out over the endless mountains the understanding of just how much is still hidden, still unlearned of such a prosperous and advanced civilization for its time, is enigmatic.
For me, Peru was not a trip. It was a pilgrimage. Go. Pack a bag and a camera. Get on a plane now. I promise you will find a deeper level of your soul there.