In an eco-restaurant in northern Peru, a dozen people lunch outside at a long table and share their travel stories: Halong Bay, Vietnam after our military left; Zimbabwe before the landowners fled; Xian, China after the long-buried warriors emerged; the castles of Ireland; a boat trip to Antarctica; lions in Tanzania; the grimness of the Ganges,
Now we have ventured to this land where the Moche people lived centuries before the Inca came and conquered and whose story and magnificent pottery and gold and silver craftsmanship are only now being unearthed.
The travel-telling happened yesterday and I was astounded. For one woman, this trip is her 23d with Overseas Adventure Travel. Others had wandered equally widely, picking tours by time and place. As I look around the table, I wonder how these sturdy folks looked in their youths, before divorces, deaths of spouses, gray hair and grandchildren (now taken on trips as well). Despite some bad knees and hips, thkis gang would rather travel than do almost anything else. For many, travel is the single most important purchase after food and rent. This is not a group that dresses chic or has had "work done" (though one 73-year-old climbed onto a hotel fire escape, then walked out on a roof to retrieve his new and newly washed Joseph A Banks briefs that had fallen three stories). They are people who tread lightly across the planet, packing for two weeks in one carry-on and a backpack, Who never keep anyone else waiting. Who think nothing of spending weeks in one pair of walking shoes.
I feel as if I have met the me of my future -- a confirmation that I can continue to do what I love even as the years creep up. When I get to a fork in the road, as Yogi Berra advised, I will take it.
Ps if you go to see the Moche sites in Trujillo and Chiclaya, Peru --such as the Huaca de la Luna and Sipan --hire Miguel Alvan as your guide. He's terrific!!
In Lima, I have only praise for guide Dante Minaya