A mountain town in Peru changed my vision forever!

Not long ago I had this funky vision that opportunities were everywhere and that being able to prosper in this world was totally up to an individual not there surroundings or family name, but let me just say that I was completely wrong. This time last year I was traveling through the beautiful country of Peru in a small town called Ollantaytambo, which was located in a region known as the Sacred Valley. This valley is famous because of the many Inca ruins that exist there, but also because it sits right in the heart of the Andes mountains. That is what lead me there, it is a huge destination for budget backpackers who just want to live freely and become one with the mountains. During my stay in the Sacred Valley I made several different treks to other villages and camps, but one trek would change my outlook on the world forever. One day I decided that I was going to make the journey with some Norwegian guy that I had just met to a small mountain town called Aguas Calientes, which is also incredibly famous as people who backpack to Machu Picchu (the most famous of the Inca Ruins), almost always make the stopover here as it is the last village that they will pass along the route. This town is not accessible by road and the only way to enter is by train or hiking along the railroad tracks, but mind you the train costs roughly 200 USD, which for many who live in this town would never see. So as the locals did we followed the tracks! The experience was unforgettable as we met so many amazing people along the trail from all around the world and I heard so many amazing stories from the locals that were literally carrying 100 lb. bags of beans are their backs and I had been complaining of back pain! When we made it to the village a young girl came running up to greet my mate and I, and in Spanish ask me if we could please stay the night at there house! She quickly offered to give dinner, breakfast, and two individual beds for only 4 USD a night. After talking it over with my friend, we decided to take the sketchy offer and we started to follow this girl down these very unwelcoming small alleyways and I’m glad we did! When we entered her small home we were greeted right away with a small, but delicious meal of potatoes, rice, and beans. Over the meal, I got to know a bit more about the family through the youngest girl, which had found us by the tracks because she was the only one that knew Spanish, her mother and siblings only spoke Quechua, which is the Peruvian native language. After dinner we were shown to our room and we were so surprised! The beds were done up so beautiful and they had even lit a beautiful candle for us! They directed us to wash house, as they didn’t have running water and when we returned we decided to sit down and converse with the family that had clearly given us their only room and beds to try and make a small income. This is when the big box that I was living in completely shattered and life would forever be looked at differently. She asked me if she could view some photos from my hometown and travels, as she has never heard of such places before. When I showed her a picture of a beach in California, she was in complete awe and couldn’t stop asking if they were real. If beaches like that really do exist, prior to seeing that picture of the beach, her only experience with beaches were through stories that she thought were imaginary and made up by family over the years. The rest of the evening went on like this! She had no idea what β€œApple” was and in fact my cell phone had been the first she had ever touched. The family had never seen facebook or instagram and when I saw the look on their faces I couldn’t help but cry. Knowing that they would never be able to experience any of this life that so many of us take for granted. Not only because of the money, but also because of the world that they live in! Their constant battle is survival, when the family got done eating is what time to start looking and finding food for the next meal. I always had the impression that people can become anything they want to be and make something out of nothing, regardless of family background, education, and social class, but just like this family who had never left this village, there are millions of people out there right now who have no idea that there is more to the world than what their eyes can see. For millions of people β€œopportunities” will never come around, they will never see a book, touch a computer, or even ever have a filled belly! I was always aware of these issues, but this experience made it extremely clear that not everyone can dream! ✨

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