I just returned from a fascinating three week vacation in Peru and Ecuador where I visited the sacred city of Machu Picchu, the lush Amazon jungle, and the pre-historic Galapagos Islands. This was not your typical resort, luxury vacation where I would kick back and lounge by the pool drinking pina coladas. I climbed the steps of Machu Picchu, sloshed through mud of the jungle, and trekked over the lava rocks in the Galapagos. We (wife and I) woke early each day and was in bed by 10 each night. It was not partying until dawn and sleeping until noon. Nonetheless, it was an amazing trip that continues to unfold in my mind, gradually impacting my outlook in subtle ways.
After a short train ride (literally a short train consisting of two cars and a short ride of 90 minutes) from the city of Cusco I arrived at the village of Machu Picchu. In the morning mist we climbed the ancient Inca-built granite stairs up a portion of the Inca trail; we could not see 20 yards in front of us. On finding what our guide proclaimed “our spot” we waited. As the mist cleared, as if by magic, the sacred city appeared:
The impact was extraordinary; it took our breath away. How could this be done? As we wandered through the ruins it was a mystical experience. The architecture was amazing; each stone weighing several tons fit together like a puzzle, no mortar, no modern technology. It was done by human beings dedicated to the task of building a magnificent terraced city 12,000 feet up the side of a mountain in the Andes.
From this man-made wonder of the world, we flew to the Amazon rain forest to absorb the natural wonder of the world. Even with the mud up to our calves, the mosquitoes, and the humidity, there was no detracting from the awesome experience of being in one of the most verdant places on earth. A truly enchanted forest in which one speaks in whispers not wanting to disturb the invisible inhabitants:
And then we were off to Ecuador, the equator, and the prehistoric Galapagos Islands, a series of volcanic islands under strict government control to preserve this habitat for rare, beautiful birds, fish, and animals. We were repeatedly instructed by the naturalists who guided us through these unique islands — each different from the other — that the only thing we should leave behind is our footprints. Once again we marveled at miracle of nature. In the preserve, all of the animals have the right away; humans wait as the slow moving tortoise blocks the path:
And its friend, the iguana:
We left South America feeling enriched, rejuvenated, and transformed by the tranquility. In each place we visited, we were aware of how the people and the animals of these countries work in harmony with nature and with each other. We were left with a sense that all things are possible.
[Dr. Dreyfus is a nationally recognized clinical psychologist, relationship counselor, sex therapist, and life coach in the Santa Monica - Los Angeles area treating low sexual desire, premature ejaculation, sexual addictions, drug and alcohol abuse as well marriage and relationship communication and intimacy issues. The profits from his latest book, LIVING LIFE FROM THE INSIDE OUT along with his other five books, are being donated to Chrysalis: Changing Lives Through Jobs and Make A Wish Foundation. All of his books are available on Amazon.com. Please become a fan on my Facebook Fan Page by indicating "like" on the page by clicking here. You can also find more tools to help you experience a more fulfilling life by clicking here to visit my website.]