How Machu Picchu made me discover a lot about myself

himani mishra nepal

Travelling is about emotions. They spark wonder in you. And this heart of mine was made to travel the world. I only discovered it much later in life because I stepped out of the country in my 30s. My first trip out, changed my worldview indeed but what it changed the most, was me.

For me the first journey out of my own land was to explore Machu Picchu. It was to challenge myself. I didn’t want to land up in a place that was simply another city, another mall, another boat ride along a fancy hotel or a high street where the big brands blow kisses at you. I wanted to unravel history for myself. There is something about history and something about nature combined with history. Nothing is simple about Machu Picchu from its origins to what it takes to ‘achieve’ getting access to it. You want it, but does Machu Picchu want you? Imagine a place that determines who reaches it to view it.

The thought itself was just so adventurous that I decided to make that my first overseas vacation.

If you have not been there yet, here’s a quick reckoner. Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti way way back in the 1400s. It is so high up in the Andes and has steep drops to the Urubamba River on three sides. Guides and stories speculate why the Incas built the city so high up. A recent report noted that the reason for this was quakes that led stones so high up to break and the tribes used those stones to build that city. So you can imagine, the wonder and mystery around the place is on our conversations until now.

This trip, talked to me and my soul. For as a first time outside of India I realised that making trips isn’t about seeing places. It’s about feeling them.

It’s about discovering. We might feel stuck in a rut but travel is the ideal thing to test yourself. It pushes people to their limits and gets them outside their comfort zone. In that sense my first journey was my #LifeChangingPlace.

Some travel to learn something new like a language, a new cuisine, a different culture, or a deeper appreciation of spirituality and adventure. I travel to discover myself. A friend of mine, who travels a lot used to say, the more time we spend away from familiar routines, the more we learn to embrace the unknown, be adventurous and abandon ourselves.

Also Read: 10 tips to start out as a photographer

When I stepped out, I decided I will learn something new about myself. During this trip to Machu Picchu, I discovered I was a budding photographer. No, not via my rickety phone but a real camera. Just before I left I picked out my brother’s unused DSLR and thought if I am going to such a gorgeous place could I put it to use.
And so I did. I started googling how to be a good photographer but soon realised I would be going into technicalities. So without stressing myself, I decide to focus and shoot. At the end of the trip I realised the photography took me to not just explore another side of me, but it made me comfortable with myself. I was okay with my shoots. It was something new I learnt. I broke away from my selfie mode, type of pictures I have been sick of.

Whoever said travel is truly an education. When you travel you learn so much, opening your mind and heart and becoming a better person.