Machu Picchu: As Long as We’re Together

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One of the biggest areas of growth for me has been trying to be more tranquila when I am responsible for other people. As a perfectionist, when I plan things, I want them to be to-the-tee executed exactly how I had envisioned them in my head. I realized that I hadn’t quite mastered this milestone during our recent trip to Machu Picchu.

We had spent more than five weeks planning the minute details, playing everything by the book, and spending a fraction of the money that we had in previous years. It was a lot of work, and the day before we left, we thought we had everything planned perfectly. After over a month of worrying and scurrying, we finally reached the Promised Land (Machu Picchu) and could just enjoy the trip with our 12 girls. All of them were visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World for the first time, despite it being within four hours from home.

The first day was great, as we were within our budget for food and had a painless journey into the city Aguas Calientes. We visited aguas termales to relax after a long trip and a somewhat chillier night than expected. The girls didn’t want to leave their newfound favorite hobby. They brought joy to many families who sought the healing tendencies of the aguas termales but ended up receiving a bit of extra healing from laughing with our chicas. Then, we showered and ate some much-needed food (of course, pizza, what else would we eat?).

The next morning, when we met with our tour guide, the unexpected happened: he had asked us where our tickets were to take the bus up to Machu Picchu. It seemed like a simple and understandable step in our journey, but we were completely taken by surprise. I wracked my brain for every checkpoint and realized that we simply had not known about this leg of the trip. There had been a miscommunication with the booking company, and it left us without tickets.

On a normal day, this would have been a minor issue, but our credit card wasn’t working with the nearest ATM, and the cash register wouldn’t accept our type of card. Thus, we were stuck in Aguas Calientes for about three hours speaking with officials and trying to create a solution. It was the exact situation that I sought to avoid at all costs, especially when the enjoyment of the girls was at stake. I didn’t want them to leave Aguas Calientes without seeing an important piece of their history or having a good time.

Our ever-mature girls had not complained once, and they were extremely confused at my flustered and frustrated state. They kept reassuring me that everything would work out and that at least we were all in Aguas Calientes together. This wasn’t the first time that they amazed me by their maturity, but it was definitely one of the most prominent.

Three hours later, we were handing over our entrance tickets and enjoying the incredibly amazing work of their ancestors. The looks on their faces were priceless as they were finally able to witness a place they had seen only in pictures. They asked brilliant questions of the tour guide who was quite surprised by their enthusiasm and, of course, the girls took tons of pictures for their parents. We left several hours later with empty stomachs but full minds, ready to share everything that we had learned with parents who had never visited this amazing place.

Despite things not going exactly how I had envisioned it, the girls had an incredible time and were gracious about every part of the weekend. Reflecting on the trip nearly two weeks later really puts into perspective how little the details mean compared to the actual experience. We wanted the girls to have a great time and they did just that. We didn’t have time to see everything but that didn’t and shouldn’t matter, as long as we’re together. That is the main takeaway our Chicas Dinámicas taught me, and I’ll definitely remember their lesson the next time my perfectionism tries to take control.


–  Alika