The station in Machu Picchu town was over-crowded and stuffy. Groups of people piled together leaving little space for manoeuvre. Around me, the snippets of many languages, Italian, Spanish, French and Hebrew, lots of people with lots to say, most likely about their visit to the ‘Lost City Of The Inca’s’.
I clambered around the masses looking for signs of an official with information. Eventually I grasped what was happening. A train had malfunctioned. There were also rumours of a minor landslide affecting a part of the tracks. Whatever the story, there were imminent delays of at least two hours.
Because of the uncertainty, it was necessary to stay close to the station. I went outside. The air was cooling rapidly, a feature of being surrounded at close range by towering peaks.
A year ago I was one of those bunches of touring groups, exhilarated by the wonders of Peru, a country mostly known around the world solely for its famous mountain. Those who take the time to visit usually discover Peru is a country of many treasures such as the floating islands on Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines and the ‘Living Inca Museum’ of Ollantaytambo, now my Peruvian home.
I did not feel like a tourist here and I knew I would never quite belong to this country either. It was an in between place. Just like waiting at the station for the right train. I had to wait. In my life, whilst I chose a path less travelled, I also had to wait. When you don’t know when your train is coming, that ‘wait’ can sometimes cause impatience unless you can find something useful to do meanwhile.
This is exactly how my life had been. I had waited, not without doing, for almost 14 years at this point. Sure, there had been huge transformation but still lots of waiting. And that nearly drove me insane.
I had to move eventually. I decided that moving far away was better than a stone’s throw. I wasn’t sorry. To be true to myself, outside of my usual reference points and without any other influence, particularly of those who are used to wielding their authority, this was a worthwhile test of self.
I was making a very new and exciting discovery. I was stronger than I had realized. I had gained much respect amongst the people I had befriended here and this without doing anything that I would have regarded as amazing. I was simply being myself. I didn’t try to please anyone or seek their approval.
I dared the lion in his den with regards to an emotional vulnerability and I lost. In hindsight, it was a brilliant exercise because it taught me to handle grief. It takes a lot of practice, especially if grief is mishandled from an early age.
There are many roads to freedom, this was mine. There was a prize waiting for me but first I had to take the train back to Ollantaytambo and finish out the remainder of my journey in Peru.
Trains in Peru, to the best of my knowledge, are usually quite efficient! (o;
©Caroline Cunningham Author Of Wild Star Landing (Blog)