Women and men walk past me carrying loads of produce on their backs. They are hovering over due to its heavy nature. Today I am in Ollantaytambo, Peru where family ranks over everything here. When it comes to responsibilities, there are no gender biases.
My best friend Gabby and I flew into Peru early in the morning and took a taxi straight to our hostel. The moment we arrived, I immediately saw the dirt that was dusted all around the room. It was uncomfortably small for a room holding 10 other travelers. There were fewer outlets than people, one bathroom, and a creaky twin size bed for each person. The wifi was non-existent. I silently complain to myself about the conditions but I carry on not wanting to ruin my vacation.
We came to Peru to see Machu Picchu. But today, we are horseback riding. So after we unpack, we venture on to the main square where our guide Pedro is waiting with two horses. I hop on, ready for my ride across the town.
Pedro is a local and only speaks Spanish. Gabby speaks English and Spanish so she begins to ask him questions about the town. I fall out of earshot and am left to my own thoughts.
I focus my attention on all the houses and locals. I wave to everyone I see. They all wave back with a smile. A city that thrives from tourism, it’s no wonder why they are so kind. Each house we pass has tin roofing with several car tires weighing it down. I hear the soft patter on the tin roofs before I feel it on my face. It was starting to rain. I look up at the houses once more. I watch each owner hang up a tarp on their patio to block the rain. Their calm demeanor tells me this is common routine. It suddenly begins to downpour on us and we turn around because it’s has obstructed our pathway.
After exploring the town, I realize quickly that my complaints of the hostel are what people consider “first world problems”. I think to my life in Los Angeles and how I’ve grown accustomed to the flashy lifestyle. I’ve become blind to the day to day of an underdeveloped country like Peru. Half the country is living in poverty with limited resources. Yet they are surviving and are happy.
There’s a lesson to be learned from their simplistic ways. For the rest of my trip, I reset my mind. I am now grateful for my creaky bed, dusty floor, and wifi-less room. I have more than I could ask for in my life and from now on I plan to appreciate it all.