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LIVE YOUR LIST Off the Beaten Track

After hearing so much about Machu Picchu – its history as an Incan 15th century citadel, in an incredible location in the Andes, with amazing architecture of sophisticated dry-stone walls, of fused huge blocks with no mortar, astounding astronomical alignments, perfect panoramic views and elusive mystery – like so many others, it was on Lyn Davys’ bucket list.

In July 2013, the Lake Macquarie resident and her husband Gary set off on a 21-day Peru tour that included the four-day Quarry trail to Machu Picchu.

The couple thought Machu Picchu was to be the highlight of the trip. However, that was not the case. “Boy were we in for a surprise. Machu Picchu was awesome. Though it was the people, desert, Nazca Lines, condors, chullpas and floating islands that made the greatest impression, maybe because they were unexpected,” Lynn said.

The Peruvian people, in the cities and villages, captured the couple’s hearts with their hospitality and welcoming ways.

“They were beautiful, accommodating and there was a lot of laughter on both sides as we communicated quite well with terrible charades.

“I loved the homestay where I wore traditional dress, sorted the lima beans, played ball with the kids then peeled the potatoes for dinner.”

The couple found the desert in southern Peru to be extraordinary.

“It is one of the world’s driest deserts, driving through it we saw villages where houses are built with no roofs because on average it rains for 10 minutes, once a year.

They also saw huge dunes and tried their hand at sand boarding and decided it was a fun way to experience the extreme climate. This desert is also home to the spectacular Nazca lines with its 26 giant-scale figures, straight lines, symbols, birds and beasts scattered across 1000 square kilometres, which the couple viewed from the nearby hilltops and the air.

Also in South Peru, they visited Colca Canyon that is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon with the hope to see a giant Andean Condor, and to their amazement, they had a close and personal encounter with one of the world’s largest birds.

“We walked off the beaten track to watch them shooting the breeze away from the crowds. We were rewarded with one taking a rest near where we were standing”.

Other highlights included the ruined 'chullpas' (funeral towers) of Sillustani, built by a pre-Inca civilisation and the floating islands of Lake Titicaca constructed from totora reeds by the Uros people to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times.

“All these extras were fantastic and made it a very memorable trip.”

They have many ticks on their bucket list including a trek to view Mount Everest; visiting Asia, Pacific Islands and Europe; several road Australian road trips (21 days in Tasmania and 14 days from NSW coast to outback return) a half marathon in Sydney; and park runs across NSW and Melbourne.

Lyn has a very special and personal one that is a family-matriarchal tick. She has climbed The Rock Hill in Wagga as part of a family tradition.

“My grandmother did it when she was 70, so did my mum, then last year it was my turn. I am so glad I did it!”

Next on the duo’s bucket list is a trip to Vietnam, hopefully in 2019.

Kim-Cherie Davidson is an adventure coach and speaker. She helps women to live their adventure dreams. To start now – write a list, tick off the activities and celebrate. So they can feel empowered, grow from their experiences and be role models for their families, friends and other women.

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