We were told on the first day that the Incan culture believed three things made an honest person: Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t be lazy.
Everything always starts out slow. You are allowed the time to take it all in when things are slow. A comfortable pace structures the flow of the conversation between Bertrand and I. I ask him about his life in France, what he does for a living, what gives him hope, what makes him forget about time. He answers it all, sometimes accompanied with a thoughtful chuckle. He asks me why I’m curious about his life. I answer because I want to understand everything. I wish I could have experienced what it was like to have grown up in France. We all have different life experiences and my youthful greedy soul wants to have lived it all. He laughed and said “fair enough,” and we walked on, knowing what was ahead and not knowing at the same time. I remember walking through crowds of campsites, when a blur of colorful movements caught my eye. I followed the blur and soon found myself looking at a group of men, sitting on a log bench. I felt like I was intruding on a moment that a foreigner doesn’t get the chance to experience often. Three men, porters, the people who make the Machu Picchu experience happen for thousands of tourist. They were sharing a laugh together in the middle of the day, under the beaming rays of the sun-kissed sky, speaking in their native tongue. They were uninterrupted by distractions of tweets, likes, shares, the constant distractions that direct our focus and demand the attention of every citizen plugged into the modern society of today. They poured their focus into that moment. It reminded me of what’s real in the world. When I finally reached the destination…I was confused. Because I realized that sometimes being at the end of a journey feels exactly the same as being at the beginning. What has changed is that I can now look back into my mind capsule and relive that time I played River by Leon Bridges on my phone as everyone around me boogied to it. I can recall what it felt like just a few hours ago when I woke up and I thought I was the only person alive at that very moment, thinking what a great time it is to be alive. If all the world leaders were asked to hike Machu Picchu together, the world would be a better place for it. Because whether or not you believe it going in, you leave knowing that there are three truths that makes an honest person: Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t be lazy.