Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Do Your Heavy Lifting Travel Early

I just came back from 10 magical days in Peru. Visiting Machu Picchu was the initial objective for the trip but seeing Peru’s many other treasures made the whole trip an even greater experience. Too often people omit visiting country capitals; they view them as being only big cities, but Lima, the only capital of a South American country located on water, was a highlight and a culinary surprise. The food in Lima was delicious, especially if you like fish and ceveche, and a great drink called a Pisco Sour! Cuzco, one of the highest cities in the western hemisphere, and the capital of the Incas was beautiful and the magnificent historical site, Machu Picchu was beyond words; everything that I had imagined, and more.

Machu Picchu, home of the Incans, is the crown jewel of Peru. It is also one of the great wonders of the world and a UNESCO site. I learned so much about history, the rise and fall of the Incan empire, and what archeologists and scientist are doing to preserve such a unique site. I also discovered that many people had visiting Machu Picchu on their “bucket list.” Many people told me that they had wanted to visit Machu Picchu for years and now that they were there they were wishing they had done it years earlier! The oldest person I met hiking the ruins was a 77 year old woman who although loving the experience said she wished she had done it 20 years earlier…when she was fitter and definitely more agile. Simply put, many of us have dreams of what we will do when we rewire, or retire, and our recommendation is “to do your heavy lifting sooner rather than later.” We aren’t saying that this 77 year old woman did not have a great experience because she did, but not everyone wants to, or can be climbing rocks, or steep stone stairs in an oxygen-diminished place (it’s located at 7700 feet above sea level) when they are older. (and only you can define older—we’re not here to pass age judgment!)

Rick Miners, my husband and co-author of DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! and I have always advocated doing the heavy lifting first when it comes to travel. In other words, do the more strenuous travel when you are in good shape. People often tell us that they have visiting Angkor Wat, the Great Wall of China, the sand dunes of Namibia or Ayers Rock on their bucket lists. These can be wonderful adventures, but not necessarily for the weak of heart or knee. Our rewiring® advice? Get them on your travel schedules as early as possible. Of course you’ll see people aged 70 or 75 at these extraordinary sites but most admit wondering what the experience would be like if they were younger and in better health. Sometimes you can put off going on a trip and then have it become too physically intimidating or medically impossible to go.

I’m not working for Peru tourism however… the Sacred Valley, religious temples, mummies, remnants of the Spanish conquistadors, Lake Titicaca, great crafts, lovely people, even golf courses, not to mention Machu Picchu are reasons to put Peru on your bucket list. What makes it additionally interesting is that the Incans had no written language and no way to do the architectural feats they accomplished.

So check out what you have on your own bucket list (and we hope you have one!) and start to prioritize what trips and adventures you should undertake sooner rather than later!

Do your heavy lifting first! We’re not doom and gloom people, just realists!

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