One look at Machu Picchu and it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most visited of the Seven Wonders of the World. Five days after leaving Cusco, I reached the end of the Inca Trail and literally lost my breath – the first time that week not due to altitude adjustment – as I glanced over the stone vista, the geometric city lines, the sharp mountain rising at its center, the distant blues, greens, whites.
(Photo from Wikipedia)
(Not my footage)
My feet aching, my skin burned, my lungs screaming, I couldn’t believe where I now found myself. I sat on a step, caught my breath, and prayed. I thanked humanity for building this treasure, the earth to worship the elements that allowed it, my legs for having carried me here, my brain for having allowed it, the hikers tourists and guides surrounding me for carrying on the legacy of the place, and my own mother who had instilled in me a lifelong quest for adventure.
My drone was my little project for the duration of the 5-day trek up the trail. Having it with me gave me a project to tend to, a goal beyond just reaching the end of the trail, and a way to share my journey with my bedridden mother back home who was supposed to join me. It watched over me like a god, it captured the experience so I could focus on stepping one foot before the other, and it acted as my diary as I debriefed into its face at the end of each day.
For this reason, having the offroad lighting kit was a saving grace. Not only could I light the trail and dusk and dawn, but a quick change in the light settings gave me studio lighting for my debrief.
Returning home, I watched the movie of my trip, shared it with my loved ones, and let it do the showing to replace my talking. So what did I learn on my trip – because why do we travel if not to learn something? I learned human capacity – that of my body and that of others. I learned resilience – that of my body and that of my boots. I learned the value of memory – that of my body and that of my device.