The gentle waters of Peru’s Madre de Dios river lap the shore just inches away. A welcoming breeze begins to push away the jungle heat. Iguanas scurry about chasing each other in a game of tag. I am totally relaxed as the resort’s masseuse works on my tired muscles in an outdoor cabana.
My morning was spent trekking through the jungle in the Peruvian Amazon where I discovered brilliantly colored plants and heard the unfamiliar sounds of nearby wildlife. Now I’m taking a break for a massage inside the thatched-roof cabana by the river.
In a couple of hours I will join the other guests in the lodge’s main hall where we will dine by candlelight, our table dressed in white linen tablecloths and piled with Peruvian delicacies.
After dinner a local Shaman will perform a flowering bath, wafting incense over us and sprinkling us with perfumed water to wash away unhelpful spirits and rebalance our energies.
We are deep in the jungle…two hours by boat from the closest village experiencing things I never knew existed.
Just days before we were in the country’s capital of Lima where historic colonial buildings nestle amid contemporary skyscrapers rising above the craggy cliffs of the Pacific coastline.
We spent an afternoon discovering the secrets of more than 5,000 years of Peruvian history at Museo Larco. Lunch was served on the terrace of the 18th-century viceroyalty-era mansion overlooking a garden draped in brilliantly colored bougainvillea where we washed down delicious ceviche with pisco sours.
That same evening, the magic of the past hung in the air as we dined beside the centuries old Huaca Pucllana pyramid where four Wari mummies were discovered just a few years before. As darkness fell the site was illuminated casting a magnificent golden hue across the ruins.
Some of my travel companions called this visit to Peru a “trip of a lifetime” and our experiences were worthy of the title. But this was just one of many such trips for me.
You see, I’m a travel writer which means I get paid to travel and write about the unbelievable places I visit. Best of all…it doesn’t cost me a thing.
In this incredible career I’ve been treated to divine spa treatments, luxurious hotel rooms and sumptuous meals—which are all wonderful. But it’s the connections I make in each location, the unexpected discoveries and the secret stories I uncover that give purpose to my travels and never cease to amaze me.
In Norway I hiked through the woods with a celebrity chef picking chanterelle mushrooms…in Germany I toured a castle with a knight as my guide…I took Garifuna drumming lessons on a beach in Belize beside the sparkling Caribbean Sea…and in The Netherlands I walked in the footsteps of the great Dutch Masters.
My insatiable wanderlust has taken me on all types of adventures and I cherish each one. If you love to travel as I do, there is no better career and there is no better way to travel than on someone else’s dime.
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