Preparing to Ride My Dragons in Peru

I have no idea how to get ready for my Peru Odyssey in 22 days because I have absolutely no idea how fit I’ll need to be to get the most out of it. My ‘fat not fit’ dragon keeps pretending I need to have stamina and strength enough for a trek like the Inca Trail. But we’re not on a trek, we’re on an Odyssey, which according to the definition has more of a mellow meandering to it rather than a mighty march. But, I hear the inner wail, Hertfordshire is soooo flat, and the Andes have seriously steep inclines! Have you seen the images of Machu Picchu?

So today my walking workout was a trip to the shop to fill my small backpack with groceries and have a more challenging walk back up the marginal Shenley Hill incline. I know it worked because I panted more and it got pretty hot and steamy inside my mack but I did begin to wonder if I shall ever find it easier. I must be fitter though, surely? According to my MapMyWalk App I walked 24 miles in March that I remembered to log, and so far in April I’ve already logged 30 miles and we’re not even half way through.

So apart from walking at least two miles a day what else am I doing to get Peru-fit? Not much to be honest except making a list of what I think I need to get but haven’t. For example I am definitely investing in a Shewee – one of those very clever contraptions which allow me to pee like a man! I need cool clothes and mozzie repellant without any harmful chemicals for the jungle. Jeans, a warm fleece and jacket for the mountains. Maddeningly I’ve added an altitude sickness freak-out to the proceedings. I’m sure the article I read was for those heading in to the ‘death zone’ to summit Everest, rather than Lake Titicaca, but my ‘death by altitude’ dragon is having babies. I’ll make sure I have a water bottle on me and access to Coca leaves when I get there (a little bit of local wisdom I read somewhere). I may take some Gingko Biloba which is receiving good reviews for altitude sickness although the possible side-effects is increFIased bleeding. I’ve skimmed a couple of articles on ayahuasca too. They were red rags to my ‘never give control over to a drug’ dragon but most of it has been deeply nutritious information and piqued my interest.

red leafI also have my story-telling equipment to bring – so I’ll be sure to pack my imagination, intuition, camera and laptop. In fact all the things I started my nomadic life with just over two years ago. It is very special to know that next month I shall be in a totally new environment and so my biggest preparation is to keep an open heart. Finding a vibrant red heart shaped leaf on the ground yesterday is a great reminder for this.

So why have I focused so much on the whole ‘how’ of the trip rather than surrender to the exciting and inspiring prospect of being in Peru? Great question. Two reasons – one is that I can be a real scaredy cat. By being open about my fears I hope to inspire other scaredy cats to step out of their comfort zone and experience this huge and awesome world like I’m about to do. And secondly when I do this it reminds me how much I make up, how many assumptions I’ve pulled out of the ether, and choose to ask instead what I’d love to receive from my trip to Peru.

I adore mountains and landscape. I love engaging with the magical and the mystical. I love intentional travel, experiencing the richness of life and translating and sharing its magic. I love producing rollicking good stories. Somehow I think Peru will give me all this and more….

So I raise my glass and drink a toast to ’22 days and counting’. My countdown to an adventure in the unknown. Darkest Peru – here I come!

Reprinted with permission from

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About Francesca Cassini

Francesca loves to translate and share the magic of life. Storytelling has always been her passion. She published a free magazine in London on living more lightly on the planet and was a founder member of a social network for conscious living reviewing workshops. In the last 18m she completed the first novel in the trilogy ‘Waking the Lions’. Now part of the Outer Travels Inner Journeys team she weaves her words, wields her camcorder and lives inspired by her fertile imagination. She’s participating in OTIJ’s next Peru Odyssey, a 23 day trip to many of the sacred sites culminating in the Amazon jungle for a week of Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies.

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