Sometime this past spring I started hiking around the mountains of Vancouver’s north shore barefoot and this has become one of my favorite ways to decompress in the city. Our bare feet coming into direct contact with dirt has a profoundly positive impact on our health for those of us who live sterile urban lives. The Earth gently exchanges negative ions with us and activates our energy meridians and we get to use muscles in our feet that we normally never use not to mention the stimulation of energy points. After a barefoot hike my feet vibrate for hours afterwards and I feel so invigorated.
I decided at the beginning of summer that I wanted to hike Machu Piccu barefoot. I recently actualized that desire by traveling to Peru and spending some time in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it as I came down with a bad head cold and flu just days before I was to fly to Peru out of Los Angeles. My flu abated hours before I was supposed to leave so a friend drove me to the airport and off to Peru I went. I arrived in Lima and had a sore throat and was developing a chest cold. After scoping out the local surf scene I fled for the mountains as it was torture not being able to get in the water and Lima was buried under a dense fog which is usual for its Winter months.
I spent my two week stay in the Sacred Valley which is nestled in the Andes mountains cradling the remains of the ancient Incan empire. I was sick and feeling light headed from the high altitude though I was falling in love with the land and discovering rich hand produced textiles and beautiful warm people. I spent my fourth night in Peru at an organic farm where I had a hot bath filled with roses under the stars with lightning flashing in the sky from a storm on the other side of the mountains where the jungle starts. Total magic. I then made my way to Machu Picchu which was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and well worth the efforts to get there.
The mighty Machu Picchu.
After my insightful tour with a guide of Incan ancestry I ditched my shoes and hiked the Incan Trail up to the sun gate barefoot. It was a magical experience that I will never forget. The ancient stones of the Incan Trail were warmed by the sun and as I hiked I prayed to Machu Picchu to take the illness out of my body, I wanted to experience Peru with full vitality. It worked, I felt energized and continued my hike with a condor swirling overhead deeply feeling the bountiful energy of this sacred mountain destination. The barefoot hike opened me up to the incredible telluric energy of Machu Picchu which I’ll never forget how magical I felt. It was an incredible day.
Resting on the Inca Trail during my barefoot hike.
That night my cold returned and I felt defeated. I made my way to visit with some friends in another small Andean village and the house we stayed at was amongst a eucalyptus forest. Every spring I get a chest cold or pneumonia and will bathe in eucalyptus oil as I recover and with the forest encircling me I figured that there was enough medicine in the swaying trees to aid my recovery. Within a half of an hour of ‘tuning’ into the mighty trees and rubbing fresh leaves on my chest and feet I started wheezing then coughed up a nasty glob of green phlegm. I coughed up my cold and haven’t had a trace of it since. With every illness there is an underlying emotional undercurrent and in the case of my chest cold I let go of a lot of guilt I had been carrying around with me and had an experience of deep self forgiveness with the help of the healing energy of the eucalyptus.
Examining the warp of Alpaca wool on her backstrap loom.
With health and vitality restored in my body and a lightness in my spirit I spent the rest of my time in Peru exploring villages in which textiles are produced entirely by hand with natural materials and dyes falling in love with the mastery of skill by such strong and beautiful women. I danced the night away with beautiful Peruvians learning new Latin American dance forms such as Salsa & Merengue, and of course to reggeton. I had some amazing culinary explorations with interesting people from around the world, my favorite being at a slow food restaurant in Lima called el AlmaZen and a Tapas restaurant in Cusco called Ciccolina.
I had 33 hours in LA on my way home where I didn’t waste a moment of enjoyment to make up for staying there before embarking to Peru but being too ill to do anything. I’ve traveled from Spring, to Summer in LA (they were experiencing a heat wave to my delight) to Autumn in Vancouver in a matter of 4 days. It feels great to be home, I have much to be grateful for and a feeling of renewal and rebirth in my mind, body and spirit. I am currently finishing up some projects, working on my documentary on textiles, and preparing to go into prep as an AD on a feature film which will tie me up for the month of November.
Spirit soaring at Venice Beach.
I am grateful for the opportunity to explore the land in which the short Incan Empire flourished and a gentleness within that comes from the experience of connecting deeply to the Earth. It is a necessity that we wake up and love the Earth, there are so many gifts awaiting us in doing so. I thank the medicine of eucalyptus for so swiftly relieving me of such a nasty chest cold and to the mighty Andes mountains for sharing their magic with me. And I thank all of the people who held down the fort for me while I was away. I feel incredibly stoked on life right now.