The reason why I love travelling solo is that other travellers will usually tell you their life story without any hesitation. Chances are you will never see each other again or will become the best of friends and only see each other once every few years. Therefore, I was not surprised that during my hike in a town called Ollantaytambo, a young woman by the name of Lidia told me her love story after only meeting me a few hours before.
Ollantaytambo is a small town which is also called the Sacred Valley. It is the last train stop before Agnuas Calientes, a town from which you can enter Machu Picchu. The town itself is packed with hikers who are preparing for their hike and tourists, like myself, who were awaiting their train later that day. As I was part of a tour group who were mostly doing the hike instead of the train ride, there was only 5 of us that remained that morning.
We woke up at a normal hour of 9am instead of the 5 am wake up call the hikers received, and spent a few hours walking around the beautiful town which still has its original stones from the Inca civilization. It was also breathtaking to walk at leisure among farm lands in high altitudes anticipating the next day’s journey to Machu Picchu (the highlight of any trip to Peru).
During the walk, Lidia told me a story about a dilemma that she was trying to solve during this trip that she deliberately decided to do solo. As an independent modern day professional American woman of 32, Lidia wanted to get married and have kids. This lead her to continue her search for love with many heart breaks and awful dates without settling down. Until recently, when she met the guy of her dreams.
The guy was an officer in the military who was going off for training for six weeks, after which he would have a few weeks of free time before he would get shipped out of the States for a period of anywhere between a few months to a year. Due to his career, they would have to make a decision to get married or not within the next few months in order to notify his commanders of a location change in the future.
Sacred Valley Peru
This is what made her book this trip of ten days: to do some soul searching. On the one hand, she knew she loved him. Who wouldn’t love a tall, beautiful blue eyed, smart, funny and intelligent guy (the way she described him to me)? On the other hand, she has only been dating him for a couple of months, out of which he had not been around the whole time. The other issue was that as a military man, he would always be stationed somewhere new and if she would choose to spend her life with him, she would have to quit her nice paying job, sell her condo and car and move from sunny California to somewhere else.
The thing she had to figure out was if this was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with and if he was worth all the sacrifices that she would have to make!
While hiking, she seemed like her decision was made up, even if logically (and she was a logical person) she had her doubts. I asked her the question, how do you know he is the one? To which she replied, “You never really know. If you knew the divorce rate would be zero. But my gut is telling me he is and how can he not be the one if I am talking to you about him instead of admiring the beauty of the Inca civilization!”
Needless to say, they were officially engaged a few weeks later and are still together to this day waiting to say their vows for a happily ever after love story.