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In Peru, Jeff led a team of adventurers across the Salkantay Trek to the community of Chawaytiri to the highlands of Tanta — pack-llamas in tow; tea at the ready — listening to the stories of the indigenous Quechua people, learning about the Great Inca Road Network and the ancient peoples who thrived in this region for millennia.

That Ayni Thing: Where Reciprocity is Just a Way of Life

“While reading up on Peru and the Andean world, I remember my first view of the Quechua word ‘ayni.’ Sitting in Hawaii during a driving rainstorm, I kept rereading the word and its description, which roughly explained, translates to a kind of ‘reciprocity among communities and peoples of the mountains.'”

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In The Land of Ayni (Part 1): The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

“We tread upwards as wind starts to whistle and pellets of ice snap and pop against our bodies. My pack’s straps dig warmly into the collarbone, comforting in their friction, its weight providing a break against mountain winds that seek to remind us where we are. Lungs are nicely straining, and one of the mountains’ great and ever-present lessons is reinforced: cooperate or perish.”

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The Chawaytiri Weavers of Peru’s Sacred Valley (In The Land of Ayni: Part 2)

“We are just outside the Andean village of Chawaytiri—meaning Village of the Llama, or Eye of the Llama—that sits at 12,000 feet in the highlands, just 50 kilometres from Cusco in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We are ascending—always it seems, we ascend. Amid the haze and the coca, the pathway beneath me looks brittle and almost decrepit. Maybe forgotten is the right word; it looks forgotten.”

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Llama Trekking in the Highlands of Pariaqaqa, Peru (In The Land of Ayni: Part 3)

“Long necks bobbling like swans on the grasslands and the chiming of bells—our llama caravan ahead eats up swaths of dry terra and bounces over the wide land. Their ambling is the only thing that stirs up the landscape. The llamas’ necks crane for whatever succulents they can find while they move.”

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Whether You’re a Foodie or Not, Peruvian Cuisine is a Great Lesson in History and Geography

“A ride through downtown Lima reveals endless chifa restaurants, bakeries, cebicherias, outdoor markets and street food stands. In a process impossible to recreate, Peruvian cuisine has evolved from centuries of varied cultural influences to make it what it is today: a mouthwatering flavour explosion hardly found anywhere else.”

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