The two month slump: Colca Canyon, Peru
There comes a time in every traveller’s trip where over-stimulation strikes and nothing short of a trip to the moon can raise more than a cynical eyebrow. It’s like a drug addict constantly needing a higher dose to hit that high, only less harmful to your health. You’ve cycled the world’s most dangerous road. You’ve seen Rio de Janeiro from a hand glider. You’ve seen a giant otter eat a caiman. You’ve seen the sun rise over Machu Picchu, one of the new wonders of the world. What more can there be?
Suddenly, everything is a bit…meh. Inca ruin. Who cares? World’s deepest canyon? No it’s not. A new person trying to talk to me? Same old conversation – where you been/where you going/how long you been travelling, blah blah blah. I just don’t care anymore.
All I want to do is sit on a sofa (why do so many hostels lack comfortable sofas?), watch television and eat chocolate: even if the sun is shining and there’s a once-in-a-lifetime attraction to see outside. I’ve overdosed on once in a lifetimes. If I ever have another once in a lifetime I hope it’s in my next lifetime.
I can tell you the exact time mine hit – Craig got it then too: the Inca Trail was behind us, we’d just visited Machu Picchu and were leaving Inkaterra, one of the best hotels I’ve ever had the fortune to visit. We had reached a peak. The same thing happened in India: our second-to-last day in Assam we realised we could not be bothered with more travelling around. We skipped Kerala and spent two weeks on Palolem Beach, Goa. One of the best decisions of the trip.
It wasn’t the Colca Canyon’s fault that it was crap. It was ours. When you’re in the two month slump, it’s easy to find fault with everything. It was the hotel’s fault we got up at 2am for a 3.30am pick-up. It was the hotel’s fault we didn’t bring any water with us because we were told water was provided. (Communication between the tour operator, Colca Adventures, and the hotel was poor…) It was nature’s fault that there were no condors at the condor viewpoint to compensate for our early start. It was fate’s fault that we were the only English speakers on the trip; the guide’s fault for being too lazy to translate everything for us, even though he was perfectly capable.
I knew the path would be all downhill for the first day. I didn’t know it would be made of loose rubble. I have balance issues, a problem with my inner ear. Narrow paths made of skiddy, uneven material on a steep mountainside and me in a foul mood do not a good mix make. My internal disaster monologue went into overdrive. I cried. The slump had reached a peak. I didn’t want to be there; Craig didn’t want to be there; the view didn’t change all the way down – it was a waste of time.
Top ten pages on OT
1. Five alternatives to South America's top destinations
2. Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro
3. Responsible travel on the Inca Trail
4. The Ten Commandments for night bus travellers
5. Touring the Pantanal with the world's most hardcore guide
6. The two month slump: Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Images: South America roundup