I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again; there isn’t really anything solo about solo travel. Yes, you are on your own and if you don’t do it, no one else will, but there are rarely any times when you don’t have a travel buddy and truly find yourself longing for company. That being said, it is always nice to see a familiar face from home and I have been lucky enough on this trip to have had two of my best mates in Patrick and Cameron, my mom and now my cousin, Shanita, visit me.

DCIM100GOPROG0041741.Llama Selfie!

Shan wanted a bit more from her annual leave and I convinced her to come to South America, where I could show her a real adventure holiday and not her usual shopping holiday! The timing also coincided with Victoria’s mom coming to visit her and the four of us formed our own little gang in the south of Peru. I’m not sure if I was the rose between the thorns, or the other way around, but nonetheless travelling with three women was a lot easier than I thought! 🙂

IMG_6759Bernadette, Victoria, Shanita and I

Shan and I have been very close since we were young, growing up as next-door neighbours without an adjoining fence, as well as cousins with very similar interests. Over the past few years we have grown apart slightly but it was great to see her and show her around ‘my’ new backyard, South America.

IMG_6814Cousins at Machu Picchu!

We met Shan and Bernadette (Victoria’s mom) in Cusco and surprisingly they were both spring chickens, barely affected by the burgeoning altitude. We had 10 days with Bernadette and three weeks with Shan in total and had to make the most of it, so we immediately booked the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. The trek was picturesque and brought me back to my time in Patagonia, but there was no time to reminisce on the second day of five, which was a killer. It included the Salkantay Pass, which was stunning, but pretty tough at 4,630m.

IMG_6830We made it!

Machu Picchu was the highlight of the trek, and despite it being my second visit; it was just as breathtaking as the first. There was no rest for the wicked though, and we headed out of Cusco after the trek and down to Puno to visit the floating islands on the world’s highest lake, Lake Titicaca. Bernadette had being talking about it for months and I’m pretty happy that she managed to squeeze it in!

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 7.56.50 am copyZip Lining!

The south of Peru has so many amazing sites, and after bidding farewell to Bernadette in Puno, the three amigos went to Arequipa to visit the Colca Canyon and watch the magical Condors – the symbols of Peru gliding through the world’s deepest canyon, and then Huacachina for sandboarding in the desert oasis, after a quick pit-stop in Nazca to fly over the mysterious lines.

IMG_7067Spotted: Condor!

Subsequent reflections on Shanita’s visit, I realized that travelling with people is just as good as travelling solo, albeit a little different. You have to consider the needs and wants of others and can’t just pack up and leave on a whim, but you get to create memories and share moments that you can hopefully look back on together when you’re old and grey. It doesn’t matter how well you know someone, travelling with them and being with them 24/7 will always bring you closer. Thanks for the visit, Shan! Hasta luego!

IMG_7120The Hummingbird – one of the Nazca Lines