Peru. Inspiration. New Beginnings.

You have heard Mirandas story, you have heard Shaynes story and you have heard Matts story in our past blogs. But there is a man behind these stories who gave us an extra bit of inspiration, motivation and awakening while we were away on our Fitness Adventure of a Lifetime, and I’m sure he will have the same effect on you- meet our guide- Rob Harsh.

ROB’S STORY

“In 2013 a dream was born when I had the opportunity to travel to Peru and explore one of the most famous “Wonders of the World”. Machu Picchu had been on my list of must see places since I first saw a picture of it when I was 22. From that day forward I became inspired to travel the globe, exploring far off exotic landscapes, and immersing myself in indigenous cultures and ancient mythology. Twenty years and twenty countries later I finally found myself in this legendary Incan city, walking amongst its huge carved stones, walls and terraces, perched high atop a mountain in the Peruvian Andes.

Seeing it with my own eyes I was overcome by the incredible beauty, and the unexplainable energy I felt walking its ancient footpaths. Of all the places I had ever visited, nothing quite compared to it. As I explored Peru more I could feel this incredible energy everywhere – in the land, the people and the many sacred Incan ruins. From that day forward I knew I had to return and share this incredible place with others.

In 2015 after my third trip, I met an incredible Peruvian guide Julio Camacho, and we began to develop an amazing journey to take people to see the real Peru, traveling along lesser known paths between the ruins of Choquequirao and Machu Picchu, visiting remote villages and walking in the footsteps of the Chasqui Runners. For a lucky few this would be an opportunity of a lifetime to experience Peru’s unique culture, history and beauty.

All plans were set to finally bring a group in April 2017, when Michael from Dream It convinced a hearty bunch of Kiwi adventurers to take the plunge. But before the trip even started the unthinkable happened. In 2016 I unexpectedly found myself in the fight of my life after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. All my dreams and aspirations suddenly vanished, as doctors had given me just a few months to live.

The news hit me hard, and as my condition worsened quickly, I thought this could be it. I never lost hope however, fighting my way through the many ups and downs. Then one day in December 2016 as I was walking in the forest near my house I had a vision where I was leading a group up a stone path high above Machu Picchu. The vision was so clear like it was happening right in front of me. It was in that moment that I decided, if this is it, I’m at least going to go out fighting for my dream.

So I began hiking every day in the mountains around my Colorado home, each day putting one step in front of the other, striving to go a little further and a little higher. I held that picture of my vision in my head, along with the promise that one day I would return and share Peru, supporting others in living their dreams.

Little did I know that this aspiration would change my life. Four months and many hundreds of miles later, I miraculously found myself in Cusco welcoming a group of twenty one intrepid Kiwi’s ready to take on the adventure of a lifetime. Over the next 12 days we would share the most incredible adventure. Laughing, eating good food, sharing stories and taking in the incredible sights and sounds of the real Peru.The group came together around the challenge of trekking through the Andes mountains to the legendary Machu Picchu. But it wasn’t the destination that made this trip special, it was the journey that was experienced along the way. As we allowed ourselves to slow down and connect with the land, the people and one another, our view expanded, and the feeling deepened.

Along the way the group came together, and shared their generosity with the Peruvian people. This generosity was met with incredible smiles and songs as the group donated more than 350 pounds of school supplies to forty children in the village of Yanama. The group also received much gratitude from our Peruvian guides, cooks and horsemen, as they were meant to feel they were part of the group, playing soccer with them at 11,500 feet and sharing a well earned beer at the end of the day.

Each evening as we were pampered by our incredible crew, we’d recall the days’ events, offering stories of both courage, and stupidity; sharing visions of each person’s animal spirit, and honouring the person who most bravely embraced their own dorkness through forcing them to wear the coveted rainbow head band, which hence forth will be named in honour of it’s first recipient – Michael “Butterfly” Davis.

There was also real courage displayed, as each person hiked further and higher than they had ever gone before, supported by the incredible Activ8 team of Matt, Shayne and Miranda.

Through their inspiration and coaching, each person was able to step beyond their comfort zones, and experience the greater possibilities that exist within each us. Most notably it was Irene’s incredible achievement of overcoming the odds that inspired each of us to dig a little deeper.

After trekking more than 75 miles, and climbing twice the height of Mount Everest, the group finally made it to Machu Picchu. The group set off early towards the summit of Mount Machu Picchu, hiking a steep stone path high above the fabled ruins. As the clouds cleared, and the city came into view, I couldn’t believe my eyes – this was the exact vision I had four months earlier. As I turned to see all the smiling faces of the group looking down on the wondrous sight, I realized that I had indeed turned my dream into a reality and in the process experienced real healing.

Through this trip I now have honest proof that in order to achieve anything big in life you must believe in something greater than yourself, you must give more that you receive and you must trust that on the other side of fear, everything you wish for in life is waiting to be discovered.

Thank you to all of you for making this trip possible, it was an honour and privilege to be a part of your journey.”

Rob “Tinkerbell” Harsh

Conscious Coach, Adventurer- “Where mindfulness meets movement”

Want to follow Robs journey? Check out his website https://www.awakenedadventures.com/