Road to Huaraz, Peru 2008 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

I had been on the road for nearly three months by this point, I was far from my home in New Zealand, I was on my own, and the road to Huaraz was long and bumpy. I began to reflect on a some things, on life, and what I was doing here.

While traveling through Central and South America with my camera, my final stop was Peru. Here is where I came to discover the ancient ruins of the Inca and pre-Inca civilizations. I had studied anthropology at Auckland University, and was familiar with the history and its people. Peru is my birthplace, and the birthplace of my Mother and Grandmother. This was my first visit back since my departure at the age of six.

Before backpacking my way across country, I had spent a week in Lima, the country’s capital. I Stayed with my Grandfather and got a chance to know my extended family. I had been used to living with a family of two growing up, so this felt like an entirely new experience for me. I learned of stories about myself and my relatives that I had never known before. It was at times very emotional, but always exciting, and I felt at home.

Huaraz was to be one of my final destinations on my trip before coming back to New Zealand. After my bus ride there, I checked in to my motel and began to write in my travel diary. Looking back at my diary and thoughts I realize now that a big part of that trip was about a young man discovering his roots.

To truly know yourself and the people who came before you and paved the way for you, is a powerful thing, and should never be taken for granted.

A tree without roots is just a piece of wood”

– Marco Pierre White

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