Sunday Snapshot 6: What Machu Picchu Means to Me

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Snapshots. Each Sunday, I’ll post a favorite photo from my collection and share a little bit about it. You’ll go behind the scenes on some of our most memorable moments. Enjoy! 

What Machu Picchu Means to Me


Machu Picchu means a lot to me.

Visiting it was my first major trip where I was “alone”. (Okay, I was with a small group of students from my school, but I was with people I'd never really hung out with before so in some ways I felt more independent on this trip.)

Visiting Peru was also my first time in a culture completely foreign to my own. (I'd been to Europe the summer before visiting Peru, but Europe has a lot more cultural similarities to the US.)

I Took this photo in 2004 the summer after my freshman year. Our mighty group of six consisted of 4 students, 1 chaperone, and 1 teacher from Argentina.

I was fresh off my school trip to Europe (my first international experience) when I opened the brochure for this trip and saw Machu Picchu staring back at me. I’d only ever read about Machu Picchu in textbooks and it blew my adolescent mind to realize that I could actually visit this Incan relic that so significant to humanity. We’re talking about a culture whose construction skills still astound modern engineers. They conquered a vast land that stretched from Ecuador to Argentina. And did I mention that they achieved all of this without a written language?

For me, seeing Machu Picchu was akin to seeing the something like Coliseum or the Eiffel Tower for the first time. It's one of those places in the world that holds a significant amount of grandeur and lore. 

I spent one short, rainy day in Machu Picchu in 2004, but it's stayed in my mind ever sense. That time in Machu Picchu is part of what inspired me to study Spanish and Anthropology in undergrad. That decision set my life on the winding trajectory that it has taken and has led me to where I am today. Words can't really explain how much this makes me appreciate Machu Picchu, but hopefully you get the idea.

My first thought when I pulled this photo out of my archives was, Wow this photo would fit right in on Instagram! #vintagefilter.

My second thought was, Man, I can’t wait to go back this summer! That's because Vince, my parents, and I will be returning to Machu Picchu and hiking the Inca Trail! We've been planning this trip for many months now and it's almost upon us! Of course, we'll blog about it here on Weekends & Wanders when that time finally comes :)