We have known Will for a number of years, and have been waiting for things to work out so that he could take a trip with Zoom Vacations. Last November, the moment arrived, and he was able to join us in Peru. He was as much fun on the trip as we knew he would be. Not only that, but Will had a kidney transplant a year before the trip, and we wondered how he might feel on this active exploration of Peru. Turns out, you would never have known by how he comported himself on the trip that he was still in the recovery stages from his surgery.
Zoom: What made you want to go to Peru?
Will: I heard it is one of the most beautiful places for hiking and it was on the list of the most beautiful places in the world to go.
Zoom: What made you decide to go with Zoom Vacations?
Will: I have known you guys for over 20 years, and haven’t taken a vacation with you yet. I was looking at your website and through talking with Bryan he said it was one of his favorite places. Even though I have not taken group vacations in the past, I felt like this was a great way to get my feet wet.
Zoom: Are you glad you did it?
Will: I am extremely glad that I did it. It was one of the best vacations I have ever had.
Zoom: What made it so good?
Will: We had a small, fun group. The experience of traveling with Zoom Vacations with Bryan as the tour leader was just phenomenal. From when I arrived, I was welcomed at the hotel and everything was elegant. This carried on throughout the trip: the food, the hotels, the excursions. The itinerary was awesome. I didn’t have to search for things nor do any work to make things happen. It was all done for me.
Zoom: What was your highlight of the trip?
Will: I had a kidney transplant exactly a year before this trip. During our time in Machu Picchu, the group elected to hike up to Wayna Picchu, which is on a mountain that towers above Machu Picchu. Most people who visit Machu Picchu do not do this extra hike up because it is strenuous and challenging, and you have to make arrangements/reservations months in advance because they limit how many people can do it. The day before the hike, as I looked up to where we would be going I was not 100 percent sure that I would be able to complete it. My tour leader Bryan told me to take my time and that there was no rush. I was reassured that I could do this on my own by taking my time, and that is exactly what I did.
Zoom: Yes, but surprisingly, you made it up to the top quite quickly!
Will: Well, I think I was inspired by the beauty of the location and kind of got into a zone. When I started the hike, I felt determined to reach the top no matter how long it took. It was an immense feeling of accomplishment. That evening while sitting in the natural hot tub at our beautiful hotel, I was reflecting on how far I had come this year, physically and mentally. My recovery after the transplant was difficult. I could not even walk a block without stopping 20 times. So to reach such heights felt more than just empowering: it felt spiritual.
Zoom: The fact that you did this, was so inspirational for the rest of the guests on the tour. Did you do anything special to celebrate:
Will: I bought a necklace with a symbol of Machu Picchu. I wear it all the time as a reminder of what I accomplished and the fact that I can do anything.
Zoom: Ah, yes, we remember your buying this at the hotel gift shop. Speaking of, how were the hotels?
Will: Absolutely outstanding. They were exceptionally unique and well-appointed. Each perfectly fit in the area where it was located.
Zoom: We laughed a lot on this trip. Why do you think that was?
Will: Our fellow travelers were from different cultures and backgrounds, and we just had a week-long jam session. Everyone came ready to have a good time.
Zoom: You mentioned the necklace you bought. How was the shopping in general?
Will: It was great. I took a day to go shopping at the end, and I bought presents for my nieces and nephews. They loved what I brought back because the gifts were one of a kind.
Zoom: How do you think this trip would have been different, had you gone on your own?
Will: Difficult. Stressful.
Zoom: Why is that?
Will: There was a 2-day transportation strike, affecting all access in and out of Machu Picchu. Thousands of travelers were displaced. I literally saw travelers walking on the train tracks 10 kilometers with luggage trying to get to their next destination. Or, I saw people in massive panics, trying to figure out what to do. Our group, on the other hand, had a different experience. Our tour leader Bryan was absolutely brilliant. He took care of everything and reassured us that we would still do all the things we wanted to do.
Zoom Vacations handled all the necessary changes, and in short notice, allowing a stress-free trip for all Zoom guests. Because Zoom Vacations is very experienced and has been going to Machu Picchu for a number of years, they had everything planned and came up with alternative plans when the strike happened.
Zoom: Thank you, yes, we really had to make a lot of last-minute changes due to the strike. Did the necessary changes dampen the experience?
Will: No, they did not affect my vacation at all.
Zoom: Will you travel again with Zoom Vacations.
Will: Definitely. Absolutely.
Zoom: Did this trip change the way you look at group travel?
Will: I realized that if you are going to a place that involves a lot of coordination, and is very different from home, I would highly suggest that you travel with an experienced travel group. I would highly recommend Zoom Vacations. Also, one thing I liked about this particular trip is that it was active. Every day was a new adventure. I really felt it was the perfect blend of adventure, activities, food, etc. I didn’t feel the need to plan anything in addition to what we were doing. And I don’t feel like I missed anything.
Zoom: Where would you like to go next?
Will: I would say India. It’s on my bucket list— the Taj Mahal, the spices, the food, the festivals, and the beautiful people.