There's really nothing better than writing a blog post out in the back yard on a nice, breezy summer day! The thing is, I've had a lot of summertime this year.

Hi, my name's Mariella Hunt and I've barely been home for a week. I have spent most of 2012 in Peru, a beautiful country in the southern hemisphere where (compared to my hometown of Boise) it's never really cold. I mean, it's humid in the winter (we left a fishbowl environment where you could see the clouds of humidity floating in the air) but I really didn't need a coat to go outside, though if I'd worn one I probably wouldn't have gotten such a bad cough. Anyway, here are 3 Things You Have To Try When You Go To Peru, experienced by yours truly and proven to be worth the dare.

You could also call it The 3 Best Things I've Ever Done. Less of a mouthful and more accurate. I learned that travel brings with it adventure, a strong sense of living, which is why I plan to be a traveler someday. Get lost a few times, come home with stories you wouldn't have learned otherwise.
  1. Walk into the Pacific Ocean.
    I'm sure a lot of you have already done that, right? Walked into an ocean, anyway. Well, try doing it fully-dressed because you had no plans of actually swimming that day. My favorite sundress got soaked but I felt a new sort of alive, when I was trying not to be dragged under by the seaweed and playing with children who thought I looked weird, dancing around in the waves while dressed for a party. Spontaneous, unplanned things are often the ones you'll remember most vividly, and someday when I'm old, this is one of the stories I'll be telling my grandchildren over and over again. Don't plan too much, it's pointless--what you'll remember in the end, is what your heart wanted to do.
  2. Watch a condor strike a pose.
    So we went to the zoo and I really wanted to see a condor. I'd been to Peru 4 times and never seen a condor, for crying out loud! It was absolutely ridiculous! So we walked through the ridiculously huge Parque de las Leyendas, met a few lions and a bear who was sitting nice and photogenic for autographs, and I saw a baby tiger I wanted to keep. Finally we get to the cage where there's supposedly condors and I couldn't find the stinking condor. I looked and looked. Suddenly I see some movement and the bird, who had been chilling in the middle of the cage somehow in plain sight, opens his wings. And he stands there motionless for a moment as if saying, "Come. Take a picture of me. Love me." Some humble bird he was.
  3. Cross the street.
    "If you can drive in Peru, you can drive anywhere." That's how the ole' saying goes--and it's true. But I just feel the need to add that if you can cross the street in Peru without turning into a sticker on the road (people there do not stop to let you cross!) you can cross the street anywhere. Once I tripped on the hem of my jeans and a bus was coming at me. The dude wouldn't slow down. I didn't even have time to crawl, I missed getting hit by the blasted thing by like, an inch.
    When I finally got back home to Boise this year, I was crossing the street to get to Target. A car was coming and I got into CROSSING STREET DEFENSE MODE but the guy in the car gave me a weird look and motioned for me to just pass. It was so weird! 
The oldest church on the coast.
Memorable things happen in Peru, and among mine, these are my favorite (or at least most memorable, nearly getting hit by a bus isn't that fun.)

I dream of travel. I just want to grab a bag with a notebook and go. Because when you visit another place, you will have an adventure! Don't stay at home, people--all the fun is outside your comfort zone. It can be the southern hemisphere or another state. Just grab a bag and go.


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