At our company visits and around the cities we visited, I got to see firsthand how different and how similar life in Peru can be. The things I learned listening to Peruvian economists, government officials, and business leaders speak to us as well as those learned exploring the cities where we stayed will be carried with me through my life.
I find myself with a new appreciation for those working hard to improve not only their own situation, but the situation of an entire nation. I also have found an appreciation for the choice between English and Spanish on the ATM machine. I understand that the business decisions we make every day in the US can ripple through the global economy to a single farmer of giant corn in the Sacred Valley, making the difference between whether he can sustain his way of life or not.
I also got to know a great group of people. Whether it was dancing our hearts out at a local traditional Peruvian dance and music show, killing time while the bus driver looked for the pieces that fell off the bus after an impromptu creek crossing in the Sacred Valley, climbing to the top of Wayna Picchu to look down upon the amazing construction of the Incan civilization, or sitting down to enjoy a few Cuzcanias, I became closer to some already good friends and got to know some new good friends. I realized that despite the many different choices of things to do on our trip, the ones that were the best were the ones we did together. I only hope that I can continue to build upon these great friendships no that our trip is over.As such, coming home was bittersweet; I will miss the excitement, adventure, and fun of my trip. I was also looking forward to hugs and kisses from my wife and pooches. The trip home for many of us was challenging with all the flight complications caused by fuel system fires in Miami or computer system problems for Alaska Airlines. These challenges seem somewhat trivial compared to the challenges we were exposed to on our trip. I myself was stuck in Chicago for a night, but even that was not as bad as it sounds because I got to see my mother for a night. It’s not often that you get to come home twice on the same trip.
I would like to thank Alonso and Maria for planning such a fantastic trip. Thanks also to the group the came with because without each one of you, my experience would not have been as rich as it was. Lastly, thanks to my wife, Emily, for supporting my adventure and taking care of our home while I was away. Because of all of you, not only was I able to have the time of my life, but I get to take away memories and experiences that are now part of who I am, a slightly different person than I was when I started the trip.
- Guest Blogger, Mike Lumen, Evening MBA