Crappy Colca Canyon and the two-month slump

There comes a time in every traveller’s trip where over-stimulation strikes and nothing short of a trip to the moon can raise more than a cynical eyebrow. It’s like a drug addict constantly needing a higher dose to hit that high, only less harmful to your health. You’ve cycled the world’s most dangerous road. You’ve seen Rio de Janeiro from a hand glider. You’ve seen a giant otter eat a caiman. You’ve seen the sun rise over Machu Picchu, one of the new wonders of the world. What more can there be?

Suddenly, everything is a bit…meh. Inca ruin. Who cares? World’s deepest canyon? No it’s not. A new person trying to talk to me? Same old conversation – where you been/where you going/how long you been travelling, blah blah blah. I just don’t care anymore.

All I want to do is sit on a sofa (why do so many hostels lack comfortable sofas?), watch television and eat chocolate, even if the sun is shining and there’s a once-in-a-lifetime attraction to see outside. I’ve overdosed on once in a lifetimes. If I ever have another once in a lifetime I hope it’s in my next lifetime.

I can tell you the exact time my two-month slump hit – Craig got his then too: the Inca Trail was behind us, we’d just visited Machu Picchu and were leaving Inkaterra, one of the best hotels I’ve ever had the fortune to visit. We had reached a peak. The same thing happened in India: our second-to-last day in Assam we realised we could not be bothered with more travelling around. We skipped Kerala and spent two weeks on Palolem Beach, Goa – one of the best decisions of the trip.

It wasn’t the Colca Canyon’s fault that it was crap. It was ours. When you’re in the two-month slump, it’s easy to find fault with everything. It was the hotel’s fault we got up at 2am for a 3.30am pick-up. It was the hotel’s fault we didn’t bring any water with us because we were told water was provided. (Communication between the tour operator, Colca Adventures, and the hotel was poor…) It was nature’s fault that there were no condors at the condor viewpoint to compensate for our early start. It was fate’s fault that we were the only English speakers on the trip; the guide’s fault for being too lazy to translate everything for us, even though he was perfectly capable.

I knew the path would be all downhill for the first day. I didn’t know it would be made of loose rubble. I have balance issues, a problem with my inner ear. Narrow paths made of skiddy, uneven material on a steep mountainside and me in a foul mood do not a good mix make. My internal disaster monologue went into overdrive. I cried. The slump had reached a peak. I didn’t want to be there; Craig didn’t want to be there; the view didn’t change all the way down – in short, it was a waste of time.

We should have stayed in the hotel, watched television and eaten chocolate. Craig though, being the positive creature that he is, tried to drag us out of the quagmire of self pity we were in. A traveller with a year off work feeling sorry for herself is not an attractive being. I didn’t want to be comforted, least of all reminded of all the positive things in my life. The blue sky, being in the gorge, getting some exercise, the prospect of a pool at the end – meh.

Thing is, you need some low times to be able to appreciate the ups more fully. You can’t be fully stimulated all of the time. I’m not a doctor, have no facts and have done none of my own research into this, but everyone knows what happens to babies whose parents insist on filling their offspring’s early days with baby yoga, baby ballet, baby reading group, baby dressage, etc: ADHD. I insist that comfortable sofas, chocolate and television are essential for living a full and happy life.

The moral of the story, for me and Craig at least, is that we need to slow down. We’re not going to go anywhere we don’t really want to; we’re not going to be swayed into seeing a place just because people rave about it (those people who rave insistently about places are usually only trying to justify their going there anyway – they were probably over-stimulated as children); we’re going to change it up a bit by heading to the coast (Mancora instead of Huarez – it’s rainy season in the mountains); and we’re going to consider the environment more in choosing how and where we travel. Don’t ask me where the last resolution came from – we both just felt a lot better when we started talking about it, clinging to the side of the crappy Colca Canyon, grumpily observing the view not changing as we descended into what may or may not be the second deepest canyon in the world.

4 Responses to “Crappy Colca Canyon and the two-month slump”
  1. Bob Mak says:

    Take a break, have some Pisco, lime out on the beach. The sun is great for re-charging the battery. And, remember – you could be at work in a big city. Save the “blahs” for old age, when brown sugar on the porridge is exciting and finding your teeth under the bed is an adventure.

  2. Barclay says:

    Lol. You definitely sound like you both need to have a few chill out days.
    I almost felt sorry for you, then I remembered that you’re travelling around the world having multiple once in a lifetime experiences in places I will never go.

    Keep blogging you’re many more once in a lifetime experiences and if/when you next have a slump, without a doubt, 100%, make sure you blog it again. Hilarious.

    I’m now going to sit on my sofa and eat chocolate. Don’t worry I’ll have a piece for you both 😉

  3. I know, I know! I must be having fun ALL of the time for a whole YEAR. Anything less than that is a big fat failure!

    Bob, I actually find brown sugar on porridge exciting already, especially when it melts into a delicious, sticky goo. Add some raisins and almonds and I can barely contain myself!

    Barclay, make sure the chocolate is at least 70% and I’ll blog about all the crap bits, just for you! 🙂

  4. Bob Mak says:

    Stop, you’re making me hungry. Have to go find my teeth – not for the porridge but for the nuts. At least you don’t have to worry about leaving your teeth in a hostel! Have a good Christmas. New Year’s Day we are off on a South Pacific/French Polynesia adventure, on the water for a month.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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