Lima, Peru

Welcome to Lima, Peru. And the start of a new identity crisis.

I want to move to New York. Or Portland. Or Austin. Or Seattle. Maybe. I thought about that as I sat under a sculpture of two giant lovers embraced in a kiss in Parque del Amor, “Love Park,” in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru.

Parque del Amor in Lima, Peru

Parque del Amor in Lima, Peru.

At least, I managed to think about that for about two minutes before a man asked me to take his picture and then started talking to me.

And then I couldn’t get rid of him no matter how many times I tried. I’d say, “I’d like to walk alone for a bit,” and he’d say, “OK, I’ll come with you.” Or, “I just want to sit here by myself for a while,” and he’d sit there too.

And then I ended up doing his English homework for him.

And then he tried to kiss me.

As things go.

After that, I retreated back to my hostel.

It was my first day out of my home country after seven months home in Chicago. It was my first day in Lima. My first day in Peru. I went to bed that night, in a room with seven strangers, thinking that maybe I was actually done with long-term travel. Maybe my heart wasn’t in it anymore. But then I woke up, as I often do, wanting to wake up every morning in a different city, in a different room, among seven new strangers.

Let’s just say: I don’t know what I want anymore.

Or, more accurately: I don’t know what I want.

New York got me thinking of change. Maybe I could move somewhere new and unpack all those boxes I’m storing and it would still be an adventure, but with more furniture purchases involved. (Seriously, I’m probably the only person traveling the world who dreams of what couch she’s going to buy someday.)

But then I’d be tied down, with no money to travel. Probably no money to even enjoy where I was.

And there are so many places I still want to see.

And then it would just be harder to ever pick up and leave again when I inevitably decide that that’s what I want to do.

Then there’s this little fact that soon I will have no money and what I want won’t matter anymore anyways unless I can get more freelance work but I am not one of those hustlers who can find work all the time so I will have to move back and get a real job again somewhere. Somewhere.


I’ll figure it all out, I suppose. That is, after all, why I came to Peru. I figured I’d take it slow, spend three months in the country, settle somewhere, possibly Cusco, for a month or two, get shit done, and figure things out.


So welcome to Peru, and welcome to my new identity crisis. Both of which I’ll be in over the next three months across the country, in Huacachina, in Arequipa, in Cusco, and wherever else I end up.

In the meantime, here are photos from Lima, Peru:

Cats in Parque Central de Miraflores in Lima, Peru

Parque Central de Miraflores was covered in cats.

Dancing in Parque Central de Miraflores Lima, Peru

Dancing in Parque Central de Miraflores.

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

Miraflores in Lima, Peru


All the ceviche from Cebicheria La Mar in Lima, Peru

All the ceviche from Cebicheria La Mar.

P parade Lima, Peru

A parade. For some reason.

ShotsLima, Peru

It was a girl in my hostel’s birthday. She made me take a shot.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Steph
    July 30, 2014at11:45 am

    “(Seriously, I’m probably the only person traveling the world who dreams of what couch she’s going to buy someday.)”
    I assure you, you are not. That’s a big part of why after almost 4 years Mike and I are giving up (taking a break?) long-term travel in favor of stationary living in Seattle. We just want a home so badly. I find myself looking at home decorating pinterest boards the way other people probably look at my travel photos, with intense longing. I think it’s natural to crave that after awhile.
    I also don’t think it has to be either/or. At least I hope not. We’re playing house now, but I find it hard to believe travel will ever NOT be a massive part of my life. At least I hope not.

  • rebecca
    August 4, 2014at11:28 pm

    so many “what ifs” and “oh but I could” I would just be happy to be in Peru! Hope it all works out for you 🙂 look forward to reading about your new short term home.

  • Ali
    August 13, 2014at7:11 pm

    You can mold your life into just about anything you want it to be. Look at me and Andy. We own our apartment in Freiburg, this is our home, and we technically have to be here a certain amount of each year to continue to qualify for residence visas. (Mine is more strict because I’ve lived here for less time.) But we still travel. A lot. And for long periods of time. It kind of sucks to have to rent out our apartment when we leave, but it’s how we make it work. It’s how we got to be in Berlin for 3 months last year. It’s how we went to SE Asia for 2 months earlier this year. And we have another big one coming up soon. You can totally have a home somewhere and still travel. Granted, the money issue will always be there, and living the in between life like we are isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s worth it if you want both.

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