Elevation Published on March 21, 2014

One thing I love about traveling is the sense of adventure I get from getting outside my day-to-day life and challenging my comfort zone.

That’s what happened when I (terribly prone to carsickness) decided to get into a taxi in Peru’s Sacred Valley to drive up a mountain road that seemed to wind endlessly and way too close for comfort to the cliff’s edge.

My destination was worth it; we arrived at 13,000 feet of elevation to the school we came for, and even though the school looked like any other we’d seen, there was nothing else around for miles. I found out that many of the children walked 2 hours from their homes to get there, and that the meal they got at school was sometimes the only meal they got for the day.

It really felt like I’d stepped into another world, and what I found were these beautiful young girls dressed in their vibrant traditional clothing, their cheeks sun-chapped, their smile shy but welcoming. For a few short hours, I got to sit with them, talk with them about their hobbies and what they loved, and let them proudly show off to me the classroom where they learned.

I had braved this mountain in order to help Peruvian Hearts deliver food to these students and their teachers, but what I found was something more than I expected: a feeling of being connected to others I cared about; a feeling of being where I belonged.