For the month of June, we wanted to know what you’ve done to live like a local while traveling, a way that gets you off-the-beaten path and opens your eyes to new experiences. Our winner this month was traveler Carol, whose visit to a Peruvian nursing home added an extra-special touch to her tour through Ancient Peru & Machu Picchu.
“I asked our Tour Director if it was possible, so we went together in a taxi, he was very enthusiastic to go. I saw from the outside that it was a Catholic home, and when I walked in, it was very clean.”
As a geriatric nurse, Carol has had a lot of experience working in nursing homes and she was impressed at the set-up and care of the Peruvian nursing home. “There were no hallways, rather they were gradual ramps,” she describes. “If you keep somebody moving, they’re more apt to keep being able to walk. So I was impressed with those ramps, I thought that was a good idea.”
Carol and her Tour Director spent about an hour visiting and talking with some of the residents in the home. “They were very curious. They asked me if I had a camera, usually you don’t take pictures in a home unless you have written permission. They were enthusiastic to see that I had a digital camera and they could see pictures of themselves. The men all wanted to see pictures of themselves!”
Because of Carol’s experience as a nurse, she’s always been interested in getting to know the local people in the places she visits. “I’ve been a nurse all my life, I deal with people all the time,” she says. “We live in an area that has many cultures. I’ve always wondered, ‘what did they leave?’ ‘Where did these people come from?’ ‘How have they learned English so well?’ In Cusco it was very conducive to mingle with the people who live there.”
Aside from visiting a local nursing home, Carol found another way to connect with the South American culture. “The other thing I did when I was there—we had a great time on that trip—there were four or five women that were from a church down south—so we asked the guide if we could go to the Amazon.” Carol explains. “I couldn’t believe it, he made this arrangement for us to fly to Iquitos and took us to a boat on the Amazon. It was just a lot of fun.
So where is Carol headed with her free tour? Peru was one of her favorite countries she’s visited, so her eye is on our Galápagos Islands & Ecuador tour. “Possibly Spain,” she says after a moment’s thought. “I’ve been there before but never to Barcelona, and I never did a day trip to Morocco.”
Our warmest congratulations to Carol! Missed the chance to win your tour for free? Enter here to answer this month’s prompt.