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CEO Kristi Knowles takes Peru by Storm!

After just returning from Peru, Kristi Knowles, our CEO answers our questions about her most recent adventure. She shares her highlights, what she took away from the trip and her favorite activities.

What made you decide to go to Peru?  Nothing makes me happier than being active in the great outdoors; the fresh air, stunning scenery and sense of freedom, give me so much energy and joy.  Peru was a natural spot on my bucket list.  I turned 50 (yikes) and decided that it would be an amazing trip to celebrate the milestone. My awesome husband, Eric, did most of the planning for this one!

Where did you go?  We covered a fair amount of ground over 2 weeks.  A couple of days in Cusco, a day in the Sacred Valley, the 4-day Inca Hike to Machu Pichu, the tricky hike up Wayna Picchu, back to Cusco, 3 days exploring the wonders of the Amazon and wrapping up with a day in Lima. 

Any highlights?

The hikes were spectacular. I kept thanking my body for giving me the stamina and strength to complete them. The vistas in Peru are breath-taking and pictures just don’t do the landscape justice.  Around every corner, the view astounded us.  We learned so much about the Incas and were blown-away by their resourcefulness and gracious co-existence with Mother Earth, or “Pacha Mama”. 

What about the people of Peru?  Our experiences with the Peruvian people were exceptional.  They were so friendly, deeply knowledgeable about their country and willing to help with a smile.  Our porters, cook and guide on the Inca Trail worked harder than anyone we’ve ever seen.  The porters carry heavy loads on their back and honestly sprint on the trail...many in sandals.  When you arrive at your camp site, they are already preparing the next meal.  I was mind-blown and humbled.

What were some of your observations?  The absence of litter along the trail and the pristine condition of the ruins. No graffiti anywhere. There appeared to be a great sense of pride for the environment in most places in Peru.  Another observation was the self-sufficiency of Peru from the perspective of abundant resources and agriculture.  We also loved that lamas and alpacas can be found everywhere!  Oh yes, and the food.

Can you describe the food?  Fresh. Flavorful. Fantastic. Our guide took us to the local market in Cusco and the variety of fresh produce, grains, seeds, nuts and more.  He told us a story about how Peruvian food came to be so flavourful.  Apparently, during times of strife, the people resorted to eating mostly potatoes and corn.  To make these vegetables more varied, they blended herbs, spices, peppers and other items on hand, into fresh flavourful sauces and condiments. Every dish we enjoyed was like a symphony for the taste buds.  My favourite was a quinoa risotto with local mushrooms-yum.  And they serve soup before every meal! 

What are your key takeaways from your trip? This trip reinforced the magic and allure of Mother Earth’s strength, beauty and resilience.  Also, that challenging yourself to new adventures, is such a powerful experience and opportunity for growth.  I really believe that personal growth comes from pushing oneself into the nooks and crannies that may make us feel equal parts exhilarated and uneasy.   During the harder parts of the hike, I turned away thoughts of ‘this is hard, my legs are aching’ and repeated my new mantra, ‘pacha mama (Mother Earth) thank you for this gift’. And finally, the benefit to the soul, body and mind of being off the grid.  Creativity and moments of awakening come in moments of silence. 

How has this trip changed your perspective on work, life or both? I think it just brings the things that are important to the team at Mother Raw and to me personally into sharper focus.  Our mission is simple, “invite everyone to enjoy the power of plants” and we respect Mother Earth’s bounty.  Being out in Mother Earth’s playground, reinforced why this is so important for us.  For me personally, like many of my travels and adventures, it reminded me of just how big this world is and how much there is left to be discovered.  My motto is ‘keep on moving’ and Peru reinforced why I believe in it so much. 

What’s the next adventure for you?  Well, my Dragon Boat team, the Sirens, are racing this Sunday. Being amongst 20 or so strong, active women, powering towards a finish line, is always an adventure!  The next travel adventures we have in mind are a safari in Africa and trekking in New Zealand.