The Bucket List
Sally, a 67 year old grandmother from Michigan, arrived a few minutes after us.
Soon there were a dozen more people in the SAS Travel office, ready to join the Sacred Valley tour before heading on to Machu Picchu. Dani and I had more than two decades on most of our fellow travelers – but Sally had two decades on us.
“I’m doing the Sacred Valley tour today, but tomorrow I’m off on the four day trek along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu,” she told us. “It’s one of the things on my bucket list.”
And so here she was, in Cusco, preparing for a difficult four day hike that has challenged people a third her age.
Later that day, as we hiked to the ruins at Pisac, Sally told us more: “I’m a traveler. If I want to go somewhere or do something and I can’t find a friend to come along, I just go. I’ve got my list, and I’m checking things off.”
We came to a fork in the path. To the left, the path rose at a steady grade to the parking area. To the right, the path remained level until the final fifty yards, then it rose steeply.
We chose the path to the right and continued on.
As we walked, Sally asked about our family, our travels. Dani told her our basic story. “I would have loved to have done a round the world trip with my kids,” she said.
Soon we reached the steep incline to the parking area. As we made the difficult climb Dani said, “I’m not sure we chose the right path.”
Thinking Dani was still talking about our travels, Sally said, “Honey, all you can do in life is make your choices and keep moving forward.
Later that afternoon, I was walking behind Sally as we roamed over the ruins at Ollyantambo. I saw her stumble over the rough stone path.
“Oh no, I heard a crack,” she said.
Her ankle began to swell almost immediately. I helped her down dozens of steps, and she limped back to the tour bus.
She asked no one in particular: “What if it’s broken? How will I do the Inca trail?”
It was time for Dani, the kids and me to catch the train to Machu Picchu. We said a rushed goodbye and wished Sally good luck. The tour bus was set to take her to Cusco, and then, most likely, she’d be off to the hospital.
As we went our separate ways, I thought about Sally’s bucket list and what she had said earlier that day: “You make your choices and you keep moving forward.”