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Life Reflections from Cocha Cashu

by Jason on July 16, 2012

I knew my two months in Manu Park would be life-changing for me. I just didn’t know I would experience those changes before I even arrived while on the flight down there. A movie was playing, “We Bought a Zoo.” How fitting for my two-month excursion to see so many new species of animals.

The whole movie is about family and friends and creating memories and experiences. At the end of the movie, a question was posed – which do you like more, animals or humans? The owner of the zoo said HUMANS. The zoo was never about the animals, but about creating memories and experiences with the ones you love – the humans.

Immediately, a piercing entered my heart. How could I make the same mistake twice? How did I let this happen? Nine years ago in my only other trip to Peru I came solo. My biggest takeaway from that trip was that while I loved traveling, I never wanted to travel solo again. Because there was no one I could share the memories with except for me. I vowed that I would never do that again.

And here I was nine years later headed back to Peru for an adventure of a lifetime in Cocha Cashu for six weeks — SOLO. I felt like I had been whacked in the head with a 2×4. What was I thinking? Yes, the Men’s Adventure Group would be coming in August, and that would make all the difference.

But what was I thinking about my six weeks in Cocha Cashu with the scientific researchers? It just dawned on me that no matter how many animals I saw or experiences I had, I would have no one to share them with. Because I was solo.

And I had prepared for this trip for over one year, planning it, telling everyone about it, making the trip all come together. And this one piece never occurred to me. So before I even began my six weeks, I wanted to come home to my wife, to my friends, and create experiences with them.

Because life isn’t about the animals. Life is about creating memories and experiences with the people you love.

And yet, I would be here in Manu Park for the next two months, six weeks of it solo. I still had yet to go to Cocha Cashu and see all the animals. There was still a reason for me to be on this trip.

After my first few days in Peru, I began to notice a shift in me. These two months here in the jungle in Peru were a culmination of nine years of feeling like I couldn’t do what I wanted. For nine years, one of the main things I wanted was to return to Peru and spend time in Manu Park.

Every year something got in the way. Every year that passed I held on to a huge belief that I could never have what I really wanted in life. In the last two years, I have made huge strides. I have seen, felt and experienced that I can truly have all that I want. And I’ve been seeing that on a consistent basis in my life now.

So for the last two years I’ve been pretty selfish. I’ve been doing all the things that Jason wants to do. And there wasn’t space for anything else. I didn’t have the space for kids or the space for work at church, because it wasn’t what I WANTED.

And Manu Park was the culmination of everything I wanted that I thought I couldn’t have. So now that I am here and I have everything, I feel a huge cycle in my life completing internally. I can actually feel it inside.

I have everything that I want. I have a wife who supports me for being away for two months traveling through the jungle. I get to coach, travel, be in nature and spend money on what I want. I get to be so selfish.

And now that I have it, I feel that cycle is complete. What I feel rising up in its place is a huge desire to give back and to be in connection with my family and loved ones. I actually feel like I want kids now and that I’m excited about it. I feel like I can spend money on other things now other than myself. I feel a huge desire to serve and give back.

My motivations are shifting from what I want to how I can create life with others. I feel like I am taking on a new responsibility to open up to what is around me. To see how I can participate in the rest of life outside of just what I want.

I am so excited about returning home and creating experiences with my wife and everyone close to me in my community.

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