It seems like it was yesterday I had this notion of starting up a travel company that really paid attention to the details of travel. So I did. On The Map Travel (check it out at www.onthemaptravel.com). Not mass market stuff, but trips that include all the small things I love so much when I travel – the things I bring up when talking to my friends about a destination. A good example of this is an experience I had in Peru at Machu Picchu when I was employed as a tour director for a large travel company. I love the ruins of Machu Picchu on their own – they are simply amazing, it’s true. But what stands out in my memory most is the early morning I spent with a 80 years and counting professor (a client on one of my trips) who invited me and a few of our other tour members to go with him to the ruins at dawn. Once there, he pulled out a copy of Pablo Neruda’s famous epic poem “The Heights of Machu Picchu” from his knapsack (well worth a read, you can get it at my favorite travel bookstore www.longitudebooks.com or at www.amazon.com).
We all sat on the ancient stones and read portions of the poem out loud to one another, while llamas grazed nearby and the mists moved up and down the mountains, bringing them into focus and then making them disappear again.
So there we sat – a wise man, a tour guide, a middle aged American tourist and a business executive – and listened to each other read the magic words of Neruda:
“Kiss these secret stones with me.
The torrential silver of the Urubamba
Makes the pollen fly to its golden cup.
The hollow of the bindweed’s maze,
the petrified plant, the inflexible garland,
soar above the silence of these mountain coffers.”
Wow. A travel moment I will never forget.
So, now as On The Map Travel enters the blogging world, I hope you’ll come along as we talk travel – places we love, secret spots we’ve discovered as we travel the world, great places to eat, fun things to do, fabulous people we’ve met, why we believe in responsible travel, how travel is the most direct way to achieve peace on earth . . .our list of what makes travel so wonderful goes on and on.
Sometimes it will be me, Anne MacIntyre, writing. Other times my business partner Audrey Kennedy will throw in her two cents. We are excited about joining a whole community of people who love to travel and love to share their experiences with other travelers.
By the way, when people travel with us to Machu Picchu, EVERYONE gets a copy of “The Heights of Machu Picchu” as a gift.