Lima, Peru: The Personal Transformation through Travel

Lima, Peru: The Personal Transformation through Travel

Travel changes you. Essentially, anything you do that makes you slightly uncomfortable changes you. Admittedly, not everywhere you travel to will be life-changing. I found my change in Peru and it was the place that ignited my passion for travel.

Through an immersion into Peru’s culture, an open mind and so much more, I experienced a personal transformation through travel.

Let’s talk about Peru

I always talk about Peru with such fond memories. It was the place where I fell in love with travel. Peru represented experiencing cultures, a new language, spreading love, being my authentic self, finding common grounds and appreciating differences. It gave me the total travel experience.

Did you know? Peru got 700,000 Africans in the slave trade. They are now called Afro-Peruvians.

Miraflores, Peru
Huacachina, Peru (Oasis in a desert.)
Huacachina. An Oasis in one of the most barren places on earth. Simply magical.
The most magical place ever

Valuing experiences over things through cultural immersion

An undiluted cultural experience is one of the most transformative things ever. After you get past the initial culture shock, if any, everything else feels like pure magic. You start to appreciate the world and it’s differences even more and you come to value experiences, people and culture over material possessions.

Peru gave me an unreal cultural experience. An exposure to the people, the language, and the food and the food (yes, I said it twice). It was great to see just how different, yet similar it was to my home country, Nigeria. 

Peru: Try Inca Kola, Ceviche, Cuy (Guinea pig), Arroz Con Leche. When you eat, make sure you compliment the food by saying, “Que Rico” meaning “It is delicious”

A typical Peruvian dish with the famous Inca Kola, Peru’s own Coca-Cola
Lima, Peru
New local friends in Peru

Learning and relearning from stereotypes

It’s amazing to discover the stereotypes people have of the people that look like you. Some are outright terrible, some manageable but whatever the case, it will change you. The humbling feeling of being unknown and largely misunderstood. “Oh, you don’t know Nigeria? It’s the largest country in Africa” “Oh we actually live in bricks and mortars as opposed to huts”.  These were some of the questions I was asked in Peru.  It is an opportunity to teach someone something new and learn something in return but it makes you realize just how big the world is and the fact that not everyone is aware of where you come from. If anything, this will teach you humility. 

On the flip side, this is your one true chance to see things for yourself by having a first-hand experience in the country. Before I went to Peru, all I had heard about the place was “Peruvian Hair”. While Peruanas have such great hair, there was so much more about the country that I discovered.

Peru: Some of the locals in Peru had never heard of a country called Nigeria before. They knew Africa though but classified it as a country. 

The sun sets in the Sand dunes of Ica, Peru
Sand dunes & surfboards
Getting a rest. First time surfer.

Respecting cultures and being your authentic self

As you travel, it’s easier to be yourself because you are aware that you are away from familiar customs and eyes filled with expectations about how to lead your life. That mini skirt that’s largely a taboo in your country isn’t even a thing where you’re going. It is what it is. A skirt. That freedom and relearning is empowering. And if you’re lucky, you will take it back home with you. Now, you might go home and still not wear a mini skirt because you have to respect the customs of your country but the freedom will breathe life into other aspects of your life and you will begin to live more freely, more happily and more whole. 

At the same time, you have to respect the traditions and customs of the country you are heading to. It’s their country after all and if you chose to visit, you should be more than willing to be respectful to their opinions and way of life.

Peru: In Peru, you shouldn’t call someone over to you with a first finger curled upward. Although this gesture can be used to get someone to come closer to you in America, in Peru it is considered an insult.

Inka Market
Inka Market
Shopping around for local fabric
Gorgeous Alpaca sweaters

Finding the common ground

No matter where your adventure leads you, you can be sure that you will find something largely similar to your home country. Of course, this can be because you are seeing things through your own eyes that have been shaped by your experiences but again, this can be because, well, there really is a similarity. If you don’t find anything though, you will surely find that everywhere you go, the common goal is to be happy. How we all choose to pursue it is all that is different. 

Peru: Finding the common ground between my country Nigeria and Peru was not too difficult. The people are one of the happiest on earth even though their economy is not in the best shape.

Volunteering at a local school
The beautiful children at the school

Street food
Yello taxis in Peru, commonly referred to as “collectivos”
Another means of transportation in Peru

Peru: My heart’s lighthouse

Peru is my heart’s lighthouse. I think for everyone, there is that one place that holds a special place in your memory and Peru is it for me. Thanks to Peru, I embrace travel and I am able to ditch my comfort zone and be more accepting of other cultures, of myself and of the world. If it doesn’t challenge you, it wouldn’t change you.

The house of the President of Peru

Miraflores, Peru

So that is my personal transformation through travel. Now it’s your turn. Has travel changed anything about you? Let me know in the comments. 

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Until next time,

About the author

Working Professional by day, Travel Blogger by night. Here, I share my personal life and travel experiences as well as helpful tips to help readers start their own travel journey. Want to talk? Contact me on info@theufuoma.com. Don’t be a stranger!

17 Comments

  1. Wow I feel glad reading your post.It makes me back some years ago when I met you.I really aprecciate this article.I am glad Peru inspired you to travel.There are many things about Peru that people only discover it been here.Hope you can come back and visit other cities in Peru.You will be always welcome.

    1. Peru was really amazing and I miss it every day. I cannot wait to come back and hopefully get to see you again. You were my first friend in Peru and I really appreciate you welcoming me with open arms. Miss you Valerie! <3

  2. Love this article! Travel has transformed me in so many ways and I got bit by the bug when i visited Morocco in 2011. That trip was an eye opener for me as I did things out of my comfort zone. Spent the night in the Sahara Desert with Berber Nomads among other things. Machu Picchu is high up there on my bucket list and I cant wait to see your story.

    http://naijanomads.com/destinations/naija-nomad/we-went-camping-in-nigeria-part-1-ogun-state-nigeria/

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I came across your blog via KacheeTee’s. You have made me want to go to Peru, which is something I never thought would be.

    desireuba.wordpress.com

  4. When did you visit Peru, Ufuoma? It sounds (and looks) like such a memorable trip!

    Another question is how do you manage to get pictures of yourself: do you travel with a companion or are you not shy to ask someone local to take your picture? On my first real solo trip I was so scared to ask anyone to take a pic of me because I thought they steal my camera. 😅

  5. I enjoy how you share your travel experiences! One thing I’ve noticed that I enjoy doing, is replicating food that I discover from a trip in my home kitchen. I also take away decoration ideas. The personal transformation has really begun 🙂

    1. Aweeeesome! Isn’t that the beauty of travel? Sharing cultures and ideas. I never thought about replicating food. Hmmm, I should try that.
      Thanks for stopping by, Tomi.

  6. You make me wanna pack my bags and go there tomorrow. Amazing ❤️ And the oasis? I feel like if I experience it myself, it’ll be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

    1. Oh, the oasis was surreal. Peru, in general, is amazing. I left out Machu Picchu which is another breathtaking place. That’s post for another day.
      Thanks for reading, Joy.

  7. Absolutely thrilling, your story about stereotype got me. The harmful thing about being stereotypical is that the stereotype is passionately spreading error that could potentially carry damaging consequences. Stereotypical views converges negative details about somewhere, persons or organisation. Not everyone will visit Peru, but i can definitely relate it to other places I’ve been to. Nice piece.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Stereotypes are really harmful especially when they are negative. Good thing we do not have to always accept them.

  8. Awesome!! Peru was the first country that I backpacked in – it was incredible! I went to these same places and felt the sense of adventure, freedom, and exploration that you did. Glad we have that in common!!

    1. Peru is absolutely amazing. No lie. It’s one of the most authentic place I have ever visited. Glad you enjoyed Peru! Makes the two of us 🙂

  9. I felt like I was in Peru after reading this. You tell your travel stories really well. Yes travel is life changing and everyone should dare to leave their comfort zones. Thanks for sharing and inspiring

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