I’m Going Back to Peru. Here’s Why.

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I fell in love with Peru long before I visited; and my love of the place only continued to deepen while I spent three months living in the Sacred Valley, near Pisac. So I’m going back for more….to set up shop and live there for a while.

This post was originally published in 2014. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.

I Knew it Before I Knew it

Shortly after arriving in Peru, I was walking with a friend, and saw a property that called to me. There were two houses on the property; one larger house that I was told was occupied by the owner (who was out of town at the time), and a smaller house nearby. I was inexplicably mesmerized. I asked my friend how much the owner charges to rent out the smaller house.

“He doesn’t rent that house out,” was the reply, so I put it out of my mind.

the house in Peru I would eventually live in, against all odds

A few weeks later, the property owner returned, and we met a few times, eventually becoming friends.

One night, I awoke mid-sleep, and sat bolt upright in bed. It was as if my friend (the property owner) had called my name. I was sure he had a message for me; sure enough to go out on a limb and ask. So the next day I wandered over to his place.

“Do you have a message for me?” was my opening line, without explanation as to why I was asking such a random question.

“Um…eat more greens?” he replied.

This wasn’t exactly the message I expected. I chucked my dream up to ‘one of those things’ that we can’t explain, and forgot about it.

But as serendipity would have it (quite similar to the serendipity that brought me to Peru in the first place), over the ensuing months I developed a deeper friendship with the property owner, and, despite the fact that he doesn’t rent out the house that caught my eye and imagination, he offered to rent it out to me.

With a dose of hindsight, I can’t help but think that this odd sequence of events was part of a greater scheme that played out. This sort of magic isn’t uncommon in the Sacred Valley of Peru, and is part of the sense of mystery that has enticed me to return.

How long Will I Stay?

When I tell people I’m going to live in Peru for a while, the first question they ask is how long I’ll stay. My answer: I don’t know.

After traveling full-time for eight years, I’ve had a chance to set up shop in a few places; I lived in Australia on and off for 18 months, New Zealand (on and off) for nine months, and Grenada (again, on and off) for two years.

In all three cases I used these places as a base for other travels – something that, regardless of how much I ever “settle down” (oh gosh I dislike that term), I can’t see myself hanging up my traveling shoes completely.

Terraced mountainside in the Sacred Valley of Peru

Benefits of Cultural Immersion

I love living around the world (rather than merely passing through it); as much as that place may provide the sense of “home” that I crave in the moment, it also feels like a new world of discovery every time I step outside my front door. It’s the perfect balance for chronic wanderlust.

So for now, my next home base is going to be Peru.

For Now?

Yes, for now. I don’t know how long Peru will feel like home, or when the next amazing place I want to live in will cross my radar.

I could stay in Peru for years. Or…it might just be months.

Home is a Moving Target

“Home” doesn’t need to be a giant proclamation of permanence; for me, it’s simply a place that feels good enough to call home for as long as it feels good, it’s safe and secure, and there’s something to be gained from being there.

What will I gain from my time in Peru?

Only time will tell. Stick around, kiddo.

Update 2017…Spoiler Alert: It Was Great While it Lasted

This homeowner from whom I rented this house was also a shaman who ended up becoming my teacher with whom I apprenticed for almost two years. Sadly though, it didn’t last, and I closed the door to my beautiful Sacred Valley home mid 2016. Here’s more on my adventures in shamanism, which took me beyond Peru and into Ecuador: Learning to Be an Ayahuasca and San Pedro Shaman

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43 thoughts on “I’m Going Back to Peru. Here’s Why.”

  1. Great post. I also hate the term: “settling down”. I booked a one way ticket and will be traveling to Europe till Christmastime. I almost have an apartment lined up for a good while in southern Italy. I’m pretty excited!

  2. This is so cool to hear… I love serendipity moments and you’ve clearly had them in Peru! And I totally agree with your answer of “I don’t know”. I recently returned from a cross-country road trip (Canada and US) and told people I’d be gone for a month, maybe six months, maybe two years. I adopted a dog in Halifax (serendipity for sure!) and was gone for six weeks in total …ended up the exact perfect amount of time, of course.
    You’re previous posts already made me add Peru to my wanderings ‘list’ and I really look forward to reading more of your discovers there.

    • Thanks, Michelle! I’m really excited to return, and despite already having spent three months there, I’m quite sure there will be MANY more discoveries to come. Stay tuned!

  3. I totally ‘get you’ ! I get the concept of I don’t know, of time not having a definition, of the need to return, of the need to just be in a place without further expectations. I came into my own travel lifestyle by default. The universe helped for sure and it continues to serve. Peru sounds like a very sacred place to energize your soul. I’ve never been but I do look forward to your forth coming posts! Enjoy your new home 🙂

    • Thank you, Natasha! My travels have redefined themselves many times over in the last eight years. It wasn’t always a smooth and confident process, but with time I’m learning that there is no definition that I need to satisfy. This lifestyle – and lifestyle design in general – is all about flexibility; and I’m flexing that flexibility right now!

  4. I have a feeling I have been in that neighborhood:) If you happen to run into Javier give him my very best! Keep inspiring us all to keep wandering!
    Excellent choice in a ‘base’!

    • Kathleen: if you know Javier, then certainly you must recognize the house in my post…. 😉 I’ll give him your regards!

  5. I’ve been thinking a lot about Peru and a lot of South America lately, but I’ll have to keep that as an option for the future as I don’t think I’ll be leaving Japan in the near future. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see how Peru is going for you.

  6. It looks enchanting. I can see why you fell in love with it.

    I think there’s a place for each of us that just “fits” — who knows how or why. I love to travel but for me, there’s no place like New York City. It fulfills me unlike any other place I’ve ever been.

    I lived here for 18 yrs (am currently visiting for a month), bought a house and moved to Atlanta for 10 years. Last year, I got rid of everything and relocated to Jamaica (Negril) — all the while travelling. I’m the type that needs a home base.

    I feel like I had to go around the world to find out that New York is home for me. I know I’ll settle back in the city one day permanently — it’s the one thing I’m sure of.

    Thanks for sharing. What a powerful story of the spirit knowing what the unconscious mind is sometimes unaware of.

    • Hi Yuwanda,
      Travel often helps us learn more about ourselves, what we like, and where we want to ultimately be. I’m sure you’re not the first person to trek around the world to realize the value of the place you started. Happy travels/home basing!

    • Hey Dana,
      So far I’m loving my time here in Peru, although I’m still just settling in. I’m going hiking in the mountains for two days as of tomorrow….a great way to reconnect with the land and people and local communities.

  7. Just came through via your newsletter just to say that your lifestyle design choice is as fantastic now as I’ve ever known it, ever since I started reading about you back in 2011 before we started our own travels.

    And you’re so right about the “how long for?” question. Now we just shrug our shoulders and leave it at that.

    • Hey Dale!
      Indeed – people here in Peru regularly ask me how long I’m staying. My response is a simple “however long it feels good for”!

  8. Nora, happy trails and spicy traveling (or spicy sitting-for-a-spell). I have a friend who is going to live in Peru on a semi-permeable basis like you describe; I’ve encouraged her to check out your site. Hope you’re well, Tom B (from the Florida Keys media trip).

    • Hey Tom! (Hardly a guy I can forget)
      Semi-permeable….very cute. And yet, I am feeling quite semi-permeable at the moment, soaking up all the local culture and language I can!
      Happy travels to you….where is your next adventure taking you?

      • Got back from 3 weeks in San Miguel de Allende (lovely spot) a bit back. Short media trip to Vegas (!) in a couple of weeks and then a short one in Los Cabos after that. Then … who knows?

        You’ll probably hear from my pal Rachel through your contact form—she’s going to be staying somewhere in the Sacred Valley. See you in the ether!

        • Wow, Tom – great trips all in all! Glad you’re enjoying all “the road” has to offer. I’ll keep an eye out for Rachel’s email.

  9. Things happens for a reason and if you got the place you wanted to rent thats something, Enjoy your time in Peru. I can not wait to visit Peru, it is one of the countries in my bucket list.

  10. Hi Nora,
    À good year late in replying, but I just wanted to thank you for recommending Pisac. I am traveling in Peru throughout this month, May 2015. I knew I wanted to come here after reading about your time here, and after 2 nights in Cusco, I hated it and wanted out. Pisac has been just what I needed! I’m sorry to say I won’t be able to partake in the San Pedro ceremony, as Javier aNd his other contact were both booked.

    I came to Peru after 10 months in Santiago, which I hated. Peru can be difficult, but fortunately, it helped save my perception of S America. Êspecially my too short time here in Pisac. Thanks!

    • Hi Jennifer – I’m so glad you had a great time in Pisac, and overall in Peru! Hopefully we’ll see you back in Pisac, and maybe at a ceremony with Javier sometime!

  11. Hi Nora; really enjoying your blog – I travel a lot but am not deciding to cast off for good, but I want to stay at elast 6 months in every place I visit so i can work too – I really want to be somewhere with a good vibe-can you tell us why you like Peru so much? many thanks!!

    • Hi Pat,
      Sounds like you’ve got a good pace and idea for travel! I too, like slow travel and staying somewhere for months at a time, in order to seep in the local culture while allowing time to work.
      Peru – for me (at least the sacred valley, where I’m located) – is a magical place that combines natural beauty of the mountains, with a colourful culture of the local people, who have a great connection with the mountains and ancient customs. There’s also a great international community that allows me to meet and mingle with people from all over. It simultaneously feels like home, as well as a place with a culture and language that is new to me and full of constant discoveries. I get the best of both worlds!

  12. I thoroughly enjoy hearing about your travels and things you do. Before ever hearing about you I decided it was time for me live my own dreams. This led me to selling my “worldly possessions” and choosing a place to live on a part time basis. These changes had taken me to adventures I only dreamed of. After following you and reading about some of your choices it is truly refreshing to hear about others who “live out of the box”. Love to hear more about your time in Peru.

  13. Nora,

    I greatly enjoy following your travels and all the useful information you provide. I retired at 53 from the 60+ hour corporate grind, bought an RV and hit the road touring North America. I’m heading to Alaska/ Canada this May for 2 years or so. I’m divorced and free to do what I please, so rather than wait, I hit the road solo.. I built up an internet based investment management business to sustain myself while on the road, so I read and study best practices from those like you. After a few more years in my RV, I’m thinking about storing it and going international for 2-5 years. Your site is so helpful! Thanks for all you do. Good luck and God bless. J

    • Wow – thank you John! I have a friend who is your age and about to retire and hit the road solo himself…what an adventure! If you’re ever interested in being featured in my financial case study series (I’m intrigued by internet investment management as a way to earn money as you go!), then please send me a message through my contact page.

  14. Hey Nora,

    Stumbled upon your blog when researching on obscure treks in Sacred Valley. Have been addicted to it! So many resources!

    That said, I’m sorry that your plan to study medicine plan didn’t work out. In a way I see it as something positive as it would allow you to do other things in life that you probably haven’t figured out yet. Just like the first time you tried ayahuasca and san pedro before deciding to do apprenticeship. Although I hate to phrase it this way, but maybe it’s not your calling. Keep being curious!

    I visited Peru this year and love it so much I’m planning to return and stay for a while. I also happened to meet a very lovely Peruvian as well so I’d like to have the opportunity to explore the relationship further and find something to do in the country. I have a question that you may be able to help me out with: could you share your experience on getting a residency? Am aware that it is a sensitive matter that perhaps you don’t want to share publicly, in which case it’s totally fine. Thanks!


    • Hi Andy,
      Glad you’re enjoying Peru, and found some good info on my site! (I’m actually in Ecuador at the moment, exploring my work with plant medicines again – it’s going well)!
      Anyway, as to your question about residency, I can say that it’s not super easy in Peru. I actually didn’t manage to get it, before my teacher pulled the plug on our deal (including nixing all the work – and money – I’d invested in getting my residency).
      You have a few options:
      1) This one probably won’t apply to you, but is also the easiest. If you can prove that you have a guaranteed lifetime income of (I think) $1,000/month – such as a pension, then you can get a “rentista” visa.
      2) If your relationship goes really well, you can get married.
      3) If you can find a company that can hire you to work for them, you can get a working visa.
      The terms and policies are always changing, so I’d suggest you have a look at the Peruvian Immigration website to get the latest. Word on the street was that they were in the process of making it easier to get residency visas, since they started clamping down on tourist visas this year (not allowing people to stay more than 6 months per year).
      Good luck – enjoy Peru!


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