A funny phenomenon can develop in the minds of travellers, a sort of limitation in the midst of a journey that is so much about removing bounds and barriers. With a limited amount of funds diligently scraped together over years of planning the world becomes ones oyster, we can go anywhere, see anything, experience all that is unavailable to a rigid existence. Yet this mentality of open space and limitless opportunity has one very distinct and clear limitation; cash. It’s irony in its purest form, the escape from all things commercial remains shrouded and undermined by the epitome of what we’re getting away from. Of course the journey is an education as much as an escape, training ourselves to learn to value and be fuelled by things that don’t need as much of that boa constrictor named money. What is so often distant though is a dose of simple luxury.
Of course it’s not truly the luxury that is distant, we could stay at a five star hotel tomorrow if we truly wanted. But that isn’t what we want, the acceptance of it is what remains distant. We drop ourselves into crappy hostels, sleep on overnight busses and pass up attractions in favour of living the life; compromise on all but food, never the food. The reason behind this equally odd and obvious behaviour is vague in the extreme, that intangible desire to scrape the barnacles off ones hull, those things that we’ve become dependant on but somehow feel we don’t need. Is it that the barnacles are just unnecessary or are they actually slowing the ship down? Case in point; I’m typing this on my iPad holding blue-tooth keyboard and will soon find some WIFI to sent it to the world. So where do the barnacles of technology finish and the fundamentally human need for communication and expression begin? A grey gap between corrosive and restorative that is not always as easy to define as we might think.
It is in this gulf of grey space for the grey matter that much of the crux of this journey resides, philosophical ponderings that would be far less if an answer was ever refined. The ever present lefty, pinko hippie within both of us has no intention of adopting a protest lifestyle; body odour, tie dyed clothing and veganism aren’t, nor ever have been on the agenda. What is firmly on the agenda is navigating with a more open mind the broader range of choices available to us, services and trappings are often the same thing. As much as we’ve always been conscious of maintaining a hand on the tiller of the simple life we have definitely in the past fallen into the trap of giving far too much to the the trappings that remove so much. Acquiescence to these trappings were indeed the catalyst for this journey.
So with this conscious thought on balance and appreciation for our human condition we plunge into our version of luxury. In truth it’s pretty much luxury in anyones books but blissfully short on unnecessary trappings. In place of marble foyers, pools with a bar attached and in-ceiling sound systems we find gardens, charming old buildings and a natural orchestra of birds, running water and wind in the trees. There’s beautiful antique furnishings and trimmings, comfy beds and great food making this just the perfect type of luxury. As with Sayta ranch we’re finding that La Constancia is not as far from the budget as we would have thought, showing us that what we thought was our limited range of affordability is not so limited after all. The difference here is that we just need to look and explore a little, not lazily fork out for the first and most convenient option spoon fed to us.
Our first full day calls for a bit of a walk. We trundle up the small but powerful stream that runs right beside the hacienda. Over rocks and waterfalls we weave our way up through the small forest planted by the hacienda owners family in years past to the more open spaces of the mountains above. The walk is all beautiful views, imposing mountains and pure water. Charlie and I do step right over a snake on the path that is quite poisonous, oops; and our guide kills another on the path further up, it seems these mountains are quite alive. Followed by the house dog bounding up the hill and loving every minute of it we walk for only a few hours to arrive at a great waterfall and swimming hole. This is the life. A short swim, lunch and we’re happy little campers living the type of luxury that we’re learning to appreciate more and more.
A short stop for another swim on the way down and a final dip in the hacienda pool upon return signals nap time to soak up this place. We emotionally sink into the luxury and allow the memories of stale smells and crappy beds to fade into insignificance. At La Constancia we are thrown into a conflict of luxury that we’ve shied away from that encompasses all the elements that we have been chasing. It’s a trip into the mode of a time gone by granting all the trimmings we could want with a distinct lack of those faux luxuries that do little to improve our lives. It begs the question, is it just a condition of our time or is it just that many of us aren’t savvy enough to avoid the traps? For now we’re lords of the manor and completely un-conflicted about it.