A Stranger's Smile

by - 12:00 PM

A little while ago, I entered a writing competition, hoping to win a US roadtrip and a huge amount of money. I didn't win anything, but I thought it'd be fun to share my entry with you. For this contest I had to write about a 'travel discovery'. I had a hard time deciding which one of my 'travel discoveries' I should describe, but in the end I chose for something I discovered last summer in Peru. I discovered that language barriers don't matter in those special moments that you're truly happy.

A Stranger's Smile
I was not exactly happy while walking the Inca Trail from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu in Peru. On the first day I'd contantly been awestruck by the Andean mountains and ancient Inca ruins. On the second day I came down with food poisoning. By the end of the third day I was so exhausted that I didn't even make it to my tent when I reached the campground.

Great things happen on the Camino Inka
I sat down at the end of the camp ground and let my legs dangle off the steep drop-off. About two meters below was the path to the restrooms. People came and went, but I didn't see a single one of them. Night had fallen and I was looking up at the night sky. Within an hour the stars would come out and the Milky Way would cast its glow upon the snowy mountain tops. But now there was nothing to see in the deep dark sky yet. Nothing but the moon.
On the campground the porters, who carried all our supplies and tents, had set up the dinner tent and were busy cooking dinner. I left it all for what it was and watched the fog rise up from the trees. The air was filled with the chatter of excited tourists and the clanging of pots and pans and dinner was prepared all over the campground. There was a sense of ecxitement and joy in the air, as we'd reach Machu Picchu the next morning, but I didn't feel it. I was exhausted and, for some reason, sad and worried about my future.
One of the younger porters walked by on the path beneath. He caught my eye and smiled. 'La luna,' he said. My Spanish was poor and I had no idea what he meant. He pointed at the moon. 'La luna,' he repeated and he smiled again. I smiled back and nodded. 'It's beautiful,' I said, even though I knew he couldn't understand me. That didn't matter at that moment. He smiled again and in that moment it didn't matter where I came from or where I was going. It was just him, me and the moon high above us, waiting there for the stars to come out.  A stranger's smile in the darkness changed my whole night around. There wasn't a single fancy adjective that could describe how I felt at that moment, but there was one simply word that could: Happy. For once I was simply and truly happy.

Apart from this entry, I also had to name two places I'd want to visit if I won the US road trip. I chose New England as area and these two places to go to. At least my reasons for choosing these places was original.

Maine, because after all the Stephen King books I've read, I really want to know why all the weird things always happen in Maine.

Boston, because my dad ran the Boston Marathon years ago and I'd love to see the place where he got so hungry during the race that he stole a banana from a supporter.

Sadly my originality didn't impress anyone, but at least I had a lot of fun writing my entry.
Stay Awesome!

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12 Fellow Ramblers

  1. That was a really pretty entry! I want to go to Maine as well, as I did a project on it.
    -Jollygirl
    http://reflectionsofajollygirl.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you! Maine is a weirdly interesting state, isn't it?

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  2. Your reason for going to Boston is the best xD I'd go to Boston to dump tea and yell stuff like "Pakistan Zindabad!" or "Take that, tea hating Americans!".
    I'm surprised you didn't win though. Did the competition showcase the winner entries?

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    1. Okay, it's official, we have to go to Boston together!
      The weird thing about the competition is that I didn't get an email about the results. Like, nothing at all. I don't mind that I didn't win, but I do mind that they didn't even send an email telling me that the results were in...

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  3. Oh, such a sweet entry; that stinks that you didn't win! I'd love to visit the Boston area, too! Anywhere on the East Coast just sounds lively to me; the history there fascinates me!

    xoxo Morning

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    1. Thank you Morning ^-^
      When I visited the East Coast I was three years old, so I feel like I have to go back there now that I now more about the history. I've also learned so much about the cities on the East Coast. I'd love to see them with my own eyes one day :)

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  4. It's unfortunate you didn't win, but judging by your amazing writing, it won't be soon before you go on a road trip! ;)
    This was a splendid entry. Do you know if they published the winning ones? I'd love to take a peek!
    ~ Sanjana
    peridotcove.blogspot.com

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    1. Well, I hope so. I've got my driver's license, just need a car :P
      I honestly have no idea where to find the winning ones. I didn't get an email announcing the results, so I really don't know much. It's kind of frustrating...

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  5. It's wonderful what stranger can make with you. Sometimes they save your day without knowing you. It'S a pity that you hadn't won but winning is not all, the experience is already a big win.

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    1. I entered the competition mostly to gain some experience, and I'm glad people who follow my blog liked it :)
      I regret not asking that porter his name. In a weird way, he means a lot to me.

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  6. Yeahh New England represent!! If you visited, I would personally show you around, it's so lovely! :)

    Your dad ran Boston?? Which year? I run marathons too but I'm not old enough for Boston yet haha x

    Emily // Lynde Avenue

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    1. I'll let you know when I'm in the area!
      My dad ran Boston in 1996, a few months before I was born. Quite a long time ago, haha.

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