Driving a long, winding road through the Andes to the small community of Karanki Magdalena, I was left in speechless wonder. Speechless because the mountainous terrain only improved the higher we got, and filled with wonder because I had no idea what to expect. Our itinerary told us only that we were heading to a remote section of the Andes, where locals still spoke their native Quechua and practiced a way of life dating back to the Incas.
Breathlessness overtook wonder at the top of an Andean peak. Across the valley, miles of purple quinoa covered the earth and, above us, the sky turned immaculate shades of magenta and orange.
I dashed across the countryside with my camera, desperate to capture every angle of the sunset and the locals of this glittering, isolated village. When the sunlight had taken its final bow and darkness swept overhead, I was escorted inside Casa de el Arrayan, my new home in the Andes. There, I was met by the owner of the house, Mariacruz, who had prepared a traditional Inca meal for dinner.
Time stood still in the shelter of majestic peaks and a simple way of life. Here, the people had less but gave more. Here, I better understood the root of humanity and less of myself - lost in the breathless awe of an ancient culture.