Carnival starts in just a few days, and this beautiful town is ALIVE with samba drumbeats every night. It’s a sunny day here in the mountains of Ouro Preto, and as I sat down to continue writing my Visionary Troubadour book, I came across this story from six months back when I was in the Andes mountains…
Michael Skye here… entering my 8th month in South America, and I’m writing you from a little village high in the Andes mountains (9,000 feet in the valley), and of the Incas.
Sharing some insights into the New Wealth of the adventurous lifestyle of an emerging tribe of inspired world travelers I’m calling, Visionary Troubadours.
I see this Visionary Troubadour path that I and others I’ve met are walking is an alternative lifestyle for those who are artists, coaches, healers, facilitators, musicians and other inspired individuals.
This path is one of the main inquiries of the ExploreForce group I formed a few months back. http://www.visionforce.com/explore
Another one of the main inquiries of ExploreForce is what I am calling ‘New Wealth.’ And I’d like to share a taste of the New Wealth I am experiencing here… wealth that comes not by trading a fiat currency such as US dollars for values… wealth that comes through relationships.
I’m in Northern Argentina now, where I’ve been for a week and may stay for a few months. The sun burns hot during the day and then when it descends behind the mountains, it’s quite cold. The people here are almost entirely the indigenous Quechua People – Incas.
They walk slow, are quiet and very at peace. At first I wrote “they are very peaceful.” This is true also, but more accurate is just how profoundly at peace they are–with life itself.
It’s hard to describe the peace in this place. If it weren’t for some of the modern technologies (such as internet), you might think it was the 1800s. Life is simple and beautiful.
The word Inca means, “land of abundance”, in Inca native language of Quechua.
Here in the high rugged Andes Mountains of South America, the Incas built thousands of miles of well-paved roads, everyone in the empire was well fed and no one was homeless.
Many of these people do not deal in money. Things are done through relationships.
They take siestas from about noon until 5pm or so (think 4-6 hour lunch break). Stores and businesses close during this time, and then they open for a few more hours in the evening. There is no reason to hurry here.
The sun shines bright all day 365 days per year. In the summer there are brief rains during the day, but then the sky is blue and sunny again. It’s winter here now.
We wash our clothes by hand and dry them in the sun. Meals are home cooked and hearty. I am contributing my time working on the pousada of a friend about 3 hours per day 4 or 5 days per week, and my friend who owns the place is contributing food and her place to stay.
I am here with some dear friends, and we have no plan. We talk about adventures we could have around South America in the lazy afternoons. sometimes over a yerba mate.
Argentinian’s have a beautiful tradition of drinking yerba mate together. For many it is a daily ritual of connection for them. And it’s nothing like what you can order at Starbucks.
One of my close friends (and a VisionForce alumnus) staying here is inviting me into the mountains every day. He finds deep medicine in nature.
I wake up around 7am and it is still dark outside, the sun has a few mountain ranges to clear before the sun will hit the valley at about 9am. I hike with my friend into the mountains and arrive at a clearing in a valley (about 10,000 feet or so) surrounded by mountains. There is no one for miles, and the sun is still climbing behind the mountains, not yet visible when we arrive.
On the western face of the large mountains before us is a very distinct majestic bird painted in shadow. I like to think of it as a phoenix rising, but my friend (and probably the locals) recognize it as the great condor. As the sun rises it’s wings seem to be set aflame on the red rock beneath it, as the sun highlights different parts of the wings.
Two days ago I was hiking into the mountains when two little indigenous boys called out to me and came running to greet me with bright eyes and speaking Spanish. Eric, 6, and Ona, 3 saw the three tangerines in my bag and wanted them. My first thought was that they were begging like the street kids I who approached me in Nairobi and Kampala. I took one tangerine out and split it between the three of us.
They invited me to come with them down a path to meet their sisters. I was hesitant to follow, wondering how this might look, a stranger walking off with two small children into the wilderness. Then I followed. After a bend in the road we came upon their 8 year old sister, holding their 1 year old sister. They were quiet, and happy to just hang out on the side of the road. I looked around for adults, but saw none. The boys were excited for more tangerines, so we split the last two among the five of us.
The boys then pointed up the mountain and were excited to climb it with me. The three of us climbed up the steep face of the mountain together. There were stone stairs in some places, but it was certainly an area that I imagined my sisters would not have wanted their little ones exploring alone. There were no adults around, and it was obvious that these kids came here often. The little 3 year old had no troubles and no worries. The 6 year old told me at times when I would need to lift up his brother.
Completely open, trusting, communicating with me, climbing the mountain with me… a complete stranger, at least in my world view. In theirs I was a friend, and it made no difference that we didn’t speak each other’s language. On top of the mountain they showed me the different kinds of dirt and plants and taught me the names in Spanish, and I told them the English names.
On the way back down the mountain, Eric reached into his pocket and pulled out two silver washers. I didn’t understand what he was saying exactly, but understood he wanted to do a trade – his “money” for my money. Seeing as Argentina’s currency has been hyper-inflated more than once in recent history–and many people have lost everything–I could imagine a day in the not to distant future, when the washers would have the same value as the coins I pulled from my pocket.
I gave my little guide a few pesos, and a few to his brother too, and we later parted as easily as we had met. This is a common trait of Native Americans – they live with a greater degree of inner freedom than most other Americans.
There is a profound sense of not just peace, trust in relationships, time and freedom from the constraints of dominating Western culture… but also abundance. Most of the natives have their own gardens and animals.
On my way down from my sunrise hike this morning, I met a man who was drunk from a brew made from grapes and apples he grows on his own property. The soil is rich here, and the naturally grown vegetables are incredibly large.
All this points to the “New Wealth” I’ve been talking about. For these people it’s a very old kind of wealth, and for many if not most Americans it’s a kind of wealth that is disappearing.
Well, enough for now.
Be well my friend. And if you’d like to join the activity in ExploreForce (live conference calls, audios, online discussions and invitations to join us on our travels), you can do so by first getting on the ExploreForce list here:
And then by choosing a monthly contribution amount here:
VisionForce & ExploreForce
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