Bolivia and Peru journey: Andean knots of remembrance and mutual upbringing

Bolivia and Peru journey: Andean knots of remembrance and mutual upbringing
  1. Introduction
  2. Itinerary
    1. Day 1. Friday, Aug 26. Arrivals.
    2. Day 2. Saturday, Aug 27. El Tambo Colectivo
    3. Day 3. Sunday, August 28. La Paz and Copacabana
    4. Day 4. Monday, August 29. Island of the Sun
    5. Day 5. Tuesday, August 30. Puno - Pucara
    6. Day 6. Wednesday, Aug 31. Sicuani
    7. Day 7. Thursday, Sep 1. Qeromarca - Raqchi - Sacred Valley
    8. Day 8. Friday, Sep 2. Sacred Valley of the Incas.
    9. Day 9. Saturday, Sep 3. Machu Picchu
    10. Day 10. Sunday, Sep 4. Cusco
    11. Day 11. Monday, Sep 5. Cusco
    12. Day 12. Tuesday, Sep 6.
    13. Day 12. Wednesday, Sep 7. Departures
  3. What is included
  4. Ecopedagogy and travelling
  5. Reasons to participate
  6. A note about the Wilkamayu, the sacred river below and above
  7. Ethics and economy
  8. Faculty and team:
  9. Learning Journey summary
  10. Covid safety and considerations
  11. About the Interbeing Learning Journeys series

Introduction

The Andes Mountains, created over 50 million years ago,  is a collection of various mountain chains interwoven in orographic knots, running for 7,200 kilometres (4,500 miles). The Bolivian and Peruvian Tropical Andes are home to more than 45,000 plants and 3,000 vertebrate species, half of them endemic. They also house 99% of all tropical glaciers in the world. Its lagoons and lakes -guarded by frailejones, gigantic silver-leafed plants specialized in collecting water from the clouds and siphoning it into the ground- are the source of astounding rivers such as the Orinoco and the Amazon.

Lake Titicaca -the highest navigable lake in the world- is the birthplace of the sun, as told by the Incas. The highlands remember the cosmic travel of the serpent-river, the Wilkamayu, bridging heavens and earth.  The deep memory of time is harbored by the stories, literally woven in knots of remembrance of quipus (an Andean device for recording information, consisting of variously colored threads knotted in different ways), roads, cities, temples, observatories, as well as rocks, seeds, and textiles.

The Andean ‘world’ is appreciated by the runa (indigenous people) like a person, composed of forms of life harmoniously sheltered in a conversation to recreate life. It is a world of mutual upbringing: “the same way we raise the alpacas, they raise us”. Andean reciprocity is the pleasure of give and raise with affection, engaging in complex, stained conversations that sustain creative tensions.

These worlds are facing very complex challenges.  On average, the glaciers in the Andean region – Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – have lost over 50 per cent of their coverage since the 1960s. Amazonian forest fires impact directly in the thinning and melting of glaciers in the Andes. Agriculture at the highest altitudes in the world is acutely threatened by the climate emergency with increasingly extreme droughts, hailstorms and frosts. The Andes hold the world’s largest mineral deposits of gold, copper, silver, lithium and molybdenum.

This is an invitation to tie ourselves in knots, with the mountains, with the stories, with the Andean world of mutual upbringing. It is an invitation to follow on the trail of the cosmic serpent in the sacred river, undoing tourism and development and a provocation to learn to be good visitors, setting aside the Western sense of neo-colonizing entitlement and focusing on the attuning of sensibilities, journeying together, holding the inevitable contradictions and caring for the nourishment of local communities, land and waters that will host us, as well as for the lands and waters where we travelers usually dwell.

Itinerary

Dates: August 26th-September 7th, 2022

Day 1. Friday, Aug 26. Arrivals.

Arrivals to El Alto International Airport (LPB) in Bolivia. Transfer to our hotel. Meet your Learning Journey Team and fellow companions on the journey. Gather for a welcome talk, dinner and reception.

Day 2. Saturday, Aug 27. El Tambo Colectivo

In the morning, we will get grounded as a group of fellow co-travelers, opening the heart space and getting to know each other in a deeper manner. We will open the space with a ceremony and do a life-mapping session to share our life journeys and the questions that animate us in this moment. In the afternoon, we will visit El Tambo Colectivo, a cultural center in La Paz dedicated to disrupting the boundaries between manual and intellectual work, practicing decolonization through the body and reconciling with the Pachamama. A “tambo” is a place where travelers can rest and get supplies for the journey and as such, this will be the beginning of our journey through the Andes, where we will meet with Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui and other members of the Collective and accept the invitation “to sweat, acullicar (the ritual of chewing coca leaves), and eat together as the optimal conditions for theoretical and political discussion”, opening ourselves to engaging with the multiplicity of Andean worlds that we will encounter in our journey.

Day 3. Sunday, August 28. La Paz and Copacabana

We will have free time in the morning to wander in the streets and markets of the colorful city of La Paz.. After trying some local specialties for lunch, we will drive for 3:30 hours to Copacabana, a pleasant lakeside town, to meet the glimmering crystalline waters of Lake Titicaca surrounded by the majestic snowy mountain peaks of the Andes.

Day 4. Monday, August 29. Island of the Sun

We will take a boat to Isla del Sol, the birthplace of the sun and the site where Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, the elders of the Incas, were sent to earth by the sun divinity. We will have two options here: hike the island in a 3-4 hour easy walk from South to North; or visit the local museums and ancient temples. In both cases, we will have the opportunity to take in the amazing views of the lake, visit ancient Inca sites and engage with the local population. We will return to Copacabana to spend the night.

Day 5. Tuesday, August 30. Puno - Pucara

This is a day of a long bus ride -and hopefully, good on-the-road conversations!- in which we will leave Bolivia and enter Peru. After breakfast, we will drive for around 4 hours to Puno, where we will stop for a lunch break overlooking Lake Titicaca. After feeling refreshed and rested, we will drive for an additional 4 hours to the town of Sicuani, where we will spend the night.

Day 6. Wednesday, Aug 31. Sicuani

We will get to know from the experience of children about the cultivation of ways of knowing and being that deeply care for every earth being belonging to the ayllu, the enmeshed weaving of life that sustains people and territory. Through the stories of children, women, men and elders we will engage with the politics of encariñamiento of these Quechua communities. In the evening, we will attend a ceremony for the Wilkamayu. We will stay for the night in Sicuani.

Day 7. Thursday, Sep 1. Qeromarca - Raqchi - Sacred Valley

In the morning, we will do a short trip to one portion of the Qhapaq Ñan, the transportation route system of Incas and do a brief walk to the ancient city of Raqchi, home of the Temple of Wiracocha and to more than 150 colcas, circular structures for storing food crops and other materials. After this visit, we will go to the neighboring town of Qeromarca, where we will be hosted by the community elders for a conversation around the vitality of the seeds. In the evening, we will leave the South Valley of Cusco and drive for 2:30 hours to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where we will spend the night.

Day 8. Friday, Sep 2. Sacred Valley of the Incas.

This is a day for rest, relaxation and integration, with no planning nor any agenda, with emergent offerings from the group ranging from meditation, dance, yoga or whatever arises in the field of the group. It is a time to slow down, processing and digesting this first part of the journey. At night we will gather around a bonfire and do a stargazing night.

Day 9. Saturday, Sep 3. Machu Picchu

Early in the morning we will drive for an hour to Ollantaytambo to take the train to Machu Picchu. We will do a guided visit of this remarkable site. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. Optional, for an extra fee, hike the awe-inspiring Huayna Picchu with its jaw-dropping scenery. We will spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes.

Day 10. Sunday, Sep 4. Cusco

We will take the train to Cusco, the“navel of the world”, former capital city of the Incas. This complex city integrates beautiful, contrasting architecture and fantastic shopping for local handicraft and textiles. In the evening, we will have free time to wander around the streets of Cusco.

Day 11. Monday, Sep 5. Cusco

In the morning, we will visit the Sacsayhuaman site, one of the most impressive Inca constructions, built in the time of the Inca Pachacuti. The main wall is built in zigzag with giant stones up to 5 meters high and 2.5 meters wide (between 90 and 125 tons of weight). The site also offers an amazing view of Cusco and the summits of Ausangate, Pachatusán and Cinca. Back in Cusco for the afternoon, we will visit the Qorikancha, the heart of the Tawantinsuyu, the most important temple of the four suyus (regions) of the Inca territory, with diverse populations, environments, resources, and a network of roads, storehouses, and spiritual sites.

Day 12. Tuesday, Sep 6.

This is our last full day together and the opportunity to integrate and share the learnings of our journey, co-creating a closing ceremony of appreciation and gratitude. In the evening, we will host a celebration and party.

Day 12. Wednesday, Sep 7. Departures

After breakfast, we will help you to set up your transfer to the International Airport of Cusco.

What is included

Your journey includes:

  • A team of experts, professional tour leaders and educators and local community organizers.

  • City-to-hotel transfers in small groups upon arrival to the El Alto International Airport.

  • All food and beverages (except alcohol).

  • Accommodations in shared room with all amenities.

  • All logistics for tours and transportation as outlined in the itinerary.

  • All entrance fees for archaeological sites, nature preserves and other attractions except optional activities.

  • Complimentary WiFi access where available.

Your journey does not include:

  • flights to El Alto International Airport (LPB) and from Cusco International Airport (CUZ)

  • transfer to Cusco Airport

  • snacks

  • optional activities  and local tours in free time.

  • health and travel insurance

Ecopedagogy and travelling

The values, pedagogy and approach of the Enlivened Cooperative in this journey emphasize:

  • Relationality – learning by weaving relations between all learners (including faculty);

  • Emplacement – nurturing inquiries, practices and attention towards place (and one´s own place) including the beyond human;

  • Cosmopolitical learning - including many ways of being-knowing-doing-relating, towards human becoming and possible worlds, slowing down reasoning;

  • Buen Vivir and Responsibility - for the common flourishing, alivelihoods and well-being of all beings, which calls for a reinvention of the human and the tending to new stories and practices, particularly of those directly participating in the shared learning experience.

Before the journey, registered participants will get access to a platform with resources on different topics of the journey, such as: Quechua and Aymara culture, history and philosophy, Deep Time perspective, anti-tourism and radical hospitality, Andean ecosystems, archeoastronomy and indigenous peoples resistance to extractivist models of development. These are materials and resources that learners can engage freely, at their own rhythm and with no expected outcome. Participants are invited to choose one topic of inquiry during their journey that is relevant and alive for them.

During the journey, we will have a combination of visits, group process, lectures, practices and free time. Participants are invited to document their journey in the way that suits them better for their learning process.

Reasons to participate

You have an interest in:

Learning to be a good visitor.

Becoming aware of the individualistic, neo-colonizing, extractivist and consumerist logic of tourism, developing an approach that is sensible with the land, the people and the communities of life that host us as travelers.

Becoming present for the Earth in a mutually beneficial way.

Delving into indigenous and peasant wisdom and scientific breakthroughs, exercising presence and exploring old new ways of relating to the web of life, including but not limited to our selves.

Participating in localized, place-based, embodied, experiential learning that expands sensibilities and imagination.

Cultivating spaces for other ways of knowing and being -aside from mainstream, disembodied, fragmented knowledge- which are highly relevant for the current challenges of our time.

Unfolding a self and collective inquiry leading to the birth of new practices and stories.

Meeting fellow travelers with kindred interests and mutual inspiration .

A note about the Wilkamayu, the sacred river below and above

From the southern part of the planet there is a sky that cannot be seen from the north, and vice versa. Some say that the time has come for the peoples of the earth to focus for a moment on learning to look from the south. Perhaps this change of perspective serves to recompose the path of a humanity that has lost its north.

They tell that the history of human encounters consists of embraces and crossings. In that walk, the earth was populated with different languages, colors, songs, prayers and dances, each one inheriting their own way of weaving into the other.

But movement and life is older than that history. At the point where earth and sky almost seem to touch each other, there are ancestral beings that still remember the early times. There, in the Andes, are those who did not forget to read the sky and its nocturnal chiaroscuros. It is known that life below is a reflection of life above, and vice versa. To the attentive eye the darkness reveals the life that congregates around the mayu, the sacred river: llamas and their young, shepherds, toads, foxes, partridges and snakes form their ayllu, their community of life.

Today’s pastors remember the serpent’s journey. One day, as a crosser of multiple worlds, the serpent came down to earth captivated by the world that was hinted here. They say that the entrance was so grand that the great lagoon that received the unusual celestial descent overflowed and flowed down the mountain, creating a sacred river that would eventually feed the land and its people for generations. That river became more and more wide, river and snake together in loving expansion, until it found the infinite water of the sea. Satisfied, the serpent climbed back to her ayllu to communicate what she had seen. Satisfied, the serpent stayed forever flourishing with the beings that gathered around her.

It is said that such are the origins of the rivers now known as Wikamayu (Urubamba) and Amazonas.

Immemorial moons have passed since those first trips. Around the great water snake, unparalleled biological diversity was generated, and successive peoples flourished in the same way that potatoes and corn flourished. The apus, unfading guardians, have been privy to the movement of time and its tribulations. Never, however, had they seen one of the earth’s creatures work so actively towards their own extinction. “Little by little they are extinguished, extinguishing,” they say with sorrow in the heart.

There are already many centuries of wars of different kinds that have led to contemporary calamities: global warming, proliferation of consumerism, loss of mother tongue and ayllu, monetarization of the economy, food shortages, pollution, the severing from the sense of sacred, poverty and repression towards the defenders of Mother Earth, are just some of the phenomena that threaten life in the Andes and on the planet.

Before this, the necessary evocation arises for human beings to enchant themselves with the life that they are and of which they form a part of; to cultivate humility and an open heart toward daily sacredness; to cultivate love for the one who came and for those to come; to observe with attention and without fear the fertile darkness that manifests its secrets, and to enable once again the encounter between embraces and crossings.

Ethics and economy

As a cooperative, we believe in offering programs that help you, your community and the world be enlivened again. We strive to co-create regenerative livelihoods for our families and for the planet. We refuse to engage in deadlihoods and we engage in initiatives that support alivelihoods, regenerating ourselves, the earth’s natural systems and local healthy families and communities.

We adopt the three principles of permaculture: Care for the Earth, Care for the People and Fair Share. We embrace the idea of surplus being shared with everyone involved in making the journey possible. We assign 40% of the profits of the journey to the cooperative, 10% for a local project aligned with this vision, and 50% to be proportionally divided between the team that carried out the project. By participating in this journey, you support an effort to engage with equity and social and environmental justice, supporting localized circular economies, exploring more regenerative economic practices, helping a democratically run cooperative, and enhancing the practice of being a grateful guest of Earth.

Faculty and team:

Gerardo López-Amaro, co-founder of the Enlivened Cooperative, is currently walking  the path of autonomous education with the task of imagining spaces of encounter for thinking-feeling together about ways to strengthen the defense of life, memory and territory. He sees this as part of a planetary struggle for cognitive, relational and ontological justice. He is purposefully becoming entangled in a great “we” of people enacting the pluriverse, that “world where many worlds fit.” Born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, he’s a pilgrim of viable spaces informed by politics of love and consciousness regarding the healing of land and territory, love and intimacy, and labor and livelihood.

Elena Pardo. Educator, cultural manager and promoter of intra and intercultural education in urban and rural areas in the Cusco Region, Peru. She is the director of CEPROSI and a speaker at conferences, forums and events at the regional, national and international levels. She promotes the Watunakuy (international seed event) that has been held for 15 years at the Raqchi Ceremonial Center, an international meeting for the exchange of collective healing and the exchange of seeds. She is a member of the Watunakuy Ayllu Network and the Ecoversities Network.

Aneeta Pathak. A passionate activist, traveler and a firm believer of experiential learning & transformational leadership with more than twenty years of experience. She is the founder of Anveshan - Experiential Learning & Unlearning Centre based in Auroville with an objective is to design sustainable experiential learning & transformational courses for self-development and leadership development among the children, youth and adults of the world based on inner wisdom. One of the main programmes of Anveshan is the River Yatras. The River Yatra is an exploration of the story and life of the Rivers, from its source to the communities that lives along it shore; It is also a journey of self-exploration

Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui. Founder of the Colectivx Chixi and El Tambo. She is an Aymara activist sociologist, contemporary theorist and Bolivian historian. She has researched anarchist theory, as well as Quechua and Aymara cosmologies. She was the director and co-founder member of the Andean Oral History Workshop. She is also an activist who works directly with Bolivian indigenous movements, such as the Tupacatarista and cocalero movements.

Learning Journey summary

  • We require a minimum of 10 people and will take a maximum of 20 people

  • Registration start date -​ May 25, 2022

  • Registration last date - August 26, 2022

  • Dates of the learning journey - August 26- September 7, 2022

  • No of days - 13 days

  • Cost - from $2,500 USD in shared accommodation and $2,800 in private accommodation (early bird until July 15, 2022). After that date, the cost is $2,800 and $3,100, respectively. We require a non-refundable $500 USD deposit to confirm a place.

  • How will we be traveling - We​ ​will​ ​have​ ​pre-booked​ ​cars​ ​for​ ​the​ ​travel.

  • Total Kms - We​ ​will​ ​be​ ​traveling​ ​roughly​ ​1000​ ​kms (average 2h30min per day)

Covid safety and considerations

Bolivia and Peru both require at the moment a covid vaccination certificate or a PCR or antigen test to enter the country.  We encourage participants in the journey to make sure they comply with all requirements of in-transit countries and travel restrictions.

About the Interbeing Learning Journeys series

“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are.”

Thich Nhat Hahn, Clouds in Each Paper


We humans do not exist independently in an isolated triumphant alienated bubble. The Interbeing Learning Journeys are an opportunity to explore interconnected issues of non-anthropocentric time and ways of being, of self and consciousness, of ancient and modern knowledge, following the paths of stars, water, and peoples. In journeying from place to place we also travel within, re-creating new stories and tapping into unknown sensibilities, possibilities and purposes for each participant.

The journeys are for those willing to participate in the co-creation of different stories, dreams and practices, for those searching to expand their horizons and attune their sensibilities and desires, for those daring to entertain an open mind and heart, holding contradictions with authenticity and making space for questions rather than answers. They are for those willing to explore who they really are and how to become present for the Earth in a mutually enhancing way.

This is an invitation for travelers looking to go to the encounter of relations and “worlding practices”, complex interactions between human and non-human beings that constitute, care or disrupt the web of life. It is an opportunity to learn from stars, water, and from people in their vital territories. The main focus of inquiry of travel is to learn what kinds of worlds are enacted, through what practices, and with what consequences for what beings, both in the places we visit and also in the places where the travelers usually dwell.

In times of multiple crises, contradictions and nonsense,

it is important to slow down and take a pause to look at the stars and the messages that they hold about the evolution of the pluriverse, consciousness and life;

it is important to slow down and take a pause to take care of water and the history, flows, and nourishment that she provides for the multiple threads of the web of life in our shared home, our planet;

it is important to slow down and take a pause to listen to the wisdom of people who have cultivated a respectful relationship with the Earth -indigenous peoples, peasants, women, artists and environmentalists- in order to gain emplaced insights about our re-invention as human species; and

it is important to slow down and take a pause to breathe and tap into the rhythms, movements and creations of interbeing, and experience embodied learnings about how to become present for the Earth with reciprocity and care.


2021 - Copyleft, all wrongs reversed :).