I had intentionally set out this January with the RY group knowing that they would be my crutch, my safety net, my security, my solace and hopefully my confidence builder to get back into solo traveling. I’ve used this crutch! And honestly, I’ve felt lonely and lost at times when I didn’t feel like I fit in or didn’t have the personal connections with everyone that I thought I would have. That’s not to say that I haven’t made personal connections, but in a group of nearly 80…those personal connections are slow to build.
I love the new friends that I’ve made with RY and I look forward to re-uniting with them, but…..TODAY it was about knowing that it was just me. I didn’t have someone to meet for lunch, coffee, drinks or dinner. I had to figure out what it was that made me happy today without the constant distraction of slack conversations and meet-ups with familiar faces.
I think I’ve packed more personal memories into the last 6 hours than I have in the past month! Not that the last month in Medellin (more about this later) was without it’s own memories…
Maybe ‘memories’ isn’t the right word? Maybe it’s deeper than that. Something almost spiritual that I can’t really put a name too…
So…you may wonder “what made today so special?” You know…after jumping off a bridge and all last month??
What did I do that was so impactful? I wandered about 8km exploring and interacting with the people who’s paths I crossed. I initiated conversations with strangers. Used my limited Spanish to enjoy a short but memorable connection with a local, and then I wandered in an artesian market owned by an amazing woman who wanted just to share her love of the local cultural artifacts. Mary.
Let me tell you about Mari Solari!
Mari is a slightly wrinkled in the face woman with a spark in her eye. She carries a European accent yet has lived in Lima for over 50 years! She operates the most wonderful artesian market and is anxious to tell the customer all about the artists that produce these beautiful products. I spent nearly an hour wandering through the three rooms in the market (which really is just an extension of her home), fascinated by the creativity and attention to detail that the artists seem to put into each piece. From clay-works, to silver, and textiles….each piece has a story from Mary, a history, a sense of pride in the artisans that she works with to secure these products.
When I was getting ready to leave, Mari invited me into her ‘home’. A doorway away….behind the doorway was a wonderland of over 30 years of collections of pre-Colombian artifacts. Shelves lined the wall nearly floor to ceiling with pottery, the walls covered in canvases painted with dark and telling stories, and a large double door green armoire cabinet that looked like it held the same years of stories that Mary did. The green doors revealed a wondrous collection of pre-Columbian incised stones and figurines. Mari called them “healing stones” and told me that some were buried and unburied during ceremonies and others were used at burial. I was mesmerized by the stones…each one different, some with precise carvings and detailed human figures, and I was drawn to them. I reached out to touch one as Mari said “you shouldn’t really touch them, but I know you have an easy hand so go ahead”. I gingerly took the small piece in my hand and immediately felt as though I could feel the energy it held. I know that it sounds crazy…but it was like it gave me peace. I wanted to put it close to my heart and not let go, but instead; I carefully placed it back in its resting place in the cabinet….Mari’s words echoing from a short distance away.
Mari holds an amazing personal collection of artifacts. I really wasn’t ready to leave, I wanted to hear more. I wanted to know how she came about finding these relics. I wanted to know her. But, there were new faces arriving in the courtyard and Mari went out to great them, just as she had me when I arrived “Hello. Do you speak English? Spanish?” and just that quickly, she was sharing her excitement with yet another visitor as I made my way out the door with a short ‘Hasta Luego’ with true hope of passing her doorway again some day.
On my walk home, I realized that I rarely have this type of connection or interaction when I am with others. Somehow, everything just passes me by or maybe I just pass it by? As I mentioned, I knew that RY was a crutch for me. A way to get back to traveling yet still have a safety net. Being alone opened me up to talking to others, engaging in their interest and feeling the moment around me. Now I truly think I’m ready to venture alone. I long for the connections that are waiting and for the interactions that will have a lasting effect on me. I still value the RY experience and will continue to participate and interact and build those relationships because I think that those are potentially lasting relationships that I can find both value and solace in…however, I’m vowing to not use RY as a crutch anymore.
More about Mari
From: Jorge Riveros-Cayo
The family of Mari Elizabeth Solari originated from an island called Anglesey, also known as ynis moon in Welsh. This is the fifth largest in Britain located on the west coast of Wales. Daughter of angwyl Morgan and Mary Joyce Morgan, she spent her childhood in this island is historically associated with the druids, of whom very little is known, except that fell from the celts. Was understandable, then, that when claudio solari told him to go to Peru, the father of Mari ruled, “just go if you are married”. so, at the age of 22 came to this land with her husband in 1967. He had three children: Natalia Santiago, and Sebastian. But the happiness of the couple was short lived. Claudio died in 1976 of peritonitis, castrovirreyna in huancavelica. In your store the pallas can be seen and acquire crafts of great artists peruvians: Mamerto Sanchez Cardenas, a descendant of the best potters of quinoa, Ayacucho and grand master of the Peruvian crafts; the brothers mabillon and Claudio Jiménez Quispe, retablistas ayacuchanos recognized within and Out of the country; the work of Javier and Pedro González Páucar, from Mantaro Valley, with its sculptures made of maguey. In The Amazon Rainforest is Celia Vasquez Yui, woman shipibo with an undeniable talent in the development of ceramics; in the south of the country, textiles of Timothy Sacaca face of pitumarca district in the region of cusco; there are also those of mates burilados Delia Poma, cochas, junin. ” I have always been passionate about the richness and the great talent of Peruvian Craftsman. There is little young people who want to continue with this popular art; there are few who fight for the tradition “, ponder mari. Reason She’s not missing. The story gets published this weekend in the latest edition of the magazine faces. The Photos are from Jorge Aguilar.