7th Annual Nomadic Journey: Trekking the Incan Citadel of Machu Picchu

Experienced by Kimatni D Rawlins

For my 7th Annual Nomadic Journey to enlighten the mind, body, and soul, I adventurously explored the remote citadel of Machu Picchu by way of trekking the awe-inspiring Inca Trail. Consisting of continuous miles of stone paths and thousands of original rock-strewn Incan steps carved from the Andes Mountains centuries ago, the short expedition was spiritually uplifting and full of awakening sustenance.

The Journey

 

You will fly into Jorge Chavez International Airport outside of Lima from your home destination and then take a short flight into Cusco to prepare for the adventure to Machu Picchu. In my case, United Airlines routed me on a direct Business Class flight from Newark. It is advised to enjoy Cusco for at least two days to acclimate to the altitude before hiking. But please make sure to visit Green Point while in Cusco for some of the most delicious and purest vegan food the city has to offer.

Whether you decide to engage in an extended 4-day hike to Peru’s 7th Wonder, or ride lavishly aboard the 1920s-styled carriages of the luxurious Belmond Hiram Bingham train through the Sacred Valley, the enchanting experience will replenish your temple with restorative Andean wisdom and vitality. More affordable options include either IncaRail or PeruRail from San Pedro station in Cusco. I chose the 1-day Inca Trail trek with Sam Travel Peru, which required me to train it to stop 104 (common hiker’s drop-off point) for a deeper understanding of the archeological site. This option was about $400 from the experienced Peruvian tour group. My guide Miguel educated me on the history of the Incas and vicariously showcased the ways of the ancient world.  I also met some new friends from London, Marta and Nuno, who were just as adventurous.

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Fit Fathers 6th Annual Nomadic Journey: Kenya’s Maasai Mara & the Balance of Nature

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Jambo! It’s the Swahili greeting I heard and repeated regularly throughout my 2-week journey in the Motherland to experience the beauty of nature in its purest and most divine form. The 6th Nomadic Journey brought me to the lands of Africa to spend time with the wild in their natural habitat within the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Southwest Kenya. These journeys are where I venture solo like a rover to rediscover life, disconnect from addictive American culture, and explore deeper consciousness and spiritual freedom.

aspirations. I began the long excursion from Washington, DC, and traveled on United Airlines to Frankfurt and then Lufthansa to Nairobi. As a frequent traveler, I always fly with the same airline alliance to earn miles, upgrades, respectable customer services, etc. After traveling almost 3-million miles with the Star Alliance, I’ve received exceptional treatment. Arrival to Nairobi took place on Jamhuri Day, which is a national holiday celebrated on December 12th to commemorate Kenya’s independence. As you can imagine, people were rejoicing across the country.
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Free Your Mind at Shenandoah National Park

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Interestingly enough I stumbled upon Shenandoah National Park after the need for an immediate getaway in the woods to free my mind. A nice rustic cabin, trails for hiking, running and epic scenery was my intention. Of course, I’ve always heard of Shenandoah but never had a chance to visit until now. Suffice it to say I enjoyed the solo yet peaceful few days in Virginia which also included meditation atop the mountains, conscious reading and poetic writing. It was the most enlightening and energetic methodology to kick off the new season. [Read more…]

5th Annual Nomadic Journey: Life Rediscovery in Vietnam

The perseverance of the Vietnamese people is unwavering, their spirituality is sincere, they are hyperactive in terms of fitness, and the plant-based foods they consume are pure and divine. Naturally, I chose a week-long mountain biking tour with Cambodia Cycling to rediscover life while riding from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Vung Tau beach city. Continue to travel wide and never rest on your laurels.

 

After a 22-hour flight, the plan was detailed but exciting. Once breakfast was complete, we transferred out of the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh to Tan Phu Trung village then rode through the rubber tree plantation to the Cu Chi Tunnels, dug during the Vietnam War. Next, we pedaled from Tan Thanh to Ngai Giao then to Xuyen Moc and Binh Chau Hot Springs to have a mud bath. The team cycled along the coast to Long Hai in transit to Vung Tau Beach City. The last leg featured a coastal view while finishing with a climb up to Nho Mountain to enjoy the sea from inside the arm of the famous Jesus statue. For more info on riding in East Asia, visit http://www.cambodiacycling.com.
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Muay Thai Boxing Training in Bangkok

In Bangkok, Thailand we had to complete the “5th Annual Nomadic Journey” with a bang (no, not partying) at Krudam Gym for a session of Muay Thai with some of the city’s finest instructors. We have much more respect for these boxers after learning just a small fraction of the trade and then watching an actual match later that night. Now only if we can emulate their kick speeds which seem faster than their jabs. Impressive!

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Mountain Biking Kathmandu, Nepal: A Fit Fathers Nomadic Adventure

Mountain Biking the Kathmandu Valley...31

Mountain biking across the region of Kathmandu, Nepal for a full day was absolutely breathtaking. The journey challenged my morale, willpower, endurance, and strength as I conquered steep, mile-long hills, rough single tracks, frenzied Nepali traffic, rocky roads, distant farmlands, and muddy waters.

“Like a nomad, I travel the globe with one bag while choosing kicks and bikes over cabs.” -Kimatni Rawlins

My annual pilgrimage to rediscover life where nature dwells most prominently led me to Kathmandu to trek the cultural heritage by mountain bike and inherit the spiritual inspiration of Siddhartha the Buddha since this area marks his birthplace. Indeed nirvana was waiting patiently for my arrival. I went with www.Viator.com and chose the Countryside Bike Tour for $89 per day. They offer both day tours and week-long rides, depending on your level of skill and adventure. Another reputable company can be found by visiting www.NepalBiking.com. Toting just a backpack, I carried only enough for basic human needs, including nuts and seeds, Zen books, gear, and the desire for a peaceful world devoid of prejudices, war, and cruelty to our fellow brothers and sisters. My goal is the continuation of ultimate enlightenment, which is why I travel alone on these particular trips.

Kimatni Mountain Biking the Kathmandu Valley...35Arriving on a Thursday, after an overnight pit-stop in New Delhi, India, Hotel Tibet sent a driver to escort me to their temple property themed with Tibetan art and boutique rooms inspired by traditional decor. Located behind Narayanhiti Palace Museum and not far from Thamel, the hotel’s Himalayan restaurant provides a complimentary, Nepalese breakfast and serves both Asian and Western cuisine. The aroma of dinner still resonates as if it were yesterday. Full of spices, veggies, and creative sauces, the nourishment was fitting for my lifestyle. There is also a meditation room where guests can relax after long hours of hiking or biking, and of course, Wi-Fi is provided if you find it challenging to disconnect from society. Quaint, time-honored, and peaceful, Tibetan incantations and Buddhist chants infuse the lobby while you take in a good book.

Friday was reserved for exploring the temples, town squares, crafts, and various religions of Kathmandu. The city is hectic, and traffic is tense as cars, buses, trucks, motorbikes, crossing pedestrians, and sometimes animals continuously fight for pole position. Smog is substantial and many locals wear protective masks when roaming the streets. The next day would find me pedaling through the mix since you have to first cycle your way out of the city before entering the purity of the country. Bhaktapur Durbar Square(World Heritage Site) was the first stop to witness firsthand the artistic expressions of the people, which the majority are farmers showcasing their creative skills such as Thanka painting, pottery and artwork when agriculture slows down. For lunch I crept into this little shack hidden behind the allure of the Bhaktapur alleys and ordered noodles alongside three young students. In recollection, the panoramas in my mind are unblemished and defined: a man clutches his three young daughters laughing in amusement; teen monks enter a noodle shop and speak with grace and respect; another festive wedding takes place in a family home within the rural hills. Ah, an elderly woman sits in a meditative state by appearance — still — she is actually cooking a traditional meal. These are just a few constellations of life activities I witnessed during my nomadic journey through Kathmandu.

“Ignorance, malice, and greed are three staples the purveyors of most cultures share jointly. Rightfully, balance can be restored through the delivery of love, compassion, and purity as often as humanly possible.” – Kimatni D. Rawlins

Kimatni & The Kids at Swayambhunath aka The Monkey TempleNext up was an appointment at Swayambhu, also dubbed “The Monkey Temple.” The ancient stupa sits atop a hill overlooking Kathmandu Valley and is the best place to observe religious harmony between Nepalese Buddhists and Hindus. The nickname was ordained by the diversity of visitors amazed by the multitude of monkeys running around. They seem to own the monasteries. A group of classmates on tour approached me with a cadre of questions and photo requests. The energy of the youth, no matter what part of the world you venture to, is quite fascinating. My new friends and I discussed everything from politics to soccer during our brief encounter. They had no clue how much inspiration was instilled inside me from our impromptu engagement. Respect to Nepal for blessing my pilgrimage with guidance!

A few more stops included the Great Boudha Stupa, where monks chanted, visitors prayed, and tourists shopped. I ate hummus and veggie noodle soup and drank freshly squeezed orange juice on the rooftop of the Stupa View Restaurant & Café, a vegetarian and vegan eatery specializing in plant-based Eastern and Western foods. The lunch café provides an impeccable view of the Great Boudha Stupa. Afterward, I headed over to Kathmandu Durbar Square to catch a festival celebrating the life of children and then ended my sightseeing at the Hindu Pashupatinath Temple, where the smoke from burning corpses could be seen near and far.

“Vacations are to relax the mind, not the body.” – Kimatni D Rawlins

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A full night’s rest, early Saturday morning stretching, and a stealthy, complex carb-based breakfast would provide the required energy for the biking venture. Always plan ahead since traffic is heavy all hours of the day in Kathmandu and leave early for any appointments. I met my tour guide Kumar at the Kathmandu Guest House next to the bike shops. We set sail through streams, single tracks, villages, farms, new countryside developments, and more. A few stops for hot lemon water (a Nepalese staple) kept me warm throughout the chilly morning. Into the afternoon I began sweating profusely and was ready to come out of my skin. Kumar bikes four to five times a week and never quits. He was the perfect companion since we each kept showing our bravado. In Tokha Chandeshwari, we made a pit stop for more noodles and channa. The peculiar village cafe would mimic an abandoned building back in America. Afterward, Kumar and I caught a local futbol game with a group of teens displaying fancy footwork. And since their field of play had no out of bounds, we found ourselves riding through the game. Wow, I’ve never been more at peace after witnessing the level of happiness manifested from daily simplicity. Kids playing with sticks, women hand washing clothes, and babies taking makeshift bucket showers outside. And still, everyone smiled as we exchanged “Namaste” at least one hundred times. One of the most memorable moments recalled is the set of Nepalese boys running alongside Kumar and me as we slowly churned out the torque for an uphill battle at Shivapuri National Park. It was a beautiful day and a memory I will never forget.

Travel puts me at peace and children make me smile. My joy and open arms for all kids around the globe are omnipresent. Keep exploring the intimacy and obscurity of nature while living the life you love, and try doing so during an energetic activity such as running, hiking, or biking. Namaste!

Please enjoy our complete photo experience!