Back in 2011 I took a trip with my father to an eco lodge on the Amazon River. It was an incredible experience that I treasure. Unbelievable sights like pink river dolphins and experiences like fishing for piranha.
The trip was full of unique challenges due to my size. Starting with a lost suitcase on the flight south. Luckily my bag arrived two days later.
The second challenge hit me as soon as we walked out of the airport in Iquitos, Peru. Allow me a brief geography lesson. Iquitos is on the other side of the Andes Mountains from cities like Lima, and deep in the jungle. The only ways in and out are by plane or a very long boat ride to the Atlantic up the Amazon. Because of that, there are very few cars in Iquitos, since the city has no roads or rail lines in or out. Instead of taxis being in cars, they were rigged onto dirt bikes.
I got to tell you, that bike wasn’t meant to be dragging my fat ass, plus my dad, and the driver through town. I kept thinking when the engine gives out, this guy is going to be mad at me.
The next day we are taken to the port for our hour and a half boat ride to the lodge.
Some of the experiences at the lodge were scary. Our guide for the trip, Victor, probably never stepped foot into a college classroom, but he could go toe to toe with any engineer in the world. You see, he had to get me in and out of so many tiny boats and walk on planks of wood. He could just look at the wood and tell me if it would hold me, or if we needed an alternate plan. He was always right.
To get a perspective of the engineering genius at work here, take a close look at our lodge’s dock. This was easily the best dock we used for 4 days.
The trip was awesome and I loved it, but if there was one story that defines my struggles it was the day we went for the Amazon jungle hike.
The first hour went by where Victor kept pointing things out to us and explaining how it could kill us. I don’t know for certain, but I would estimate the temperature to be around 100 degrees with humidity that felt like a walking through a bowl of soup.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep up. All the water I brought was gone, and I was wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt as protection from the mosquitos. At one point I staggered and fell. I honestly wanted to stay on the ground for a while, but Victor reminded me about all those things that could kill me down there.
We went into the jungle with 8 tourists and 2 guides. 9 of the 10 were unfazed by the hike. At this point the 1 guide and my father stayed with me while everyone else went ahead. I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to make it back to the lodge.
When I finally made it back to the lodge, I just sort of collapsed into the bench that was right at the welcome sign. Victor screamed something out in Spanish and 3 lodge workers cane running to me. One has 2 big bottles of Gatorade while the other two went down on the ground and each pulled one of my jungle boots off.
Losing weight is important to me, because there are so many things I want to do, and when I’m big I either can’t do them or they become so challenging that I shouldn’t do them. The next time an amazing opportunity like visiting an eco lodge on the Amazon River comes along, I want to be able to say yes, without hesitation.