Marian Johns' Journal of the Desert
Explorers trip to Peru in 2002
The idea for a trip to Peru was an indirect result of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center tragedy. A group of us Desert Explorers was all set – money paid - for a trip to the Taklamakan Desert in northwest China. Every participant, except me, wanted to cancel, and I wasn’t going to go alone, so cancel we did. Reda tried to set up a trip to Patagonia, instead, but the cost for two weeks was $5000, not including airfare – way too much. Reda asked – where else can we go? And I said – how about Peru? She said – sounds good; let’s do it – you be the leader. So by December, 2001, plans were beginning to hatch – mainly, the possibility of renting vehicles and driving ourselves, which would basically be a do-it-ourselves trip. Having driven all the way to South America years ago in a Jeep, I knew a trip like this was possible. I just had to convince others who were somewhat skeptical and more comfortable with the idea of a commercial, but less adventuresome, less risky tour. So, slowly, over the course of the next months, plans congealed and eventually became a reality.
Back in May, 2002, airfares were exceptionally low. The cost of a round-trip ticket from Los Angeles to Lima on American Airlines was only $471. So I e-mailed all prospective travelers and said, “You will buy your plane tickets now if you are committed to making this trip!" Lo and behold, 12 people bought their tickets, so we were in business.