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Ruta Maya
Journeying Towards Indigenous Wisdom

by Colette Morya

On first arriving in San Miguel de Allende, back in 2019, I lived in a hostel for a month. I always enjoy being in contact with other travelers, who, by telling me about their journeys, put destinations on my map. As I like to volunteer for things, especially when I am traveling, I put in some time behind the hostel's front desk. In that position, I came to know a young Argentinian named Sebastian.

As is typical, according to Argentine tradition, after graduating from university, Sebastian chose to travel for a while, most of this coming to be in Mexico. Playa del Carmen and Tulum are the principal destinations for such young adventurers. I, too, lived on the Riviera Maya, surrounded by young people in a hostel for three months, a delightful chaos. There I had the opportunity to learn about these and other Argentinean customs.

As I say, I met Sebastian in SMA, not in Quintana Roo. This was after he had already been in the country for three months. With his big smile and his wisdom, he appeared as an angel that the Universe put in my path to give me a new direction.

In one of our talks on the roof of the hostel, Sebastian introduced me to the Ruta Maya (Mayan route). This is an organized program, a three-month trip through deep Latin America. It focuses on indigenous communities that seek to enhance and preserve their original culture. Hearing his description of the marvelous landscapes and the peace that one breathes in these places, far from the rush of the big cities, I was immediately convinced that I wanted to participate.


Chichen Itza / Machu Pichu
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Then came 2020, a year of chaotic events around the globe. A new reality was emerging before our eyes.  We were all adopting the habit of pandemic uncertainty. Still, even as the pessimism of the moment grew, I kept the Ruta Maya, in my heart and mind.

Searching online, I found their website. There I learned that the non-profit project is a part of the Ruta Inka Cultural Embassy. Born in Machu Pichu, Peru, at the beginning of this century, under the leadership of Rubén La Torre, to date they have organized 14 journeys, mobilizing more than 1,000 expeditionaries from all five continents. These adventurers have gone deep into the essence of aboriginal cultures and returned to their countries as honorary ambassadors of the indigenous peoples.


Tikal
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Their goal is to have the Ruta Maya become a permanent process. They hope this intercultural encounter program evolves into an itinerant university of ancestral wisdom, to learn by travelling. Taking place every two years, visiting the main sanctuaries, reserves and riches of the aboriginal peoples of Mesoamerica, including more and more of Latin America, it is intended to honor and revitalize the culture of the indigenous peoples. I loved their politics and the idea of learning by traveling.

The plan for 2021 was to tour archaeological sites in 13 countries from Mexico to Bolivia with a small group of participants. Among other events, the trip would commemorate the bicentenary of the consummation of the Independence of Mexico and the 500th anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlán... and the call for applications was open.

After scrolling through your site and dreaming of these places that I saw in each photograph, I wrote my application:

"I am a traveler and a writer. I am starting a new life as a nomad, far from the sedentary society. Exploring these sacred territories, full of wisdom and natural beauty, is something that motivates my soul. I want to soak in their simplicity and understand their ancient philosophy, exploring the past to understand our present and glimpse the future. I am just a dreamer and a poet in search of regaining faith in humanity. In search of the truth, far from the civilization sick with power and distorted by the ambition of money, I want to lose, to find, and to discover myself. Thank you for the opportunity to have a guide to start this new adventure, this new life."


Rubén
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To my great surprise and delight, a few days later I received an acceptance email, inviting me to complete the registration process. My  destiny had been revealed.

Then, some time later, as the pandemic situation becoming more and more intense, I received another, this time sad, email. For protection and prevention, the Ruta Maya 2021 had been cancelled.

Life moved forward and so did I. At the end of 2021 I was in a state of uncertainty. Where do I go? What is my next step? Confused and bewildered, I did not knowing what to do. As a consequence of my congenital distraction, I had already forgotten. In the form of another email the Universe gave me a reminder of where I was supposed to go; the sender, Ruta Inka. I thought at first it was only a newsletter. When I opened it, I discovered that it was personally addressed to me:

Ms Colette,

After the uncertainty that COVID19 has brought to humanity, we are now getting back on our feet. We are once again in the midst of preparations for the Ruta Maya 2023 and we would like to count on your participation. We are currently in Mexico City making contacts with the authorities and presenting the illustrative book of the Ruta Maya 2019.

Best regards,
Rubén La Torre
President of the Cultural Embassy Inka Route

Oh my heaven! - I sighed - This is a tonic for my uncertainty, a balm for my spirit. Again, my soul leapt with joy. My doubts dissipated. Once again, I had in front of me what the pandemic had postponed. Better late than never, as the saying goes. In a simple reply to Rubén La Torre, I thanked him for the great news, the invitation and let him know that, with my soul overjoyed, I was more than ready to participate.

I came to see more clearly the origins and importance of this journey. I understood the main intention of its founder, the Peruvian Rubén La Torre, to return the voice to the aboriginal native; to hear again from those who were silenced by the conquerors, whose cultures were at odds with the ways of their new masters; to renourish and free those who were stripped of both material and spiritual riches, and turned into slaves of the ambition of others, losing their freedom, their greatest treasure; to those who had their souls and their ancestral culture devalued. The Ruta Maya seeks to honor the indigenous ways, the original race of this continent, the true heroes. In this way, to assist in the recovery of  the identity taken from them in the abyss that gaped more than 500 years ago.

With a little more than a year to prepare my backpack, I am thrilled. I hope this to be a life-enriching journey, that will allow me to better connect with a part of my origins, with the mestiza blood that I carry in me, with the ancestral wisdom to all of us here on this wonderful land. It is time to find myself.

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The continental journey is scheduled to start on June 21, 2023 at the Templo Mayor in Mexico City. It will end on September 21 of the same year in Bolivia. It will cover 13 countries, including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

The invitation to participate in the Ruta Maya 2023 is extended to all adventure enthusiasts, to all dreamers, to anyone who wishes to share their time and soul to empower and enhance the Mayan culture. Participants in past years, from all five continents, have included students, journalists, documentary filmmakers, UN volunteers, writers, artists, musicians, teachers of indigenous languages and others. You can also participate in tourist mode, choosing the places you want to visit.

If you are interested, you can pre-register on the website:
www.rutamaya.org/inscripcion/


A previous Ruta Maya expedition
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Colette Morya is a poet and traveler-writer now residing in San Miguel where she is learning about historical and anthropological culture through her "urban tourism."

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