The long way, apparently.
I had sailed down to Antarctica with a group of friends and half-jokingly told my Dad to meet me in Ushuaia, Argentina when I got back. Never one to miss an opportunity to travel, I found him waiting on the dock when my boat returned from the arduous crossing known as the Drake Shake. Tears, Scopolamine, vomiting and the fear of death made for an amazing journey!
We hiked to Chile on the Hito XXIV trail in Tierra del Fuego National Park, ate copious amounts of fresh seafood, lost a debit card, did shots at an ice bar, laughed and cried as we spent a few days in Ushuaia, marveling at the Beagle Channel and the incredible wildlife.
The only plans we had following Ushuaia were to fly to Buenos Aires and take the BuqueBus (a kick-ass, high speed catamaran across the Rio de la Plata) to Montevideo, Uruguay where we would meet up with some friends.
As most seasoned travelers know, you need to show proof that you will be exiting the country before you will be let into the country. While indulging in the biggest meat faucet of a dinner in Buenos Aires, we discussed what we should do after Montevideo. We talked about Easter Island, the Galapagos (that actually did happen, after Peru), Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil and finally, Machu Picchu.
We decided that Peru was next. I made a call to my incredibly awesome, travel blogging, group guiding, adventure buddy @roamingnanny and picked her brain. She came through in the biggest way! By the time we reached the port the next morning, we had flights, a two-day guided trip to Machu Picchu, a fabulous hotel, a day trip to Rainbow Mountain and a cuy dinner booked! If you ever end up in Peru, I highly recommend Elizabeth and Ronnie at Mountain Gods Peru. I don’t get paid to promote them but I can tell you that after a second trip to Peru to hike the Salkantay with them, they are now lifelong friends (yes, they are THAT awesome).
Peru stole my heart before we even landed. Watching the mural of mountains, with their switchback dirt roads, clinging to the precipice, ever in danger of collapsing, had me on the edge of my seat, nose pressed against the window (mind you I wasn’t even in the window seat…that honor went to my Dad).
We drank ridiculous amounts of fresh coffee, chicha, and coca tea and ate just as much chocolate and fresh fruit, cuy, alpaca and potatoes.
We took the train to Aguas Caliente and then the bus up to Machu Picchu (I would return to Peru a few months later and hike my sorry, out-of-shape self to Machu Picchu on the Salkantay, camping at coffee farms along the way). It was here that I knew Peru would forever be a part of my life, I just didn’t know how.
Fast forward to March 2020.
We took a last minute trip to NYC for a coffee tradeshow. While we were there, we purchased a roaster. Our plans were simple at the time, roast primarily for our mobile espresso bar (founded in 2014). We arrived back home and three days later the World went to complete s%&t . Food truck land, along with everything else, was temporarily shut down. So, we started roasting, and roasting, and roasting. Cupping and roasting, cupping and roasting. But despite a business plan and roaster, we had one last, nagging question…
What do we call our new roasting company?
We played with dozens of different names and none of them hit the mark. Sitting under the apple tree one evening, waiting for the 8 o’clock bells, we were reminiscing about our last trip to Peru and how much we missed our friend Elizabeth. She would always joke around and point out all of the ‘sexy llamas.’ With a simultaneous face palm and OMG, my husband and I looked at each other and we knew we had a name. And with that, Sexy Llama Coffee Roasters was born.