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Inspiring trek inspired a book

Posted on 26 Oct 2015

Tags: travel, memoir, Machu Picchu, writing

On Foot to Machu Picchu was written by Sharon Mckee after she undertook her first charity challenge (she foolishly thought it would be her last one too…), trekking to the iconic site in Peru. A donation from sales is made to Breast Cancer Care, the charity Sharon and her fellow trekkers raised nearly £50,000 for on their Andean Adventure.

Sharon tells us what inspired her to write the book – and do the trek in the first place…


Signing up to trek to Machu Picchu took me by surprise – and probably everyone who knows me well! Although I like travelling and exploring new places I was not (and am still not!) a big fan of camping or ‘roughing it’, preferring home comforts like hot water, a comfy bed, and indoor toilets.

The advert I spotted was to do the challenge to fundraise for Breast Cancer Care, a charity close to my heart as I’d previously been diagnosed with the disease and used their services and support while undergoing treatment.

I was taking on several new challenges really – the fundraising which I’d never done before, the actual trek, spending five days at high altitude on a remote trail in the Andes to get to Machu Picchu, and spending 24 hours a day in extreme circumstances with an all-female group of strangers.

I read and researched as much as I could, but found a lot of the information came from travel guides, experts, and professional backpackers, with little real helpful insights into the actual experience, particularly for anyone like me, a rather inexperienced (to put it mildly) trekker. I had no idea what to expect, though the most helpful bit of my research was finding someone who lived near me who had done the same trek with the same company. A couple of hours spent chatting over a drink gave me a better idea than several weeks of Googling.

Although nothing could totally prepare me for this experience of a lifetime, which included developing a toilet obsession and altitude sickness, a mild addiction to coca tea, making the best of friends in at times the most dire of circumstances, when I was safely back home, I decided to write something that would hopefully be helpful and illuminating to anyone thinking about doing this kind of thing for the first time.

On Foot to Machu Picchu aims to give an insight into what undertaking this kind of challenge is really like, it is a ‘warts and all’ account rather than a glossy guide, describing the highs and lows, it’s also a personal account of the experience. The aim certainly isn’t put anyone off, instead I hope it does excite and encourage others who maybe aren’t sure if they can do it to just go for it. After all if I can do it – anyone can!

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On Foot to Machu Picchu

How does an unlikely trekker, never knowingly seen without mascara, cope along a remote Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? Author Sharon McKee loves exploring new places but is not a fan of camping, preferring home comforts like hot running water, a bed and toilets. After being diagnosed with breast cancer though, in a ‘moment of madness’, she signs up to do a charity trek. The adventure in the Andes turns out to be a challenge in more ways than one. From pre trip worries, such as coping in an all female group of 15 strangers to developing an obsession with toilets, Sharon describes her personal experience of this once in a lifetime trip. On Foot to Machu Picchu aims to give an insight into what undertaking this kind of challenge is really like, especially for a somewhat inexperienced trekker, and discovering the magic of Machu Picchu and the Incas.

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