Am I packed? No chance. I still haven’t changed the habit of a lifetime, packing two hours before I am due to go. My daughter, who has spent 28 years dropping me off at airports, tells me nothing’s changed… we can still only find one hiking boot and most of my clothes are packed away at the back of the attic. There is a mini panic going on (not by me of course)!

As I find all the different equipment that I need the memories flood back of the amazing journeys I have been on in the past – particularly in Peru, where I am headed now. I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder but I find it hard to throw away items that I have found to be of great service – boots, anoraks, ponchos and those jeans I can still squeeze into. So the suitcase is packed in preparation for every eventuality, from the heat of the jungle to freezing evenings in the Andes.

I feel so privileged to be about to take like-minded travellers on an amazing spiritual adventure and introduce them not only to the team that looks after us over there but the families who I have watched grow and develop with our support.

A person that is very close to my heart is Edith who lives between Cusco and Titicaca. In 2002 I decided to take a big busload from Cusco to Lake Titicaca. So that we could enjoy the landscapes of the Andes we pulled up into a small village. A beautiful girl with the most amazing smile and a baby in her arms (and one on her back) came running to meet us. I soon found out that this girl was in desperate need of help. She had created a small nursery for orphaned children in a cave. Having found out the full story of her vision we set about working to help her.

By my next visit I had raised funds to assist her in starting a small school, and to support the families who take these small orphans into their homes at night whilst Edith has them during the day. At the last count, when I left five years ago, there were 25 children from zero to eight years old. The families are paid to look after the children – so there are benefits on both sides.

I’m pleased to say that the project has grown and grown and the village is now prospering. Edith speaks English now and runs her school to help everyone in the village. I’ll report back when I get there to let you know what has changed – stay tuned!

Cusco at night…