How To Live Forever – The Secrets Of Vilcabamba
Yuli Azarch | March 30, 2015 | No Comments on How To Live Forever – The Secrets Of Vilcabamba
During my traveling between Peru and Ecuador, I was searching for the next place to go to. I never heard of this place before and I just started reading on Google and I encountered a place that was really close to me, called Vilcabamba, in Ecuador, which is also called the Valley Of Longevity and the reason it is called this way is because they found blue zones around the world, four or five blue zones around the world and a blue zone means that it is a zone where there people who seems to be over 100 years old in age in very, very good health without disease and also strong, healthy, happy and Vilcabamba was one of them.
Here is the definition from Wikipedia: “Blue Zones is a concept used to identify a demographic and/or geographic area of the world where people live measurably longer lives. The concept grew out of demographic work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, who identified Sardinia’s Nuoro province as the region with the highest concentration of male centenarians”
I was really, really excited to go over and discover what is the place about, being very passionate about the topic of health.
After spending two weeks in Vilcabamba, let me give you my most honest thoughts about this place and this being “Valley Of Longevity”, and those are just my personal thoughts from spending two weeks in that place: Complete bullshit.
Most of the people actually there are unhealthy. I remember I was greeted in the place by a taxi driver who was smoking, I asked him to turn off the cigarette he wouldn’t turn off the cigarette which is a very not polite thing in itself. All local people that I saw in Vilcabamba are unhealthy actually, they were overweight, they were eating ice cream, and lots of junk food, they seemed lazy, they did nothing throughout the day, they were drinking Coca-Cola and just really eating and drinking anything that is considered bad to you. The code word in the town was “Tranquilo”, which means “Chill Calm Down” in Spanish.
That was my first impression and the impression which I was getting with my stay for two weeks with no real evidence to the eyes that made me change my mind. All the locals were unhealthy but on the other side there were many people who are not locals there, many people who chose to go and live abroad in another country and actually they were very healthy looking. People in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and they were just very happy & healthy looking. Those were the expats of that place.
There were multiple health stores, however, the reason why the expats were healthy is not because of Vilcabamba, and the specific location, it is just because they are interested in health and this means if you are interested in health and you’re just having a healthy lifestyle, you choose to have a healthy diet, which really means then you can be healthy wherever you live in Vilcabamba, New York, Rome, London, Melbourne it doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to go to Vilcabamba and you can choose a health lifestyle in many places around the world. This was my impression and the belief I took from it.
I may seem very negative of this place, but that is purely of the high expectations I have had due to it called “Valley Of Longevity”, expected to see centenarians there all around. In Vilcabamba itself, there is a lot of nature there, it is a very calm place. It has a mediation center and everyone around are extra chill. I also found out that the water there is not pure as it was even 40, 50 years ago, and it started a contamination process, very similarly to what happens in the rest of the world with our drinking water. It is being said that the water in Vilcabamba is very special, and one of the reasons for their longevity, which may very well have been the truth 50 years ago, but very unfortunately the natural foods and water are just not the same. During my two weeks there I haven’t seen a single centenarian and I was doing quite a lot of hiking on the mountains, it doesn’t mean that they are not there I just haven’t seen anyone.
The fact is Vilcabamba may have been really “Valley Of Longevity” around 50 years ago, 60 years ago. This is what I am thinking. However, they started contaminating their food and water, and when the locals started eating processed food, such as ice cream and drinking Coca-Cola then their health started to degenerating quickly, just saying the same thing that is going on in the Western countries and so 50 years ago actually I think it would have been really possible and this is also when they documented this zone as “Blue Zone”.
Most of the community is older even though you can find younger people who are traveling there as well, it is not a popular destination, very off-tourist track if you like those kind of places. Vilcabamba is very, cheap. Which is always a bonus.
To summarize my impression from Vilcabamba:
– It is the right place to visit mountains, nature, and do hiking. It is a really beautiful place in fact.
– In terms of longevity and health, this place attracts a lot of health enthusiasts to it, but you can be healthy at any places in the world.
– Part of a healthy lifestyle: It means a stress-free life (Absolutely no stress in Vilcabamba, you cannot find it), the need to be active, to have a reason and passion to be there each day, have family, friends & lovers around you.
If you really have all of those simple things, you can be healthy and you can live until you are 120 and those things are what people actually in the blue zones are doing. Sometimes health & longevity can boil down to the very simple things, rather then making this area of life so damn hard at times.
I Invite you to watch a Ted talk about the “Blue Zones”, and How To Live To Be Over 100+: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100#t-5757
It tells the commonalities of all of the blue zones in the world and the commonalities are the same whether you are in the Japan, Italy, or any other place.
Maybe the secret is there are no secrets, and just having common sense. But the funny thing about common sense this days, and correct me if I am wrong. It is not so common!
And here are some photos from my time there:
Let me know of your thoughts in your comments.