Tucked away in the Andean slopes of Ecuador, lies the quiet and picturesque village of Vilcabamba. Known to many as the ‘Valley of Longevity’, Vilcabamba has a reputation for being home to one of the highest concentrations of exceptionally old people, including numerous centenarians and a number of residents apparently reaching 140 years. The name ‘Vilcabamba’ derives from the indigenous Quichua “huilco pamba”, meaning Sacred Valley. Originally a retreat for Inca rulers, it also became known as the ‘Playground of the Inca’. Inca royals travelled to the valley to renew and refresh their health, and it’s no wonder they chose Vilcabamba as their destination – the area is blessed with pristine water, pure air, rich soil, and a permanent spring-like climate, where fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants thrive all year round. In 1973, Dr Alexander Leaf of Harvard Medical School drew international attention to Vilcabamba following a cover story for National Geographic Magazine about the residents’ longevity. What is the secret of a long life? All mammals have approximately one billion heartbeats per lifetime. They can use them at a rate of a thousand per minute, like the shrew, or space them out into slow, ponderous beats, over many years, as is the case for the grey whale. This portrait is a dedication for the energies of an imagined citizen of this paradise, honouring the one billion heart rate, the earth, the plants, and mountains. May we all be at home in our most innate Vilcabamba.