Voy en diez dias!!!
Well this is it..in just over a week i'll be jumping onto a plane at Heathrow (weather permitting and subject to Spain's military forces preventing further air traffic control strikes in Madrid) and heading off to start an adventure-filled three months in Latin Amercia!!!! For the first time in my travelling life i'll be doing this one alone; not with my travel twin Devi nor with any organised tour groups...just me, my backpack and my rough plan of what I want to see. Ok when I say rough I obviously mean there's a spreadsheet. I'm a little bit scared but also very much excited and aware of how privileged I am to be doing this. It's the right time. I'm hoping to meet some cool and interesting people along the way and to preferably interact with the locals if I can get off the gringo trail from time to time, well I have been practising my Spanish! If I struggle to bond with people out there I guess there's always the llamas, they look pretty friendly.
The purpose of me doing this blog is to firstly keep in touch with friends, work colleagues and family, I love to get messages from people back home when i'm travelling so don't be shy. And to secondly reassure my mum that i'm OK and have not been kidnapped by any drug cartels. Finally it's to diarise and record a trip i've dreamed of doing for a while, reflecting on my experiences out there will be a means of catharsis for me. I will try not to go on too much
I have to say though, I have found preparing for this trip particularly stressful. Whoever said we should focus on the journey and not the destination was clearly wrong, the activities undertaken to get to this point have been necessary but not enjoyable. Perhaps it's because I'm not as young and care-free anymore, I have a mortgage, pension, and house maintenance bills that need covering whilst I'm away and a life and job to come back to that need to be left in some sort of order. Or perhaps I've just let my OCD manifest itself into zealous "over-planning for every contingency". Either way, what resulted was a pre-travelling project management plan consisting of 81 high priority actions with critical deadlines. The fun part has been learning Spanish and researching the places i want to see, the not so fun parts involving a leg operation, numerous rabies injections and arguing with insurance companies.
Googlemaps says I'll be doing just under 18,000km, this sounds quite ambitious I know but hey, when will i get to do this again! I plan to spend a good chunk of my time in Argentina including some tango in Buenos Aires, trekking glaciers in southern Patagonia, and eating lots of steak/wine tasting in Mendoza. Then it's over to the northern Atacama desert in Chile for some sandboarding, the salt flats in Bolivia and up to La Paz before experiencing Carnaval in Brazil. And then finally I'm really looking forward to spending time in Colombia - seeing the major cities of Bogota, Cali and Medellin, as well as the north caribbean coast. If I get an opportunity to do any volunteer work i'd like to do it in Colombia.
My mission for the trip is unashamedly to seek out beauty - in creation, people and the circumstances I encounter, whatever they are. And to use the very long bus journeys to read about the political history of the countries i'm visiting, I find it pretty fascinating.
Estoy muy emocionada!!!
Hasta luego, Hannah