Sunday, May 31, 2009

Random Travel Update 43

Last locations: Quito, Ecuador
Arrival Date: May 25, 2009
Departure Date: May 27, 2009

Current location: Tucson, AZ
Arrival Date: May 27, 2009
Departure Date: May 31, 2009

Next Locations: Amsterdam The Netherlands, Cairo Egypt
Arrival Date: June 1, 2009
Departure Date: Undetermined

While Jon and I were enjoying some falafel and baba ghanoush at a Lebanese café in La Paz, it occurred to me that being in South America was, for me at that moment, like sitting through a movie just after seeing a trailer for another movie that I would much rather be watching.

If you read the back cover of the Lonely Planet’s guide to South America, you will get the following review, “Challenging? Check. Rewarding? Beyond your wildest dreams. South America is made for travel—the griping, spine-tingling, adrenaline-charged type of travel you live for.”

In reality, the most challenging part of travel in South America is remembering not to flush your toilet paper down the toilet. Or, moreso, trying to get off of the gringo trail…a near impossible feat. And as for rewarding, sure, but so is every destination if you arrive with the right mindset.

South America is definitely made for travel. It is as if the whole continent were taken up by the tourism industry, thoroughly chewed and regurgitated for the travel-hungry masses to enjoy. And there are masses. While Americans are at home working hard at their careers and enjoying their annual two-week holiday, the English, Israelis, Germans, Dutch, Swiss and Aussies seem to have sent the majority of their youth out to go “discover themselves” for months at a time on the beaches and bars of every country with a good beer-to-euro ratio.

As for griping, spine-tingling, adrenaline-charged, in reality, South America is pretty laid back. And while you can adventure sport to your heart’s (or budget’s) content, the truth is that adventure sports tend to be griping, spine-tingling, and adrenaline-charged regardless of what continent you do them in.

That being said, do go to South America, just maybe don’t do it the way we did. There are many destinations that would be worth spending two-to-four weeks in and getting to know the local community and environment. Better even would be to study or work there. Cities and towns that I could really see myself staying for several months or more include: Buenos Aires, Santiago, Valparaiso, San Pedro de Atacama, Sucre, Samaipata, and La Paz.

I don’t have much time to finish this. In just over two hours Jon and I will get on a plane headed to Egypt by way of Minneapolis and Amsterdam the latter of which we will be for ten hours.
New photos of Bolivia are up and Jon has several new blogs in the works. Visit and



1 comment:

Marisa said...

i completely agree with you - you have to spend a great deal of time in places in south america in order to truly appreciate them. valparaiso was amazing...wasn't it? one of my favorite cities in the world.