When one chapter ends, another one begins. The time had come to leave this amazing continent we had called home for the past four months. I had dreamed of going to South America for a long time and had spent many hours reading through Lonely Planet, Wikki travel and google, researching places to visit and things to see. It was all I had on my mind for so many months, and boy did South America deliver! It was even more amazing and mind blowing than I imagined. It certainly wasn’t an easy ride though and we had our fair share of disappointments and stressful moments, but it was all 100% worth it.
From the traditional high altiplano of the Andean mountains, through to the Amazon jungle, to bright white salt flats and lagoons filled with wild flamingos, to wine regions, cactus strewn deserts, big cities, to beach islands, sexy samba dancing, 3 seventh wonders of the world and one of the most famous beaches in the world, we saw it ALL! So much diversity, so many different cultures, cuisines and landscapes. South America really has something for everyone if you are just willing to give it a chance.
Before I travelled to South America, I was pretty nervous. I was worrying about getting robbed, getting sick and not being able to speak Spanish. Yeh, I got sick..plenty of times, my Spanish was terrible to start with but I definitely improved by the end and in some places I was terrified of getting robbed every time I stepped out of the hostel. But you know what? When I think back over the last four months, these thoughts barely even scratch the surface. They are such a small price to pay for all the beautiful things I saw, amazing people I met and the wonderful cultures I got to immerse myself in.
South America has definitely taught me a thing or two. Like to be more grateful for the life I live. After seeing the women in Peru carrying around their babies strapped to their backs by a blanket while they and their older children try to sell things to tourists, or the lady in Bolivia washing her clothes and her hair in the freezing cold lake while her baby sits wrapped in a blanket on the shore in the freezing cold weather, or the children kicking around a plastic bottle like a soccer ball in the school yard and having the time of their lives or even just the homeless people and state of the slums in Argentina and Brazil, it made me realise how lucky I am to live the life I live, and to have grown up in a country like Australia.
South America also taught me to be more patience and that everything always works out in the end. Every time something went wrong throughout our journey, it ALWAYS worked out in the end and almost every time for the better. The amount of kindness from strangers we experienced along the way really helped to restore my faith in humanity. From the cute Brazillian man who gave us soup for dinner in a hostel for no reason to the lovely Peruvian man who opened his home to us for three weeks and treated us like family so we could practice our Spanish. All you have to do is open your mind and your hearts to the unknown and you will be pleasantly surprised.
At the beginning of the year I posted this photo on Instagram with a caption saying “I can’t wait to see these through my own eyes” …
Well, I successfully saw them all and can now proudly post my own compilation of these places that I have now seen through my very own eyes! (No Instagram effects needed this time!)
The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan.. If you have been dreaming of visiting South America or any other wondrous place on this beautiful planet we live on, then stop dreaming and start planning how you are going to get there. For me, instead of flicking through a travel magazine and saying “wouldn’t it be nice to go there one day?” I say, “I’m going there as soon as I can!” If you really want something, you will do everything in your power to make it happen.
These memories from the trip will last a life time and all the people I met along the way including the strangers on the streets willing to give up a smile, will hold a place in my heart forever.
Like I said before, when one chapter ends, another begins. As sad as I was leaving South America I was so very excited for snowy Whistler in Canada, our next destination. Here’s to a season full of snow, snowboarding, great friends, laughter and new memories.
Goodbye South America, I will be back one day to discover more of your beauty xxx