My 7 Months Trip in South America Into a Backpacker’s Guide
As a way to sort of clear their head and get a chance to think about what they want to do next, most young men and women who finish their mandatory military service in Israel get a temporary job, save some money and take off to travel for several months around the world.
My trip, like many, was to South America. I have traveled for a little over 7 months in which I visited Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. To me, the sense of total freedom, meeting new and interesting people every day, the nature, new cultures, the amazing views and the experiences that in each and every place were special and unique in their own way made it all a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.
If it's not obvious, I strongly recommend that anyone who can go on such a trip, do it! It’s worth it. In my guide, my little tips you won’t be about places you must visit or the name of a hostel you can’t give up on, but more on how. Experiencing such a trip to the fullest in your way is much more important than going to a certain place everyone says “you must go to”. You can often find yourself in a place that everyone says is boring and has no nothing to do for a whole month, just because you love it there and you feel like you can't leave. So why should you?
Choosing Your Destination
Do Your Research. Read, ask around, look for tips about specific places online and gather all the information you can to get a general idea of places you’re considering going to. While you do that remember that every country, city, trip or experience is individual. A person can tell you that their favorite place in the whole world is India and that they can’t wait to get back there, for you it can be the worst place in the world. Try to take from stories you hear or read what they mean to you or how you think you would experience that place if you were there, not what a great experience it was to the person telling the story. At the end, the decision should be made because a certain place feels right to you.
Cabo Polonio, Uruguay
Now that you know where you want to go, you can start preparing your things. As part of your research, you should check when is the best time of year to go and what equipment will you need. Much of that equipment, in your specific trip, might be better to buy or rent when you get there than buying it all and bring everything with you. Ask around, friends and family might have that 2-person tent that’s perfect for you and they never use it anyway or warm clothing that lies down in the closet for ages. Don’t buy stuff just so they can later lie around in your closet too, that money can be much better spent later on when you arrive your destination. If there are things you do need it to buy, do it. But not before you look online and ask around some more. Travelling equipment can sum up to thousands of dollars and you might not want to spend so much on just a brand name.
Save Your Money For What's Important
Take Care of Yourself
It sounds obvious, but many people lose their head in those trips. I found myself more than once in situations I told myself “what the hell was I thinking?!”, and I was one of those who didn’t completely lost their head (at least I’d like to think so). Many people take unnecessary risks; go on places that are known as dangerous or book with travel agencies with a controversial rumor on their name because they are 20% cheaper then the rest. Not worth it. I’m not saying don’t go rafting for the first in your life if you were waiting for it for years (or even if you weren’t) just because someone told you rafting might be dangerous, but if you know that every year several people die in that specific river and with that specific agency, maybe you should reconsider. Losing your life or cutting your trip short to go back home with a disability for life will be much worse than skipping an activity. If it feels like you shouldn’t do it, just don’t.
Sorry about that but it really is important. Now that we are done with formalities, preparations and things your parents will thank me for, we can continue to the fun part.
Come Back Safe and Sound
Nothing is Mandatory
Many people will tell you that you have to visit certain places or do this amazing activity. They mean well and you should listen to what they have to say as an advice, it doesn’t mean you have to do it. There’s absolutely nothing you have to do unless it’s something that you define as mandatory to you. Only you decide if there’s a place or an attraction that for you is mandatory. For me it was Las Cataratas del Iguazú,the waterfalls located in Brazil and Argentina, and skydiving. Both were amazing!
My Trip To Iguazú Falls
Do What Feels Right
I understand it might sound like a cliché, but I think it might be the most important advice I can give and I truly think you should remind yourself that all the time (maybe not just when travelling but that's for a different story). You’re in a place that for you means freedom, meaning you shouldn’t feel like you’re going somewhere you don’t want to go to or doing something you don’t want to do. Be with people you feel a connection with and don’t be with those you don’t. Free your mind, look at the map, say “here!” and go there. Why? Because it felt like it, so why the hell not? Don’t let yourself regret things you have or haven’t done. This is your chance to do your ultimate backpacker trip, you should enjoy it to the fullest.
Please feel free to write any questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else that comes to mind on the comments section bellow. Thank you!
Remembering at a Glimpse
Choosing Your Destination
Things To Remind Yourself During The Trip
When to go and things to do
What do I need
Come back safe
Who can lend me that
Nothing is mandatory
What to be careful of
Where can I buy it good and cheap
Do what feels right
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© 2018 Yuval Barak