With the whole world to explore, I found it rather difficult to decided as to where I should start. I have been very lucky and blessed to have parents who prioritize traveling and therefore I have done a fair share of traveling. Traveling with your parents results in seeing a country from their perspective. For instance, when in Greece, my dad just had to see all the ruins and castles / forts that were available. We all had to come along of course which resulted in us spending 11 out of our 14 days in the sun walking around broken stones and collapsed pillars. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting and all, but there is more to see and experience. I digress.
Of all the countries my family and I have visited in some capacity, South America has not been one of them. This has been instrumental in me deciding where to start my journey next year. So, South America it is!
Research and Planning
Having decided on where would be my initial destination, it was time to start planning. So much to know and so little time!! I started working with a friend on compiling some travel plans. All information from climate and environment, to visa requirements and accommodation. This took time and effort…until I discovered the answer (and yes, I am a noob and still figuring things out). WikiTravel.org (linked to South America). What a pleasure this website is. Perhaps you are new to travel like I am? Now you have a valuable resource for information if you didn’t already know of it :)
Since I am yet to get to South America, I would love to hear from people who have and who can recommend spots to visit that stray from the “tourist trap” bits. I’m sure, for instance, that there is more to Rio than Carnivale, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer but those are the activities which “tourist” websites ramble on and on about. Share your experiences. Highlights and bad times. Would be nice to get other perspectives.
Initially, I intended to have a detailed plan of action, however; that direction of thought has changed. I have been busy reading other travelers blogs and have gotten the basic message that plans don’t always work out and in the end, can be restricting. I therefore intend to take everything as it comes, with only a general idea of where I’m going. I will look at working a bit as well. I can take my web development skills with me so hopefully that will work out. If not, there are many other job opportunities available. Teaching English, managing a lodge etc.
Anyway, basic plan is to fly to Brazil. From there, I will work my way south through Uruguay into Argentina. Down Argentina, into Chile and back up towards Venezuela. Depending on how things go, I may continue traveling after that. Head on up through Mexico into the US and do that part of the world… but lets see what happens in South America first shall we.
As I’m sure most will know, South America is predominantly Spanish. Brazil is the only country which has strayed a bit by adopting Portuguese as their national language. Knowing this, I figured its best to be prepared so I have started learning Spanish. So far its going pretty well and I have to give thanks to two great resources. I was scouring the Internet for Spanish tutorials., books, audio etc when a friend recommend I look at podcasts. And low and behold, two fantastic podcast series were discovered. There were:
Both of these have membership plans which unlock a lot of extra content including bonus podcasts, dialogue transcripts and extra grammar. The free audio lessons on their own are great and well worth a look at if you wish to learn / improve your Spanish. If you have other recommendations, be sure to let me know in a comment :)
Just an extra note: Coffee Break Spanish is hosted by Radio Lingua Network which has a great selection of language learning podcasts. German, French, Italian, you name it. I haven’t tried the others but if they are anything like the Spanish show, they will be good.