It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve been traveling for almost six months now. I know, everyone says that, but it’s true! I’ve only been to three countries thus far and I’m starting to wonder if I’m perhaps moving a little too slow. But alas, life will be moving at a quick pace from now on. I have no more volunteer positions or any other long-term commitments planned for South America and have the freedom to move about the continent without being constrained by too many schedules. The one exception is that I have actually booked my ticket to return to the U.S. for a brief interlude from Buenos Aires in September. This leaves me with roughly two months left to explore South America, one month for Colombia and then a whirlwind through Chile and Argentina. Here’s a breakdown of what I have in store:
- Everything from the Month 3 update is pretty much still valid. I’m currently in Colombia and I’m very excited about going to the beaches on the north coast and then heading down to Leticia for the jungle boat cruise back to Perú.
- After a short transit through Perú I’ll have roughly 5 weeks to do a whirlwind tour of Chile and Argentina that I’m calling “Lisa’s Summer of Surf’n’Turf”. I’ll spend half the time in Chile eating myself silly with great seafood before heading to Argentina where I will Fogo de Chão my way to record breaking cholesterol levels.
- So the main reason I’m going back to the U.S. so soon is that I’ve decided I wanted to work in a hotel in Spain for four months at the end of the year and I need to go back to get a visa.
- After my Visa situation is sorted I’ll head back to Europe with a first stop of course in Amsterdam to catch up on life and decent beer with people who make my life less boring.
- And here’s the big announcement: come hell or high water, I’m going to do the Mongol Rally 2013 for my 30thbirthday! Tears seriously roll down my face when I think about the exciting adventure that this will be. I don’t have any details whatsoever figured out at the moment, such as a team to go with, but I’m definitely more committed to this venture than half of the married couples in the U.S. will ever be so the first step is finding a team! By the way, if you happen to be reading this and know of anyone who needs an extra stranger in their car, please pick me!!
Of course, even though I’m getting very excited about my future plans (I know something I mentioned I should relax about from the Month 3 update), I think it’s still, maybe even more important, to reflect and think about some of the lessons learned from the past months of travel.
It’s time to get serious about travel as a lifestyle – Now that I’ve committed to my dream of making this travel gig a long-term one and not just a career break, I need to start researching other professional travel bloggers to get ideas on how to do this. I’ve already decided that monetizing the website somehow, most likely with adverts, is not the route for me because I think the style of my blog is more “memoir that you read at your own leisure” rather than an information hub, and I think the adverts are more appropriate for these sites. This is why I’m looking into supporting myself by getting part-time jobs along the way. My first experiment with this will be in Spain.
I need to socialize more – I admit, while I do a pretty good job of meeting people, carrying a conversation and what not, I’m still terrible at initiating conversations and I probably miss out on talking to a lot of locals who can clue me in on how to make the most of my visit to a city. A lot of the recommendations I got for stops in Ecuador, such as Montañita, Baños, and Otavalo were from locals. Also, it goes without saying, that this is another effortless opportunity to practice my Spanish, something I’m still struggling with.