“Where are you going?”
We are flying out to Buenos Aires, where we'll stay for just over a week before flying down to southern Patagonia. We then plan to work our way up through Patagonia overland, also visiting the Atlantic coast and then heading in to the Chilean Lake District. We'll then go north through Chile towards the capital, and probably cross back in to Argentina to visit Buenos Aires again, from where we'll also make a trip across the Río Plata to Uruguay.
After that, our plans are much looser, but we'll probably head north in Argentina, possibly visiting Paraguay, and then on to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The idea is to end up on the Caribbean island of Grenada at the beginning of 2014 to visit some of Zab's family there. After that, we'd like to explore Central America too if we can, and then may end up returning to Europe for a while. After that, Asia!
“Why South America?”
Because we've never been there before. While I have travelled independently quite a lot, Zab has not, and we thought that with its similarities in terms of culture to Europe due to colonialism, might make it a bit more accessible and less intimidating to him than, say, Asia. Also, Zab wants to learn Spanish, and since all the countries we wanted to visit in South America are Spanish speaking, it seemed to make sense.
“How can you afford this?”
Long term independent travel may not be as expensive as you think, as long as you don't have (m)any regular expenses related to, for example, having a home. But don't just take our word for it; we plan to show you each month exactly how much we've spent to demonstrate that a life like this could actually be cheaper than living in one place.
Of course we have both been saving for this trip. I have been working teaching English in various places around Europe for the last three years, and have rarely had to pay for accommodation (as my employers have usually paid for it). This means I have been able to save a significant amount of my income towards this trip. Also, it's worth noting that we don't have children, pets or family who rely on us for financial support.
We both plan to work as we travel at various points. I can teach English, either privately on a freelance basis, or as an employee at a language school. In Europe, I have found it very easy to find jobs doing this, and from what I've heard the same is true in South America, the difference being that the wages are lower! Zab also has some freelance accounting and management consultant work that he will be doing remotely.
We will look for other opportunities, and others still will present themselves. We also plan to couchsurf (not only to save money, but to meet people and get to know the places we visit more deeply) and perhaps do some kinds of work exchange, both of which will reduce our spending.
“Why are you doing this?”
For many reasons. We don't believe in deferring dreams until retirement, and we want to be able to enjoy the things we want to do with our lives while we are physically, psychologically and emotionally able to do so. We believe that nothing cures or prevents ignorance or discrimination like travel and interacting with people we would never otherwise meet if we stayed in one place all our lives.
We want to break down barriers, make new friends, have life-affirming experiences, eat new and strange foods, try out new ideas, broaden our minds and challenge our prejudices. And finally, we're blogging about it to share the experience, and show that such a lifestyle is as valid, productive and viable as any other.
More questions? Leave a comment!
Thanks for reading.