Not only is today the end of our travel in South America, but the end of our first three months on the road. Time for a little review of what’s happened, what’s going well and what’s not, and answers to a few questions I’ve been asked.
- Traveling is easier than I thought it would be. The actual act of getting around, finding a placed to stay, having a meal, seeing the sights…is much easier than I thought it would be. I don’t know how hard I thought it would be, but it’s been easy even without knowing hardly any of the language. We rely on Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, Hotelz.com, Google, and countless travelogues for information…we don’t always get it right, but it isn’t hard. I hope this part continues.
- Traveling is harder than I thought it would be. I knew that it wasn’t going to be all sun drenched beers on the beach, that I wouldn’t always be in a good mood, that not every day at home is great so why would that change on the road, but the reality of it hit me a little harder than I was expecting. Probably magnified by own anxiety I found myself frustrated more often than I expected and I found that I was taking it out on Jason more often than not. I thought about it a lot and determined that it wasn’t because I was homesick but that rather I was just uncomfortable and anxious and I obviously needed to deal with it better. We talked about it and realized that we were at our worst when we didn’t have a plan, however short term that plan might be. Once we realized this we started planning a little bit more and things have definitely gotten easier again. I hope this part continues too.
- Traveling is more expensive than we had planned. I won’t go into this too much as I’m planning a post to specifically talk about the budget. Suffice it to say that if you click on the budget link you will be overwhelmed by red font. We have talked about this plenty too and are acting on it in a way that helps us manage the money anxiety and no, it won’t involve putting a ‘Donation’ button on the website!
- Do we like it? Yes, absolutely! Have you seen the smiles on our faces? Neither of us is even remotely homesick (sorry guys!). We are continually interested in the new place we are going and learning about the history and culture that we are faced with. We, obviously, feel that we are only scratching the surface of every place but it makes us connected to every single place we have visited and therefore forever interested in what happens there.
- Are we meeting others? The short answer is no, we are not meeting as many other people as we thought we would. We think we know why and sometimes we try harder but mostly I think we’ve just come to terms with it. Maybe this will change as we change countries, maybe not. Again, I’m planning a post about this specifically.
Are we traveling ‘off the beaten track’? This means different things to different people. I don’t think we’re ‘off the beaten track’ – we’ve been visiting major cities and sights and all the ‘must sees’ within them. To me, ‘off the beaten track’ means getting away from all other tourists and being on our own…no, we haven’t been doing that. We may often be the only ‘white’ tourist around but there are always other tourists around. However, we have stopped in some pretty small towns and have rented apartments in regular neighborhoods to get a feel for a city…to me that’s a little bit off the beaten track, but you won’t find me out in the jungle without a guide trying to communicate with the natives to get some dinner and a bed!
I know that as we continue to travel, our expectations, frustrations, realizations and style will continue to evolve. This is us at the three month mark…I’ll check in again at six months and see where we’re at.