In six days, we board a flight from San Francisco, California to Lima, Peru at 5:50 a.m. and start a two month adventure to Patagonia. With our backpacks, a good map, a little bit of money and some sturdy shoes, Clint and I are chasing the summer sunshine south.
It’s been quite a journey to get to this moment.
Clint is the son of a Swedish traveller and a mountain-loving geologist, he was born to travel the world and has already seen most of it. His life goal is simple: experience. I, on the other hand, have never left the golden hills of California.
Six months ago, I decided I needed to see the world. We bought tickets to Lima, Peru on a whim; I quit my job, ended my lease, lived out of my car and saved every penny to head to South America.
When Clint and I first brainstormed this venture, we considered traveling for six months. We were thinking I was going to have no job when I returned. The three month thing got shot down because I’m an ‘inexperienced’ traveller. Two months is more beginner level, apparently. The job quitting thing happened, but I also managed to find a new job that approved the time off before my first day.
Over the last six months, we’ve spent time making our plan for coming back from this two month trip. Finances, lodging, parking, job security, bills… all of these logistics have been the hardest part of the trip thus far. About three weeks ago we decided we should probably also plan our actual trip. Overall, the plan is to not have a plan.
Yesterday, we booked three nights at a backpacker’s hostel at our first stop in Lima, Peru. We have a rough itinerary built out for the following weeks, but I’ve learned from more experienced travelers like Clint that meeting people, sharing in their experiences and not holding to a rigid timeline is the most beneficial way to immerse in a culture.
The ultimate goal is to head south to Patagonia, visiting Machu Picchu, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls on the way. I know the good buses, I’ve researched the safe hostels and we’ve given ourselves at least a week to explore each city.
But my itinerary could change any moment by a chance meeting, a wrong sign or a beautiful mountain, and I’m okay with that.
The packing part was also a bit difficult. As an avid backpacker, I already had my 70 liter bag to fill; I just needed to figure out what to fill it with. Clint has a 40 liter bag. Surprisingly, mine is still lighter.