After a year or so of procrastinating Alex and I have decided to take some time off work to spend 6 months travelling around South America. You are probably reading this because we’ve given you the web address so that you can keep up to date on our exploits! Since we haven’t actually gone anywhere yet I thought I’d answer a few questions that have come up when we’ve told friends and family about our plans.
This is an easy one. We’ve both loved travelling since we spent part of our gap year in Botswana. For me this was an experience that totally changed my outlook on life and made me a happier, less material person.
Yeah but why now?
Well we’re both 31, we have both worked for the same company’s for the last 7 years, we have owned our flat in London for the last 5 years and we’ve been married for 3 years. We’re really at that stage where we want to look at the next change in our lives. Neither of us ever envisioned ourselves working for the same company’s for seven years but we’ve both been lucky to find jobs that we love. At the same time we’re not yet ready to start a family and we realise that as our careers progress and we eventually become tied down by family and additional responsibilities the decision to leave the country for this long could very easily become a missed opportunity that we later regret.
Why South America?
In 2012 we spent just over two weeks in Peru for our Honeymoon. We loved the country, its food and its people. This was our first trip to South America and we left desperate to see what other surprises the continent held. I’ve liked the idea of a sabbatical for a while but I’ve always felt that if I spent 6 months away from work that I should come back with a skill. I’ve always wanted to learn a language and in the past we’ve learned very basic holiday Spanish for our trip around Cuba, a trip that would have been made immeasurably easier with a better grasp of the language! Since nearly everywhere in South America is Spanish speaking (with one very large exception) we thought that it would be the perfect place to try to pick up something more than a basic grasp of the language. Alex has as usual been better organised than me and has been learning Spanish for the last six months so she is already mastering the basics. I on the other hand haven’t had much time, I’ve been horribly busy at work but I have managed to spend some evenings on my DuoLingo app so at the very least I have managed to expand my vocab a little (it’s not hard when you only know 10 words to start with!). We’re planning to do a language school of some kind whilst we’re out there, hopefully staying with a local family and getting to use what we’re learning as we go.
So what’s the plan?
We fly to Bogotá (Columbia) on September the 14th.
To be honest we haven’t really planned a lot further than that, we’ve been so busy sorting out our flat and the move the Bristol that we haven’t really thought too hard about what we’ll do when we get there. We do have a rough order of countries though:
Ecuador (including a trip to the Galapagos islands)
Peru (just a short stop to pick up some things we missed last time)
Argentina (including a trip down to Patagonia)
Uruguay (if we have time)
For those that know even less about South America than we do here’s a map of our route, don’t read too much into it though as it only really shows what countries we are visiting and in what order!
We fly back to the UK on the 13th of March 2016
Ahh yes well since we thought that this was not nearly enough upheaval we’ve decided to move to Bristol when we get back. This means we need to have found somewhere to live by the time we start back at work! We’re also putting all of our belongings into storage in Bristol before we go as it’s about half the price of London! We’ve worked out that even if we do later change our minds we can always give our tenants their notice and we’ll have saved enough in storage costs over 6 months to be able to pay someone to bring our belongings back to London or wherever we do decide to live!
The countdown has started and we’re currently using all of our hours in the day trying to close off major projects at work, decorating and finishing other DIY jobs in the flat, sorting insurance, mortgages and everything else to ensure we can be out of the country for 6 months with access to money, happy tenants and all eventualities prepared for so we won’t be worrying about anything while we’re away.
While we’re away we’ll try to update this blog fairly frequently. I have blogged before both when travelling in Vietnam and when in India with IBM’s Corporate Service Corps. I’ve always been great at the first two thirds of the trip but never good at finishing it off. Alex hasn’t blogged before but I’m hoping that with a combination of my enthusiasm and Alex’s practical nature and ability to finish the job that you’ll see at least semi-frequent updates for the whole time that we’re away!
In the meantime thanks for reading and if you’ve got this far thank you, you’re one of those people that we are genuinely going to miss while we’re away!