malbec, mountains and meat
Learnings, Lovely Landscapes and Luck
Much to my surprise and others, I made it home alive without an incident!
When I arrived in Buenos Aires, a city of over 13 million, I was beyond overwhelmed! The first week was full of high highs and low lows and it was very hard to feel at ease. Stories of muggings, room theft, crooked cab drivers and pickpocketers, did not help the already unsettled feelings I had!
Loneliness and safety were probably my biggest fears being a first time lone-adventurer! But what I soon discovered is that, as a single female you have lady luck on your side! I found that you get to meet far more people beyond that tight knit group or that cute couple (who are likely quite envious of your freedom and opportunities). As long as you’re willing to try to speak embarrassingly bad Spanish, to always be armed with a big smile, to say hello to strangers and avoid retreating to the comforts of your hotel room you will find that you end up sharing dinners most evenings!
As I adjust to the challenges of travel my days become much fuller and time starts to fly by. My plans always include a safe place to sleep every night and to travel during the daylight hours, as getting from one place to another can be particularly daunting when you’re doing it on your own. There is no one you can rely on to share the burden should things get a little tricky at border crossings or if the bus driver and passengers only speak Spanish and you can’t understand! But despite linguistic differences I found most people are likely to offer you assistance if you’re clearly alone and confused – again perhaps a little lady luck!
Another learning – bring a book, journal or always have a blank postcard on hand (mainly for disguise purposes)! They save you the embarrassment of sitting alone at a coffee shop or park bench trying to avoid the curious gaze of beautiful Argentineans or just like at home, the neighbourhood weirdoes! But should someone sit down next to you that looks interesting, put the pen down and make eye contact.
All and all, my trip was a perfect balance of unbelievable environmental and urban landscapes. For a girl with a camera and no distraction of a travel companion with their differing schedule and priorities, it was a trip full of thrilling photo ops of bright blue skies, red, purple, yellow and orange coloured landscapes, unusual flora and fauna, and architectural amazement.
Biggest highlight: This is the hardest question you get from friends and family when you return – But, I would have to say the landscapes and culture of Northern Chile and Argentina! To list a few: Valle de la Luna, and Valle de la Muerte, the altiplanic lagoons and salt flats in the high Andes and the Northern Argentinean villages of Purmamarca, Tilcara, Humahuaca and Cachi!