100 Days in South America: Jumping into the Unkown!

August 8, 2012 § 3 Comments

It seems too good to be true, but in exactly two weeks from today I will be embarking on the trip of my dreams: 100 days backpacking in South America! True to form, I’ve been busy reading books and blogs, collecting random bits of info about the places I want to go and pinning them to this map. I know that I won’t be able to do everything, but for me planning is half the fun.

The inspiration for this trip came in the early days of 2009, when my brother and I traveled to Quito, Ecuador. The trip was my first time to travel abroad, and I was hooked. Ever since high school, I had been saving money to study abroad; by the fall of 2008, my junior year at KU, it was apparent that study abroad wasn’t happening for me. Determined not to be shorted of my international experience, I started browsing for plane tickets. Quito had always been an appealing destination for me, as my mother spent part of her childhood there while my grandfather was working for Texaco. I got word that my notoriously adventurous and usually broke brother, Noah,  had received a large tax refund. It wasn’t hard to talk him into going with me. We climbed mountains, rode overnight buses in the Andes, jumped over burning effigies on New Year’s Eve, and spied on wildlife in the Amazon. I contracted a very severe case of the travel bug. It was the first time that I had met people who went on big trips – months of backpacking with no set itinerary, volunteering along the way, teaching English, living out of a backpack. Upon returning home, I decided to try my hand at teaching English in Korea, and my experiences there minted me as a die-hard traveler. Living on the other side of the world in an expat community where everyone is itching to lay eyes on a new horizon makes spending 100 days wandering a continent with no concrete goal in mind seem normal. Now that I’m back in the states, I feel self-conscious about my desire to travel so much, and a little guilty about taking more time away from the world of steady work. However, my travel bug always wins out – and I remember that it was that trip to Ecuador that supplied me with a new source of inspiration and energy that echoed through my illustration, my running, and every other aspect of my life. I have no doubt that for all the risks of a journey like this one, there are great rewards in store.

My journey begins August 21, 2012 in Quito, Ecuador and ends November 28, 2012 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. If you’d like to follow my travels, I will be posting to Twitter  whenever possible!

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