The Nitty-Gritty of Backpacking South America

August 20, 2012 § Leave a comment


Yes, yes, yes it is the final countdown to my 100-day adventure through the Andes! Time to get serious about packing – and my goal this time was to pack light. OK, it’s always my goal to pack light, but for three months of travel ranging from equatorial beaches to frigid mountains, it’s hard not to get carried away. On the other hand, I will need to carry all my possessions with me in my bus seat, so it’s also tempting to go the extreme no-luggage route. This 60 liter Osprey pack is still a bit bigger than what I would ideally bring, but I think it’s a decent compromise. Key items: Brooks Cascadia trail runners – appropriate for both running and hiking, iPod touch, headlamp, and pack towel. However much he wants to come though, I’m going to have to leave Marco at home. Too bad, kitty!

Two of my major goals for the trip are to make a lot of art and speak a lot of Spanish. Artists have a tendency to be hoarders (but I could use this!) and to be obsessed with supplies and materials, so it can be hard for us to pare down enough to fit into a backpack. I decided on small Moleskine sketchbooks, a Moleskine watercolor skechbook, a small set of watercolors and whatever pens, brushes and pencils I can fit in my tiny pencil case. For the Spanish, I’m trying to get most of my studying done ahead of time, using some self study materials from the library and a series of videos from Bien, Entonces Spanish. I’m taking a small phrasebook, to which I added other words and phases I think will be useful.

One thing I’m not taking with me is a guidebook – I just couldn’t picture dragging one around with me the whole time. Instead, I’m pinning interesting locations I read about on blogs and websites to a custom Google map – which can be seen here. This is risky, since I may not have internet the whole time, but I think I’ll be able to at least get an idea of what’s down the road if I plan a bit ahead. There’s so much to be excited for – Cotopaxi Volcano, Colca Canyon, Machu Picchu, the rainforest, the beach, Salar de Uyuni, the Chilean and Argentinean lakes district, and the list goes on and on. I am truly lucky to have this opportunity!



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