What would you do with a free journey world wide? Final yr, I gave away a visit world wide. After going by way of 1000’s of entries, ultimately, Heather was the winner. Her story was highly effective. She’s been on the street a bit of over a month now and it’s time to meet up with her and discover out about her journey, how the budgeting goes (is she doing $50 a day?), and the teachings realized.
Nomadic Matt: Heather, congrats on profitable! You’ve been in your journey for a couple of month. First, how did you’re feeling about profitable?
Heather: Thanks, Matt! Profitable was, in a phrase, surreal. I’ve by no means felt so dazed in my life. I’ve by no means gained a lot as a raffle prize earlier than, so I didn’t truly imagine you for a minimum of a strong week. I saved pondering it was a dream, and I used to be scared to inform individuals in case it was. My little sister requested me if I used to be positive it wasn’t a human-trafficking scheme!
General, I really feel so loved and supported by my friends and family and extremely, extraordinarily fortunate.
I’ve been attempting to think about what my mother would say if she have been right here to see this. I don’t have a lot of a body of reference, since I solely actually began touring after she handed. Nonetheless, I’m positive she can be shaking her rattling head at this journey! She would positively assume I’m loopy. And I do know she positively wouldn’t perceive leaving my secure job to do that. In the long run, although, I do know she wouldn’t attempt to cease me or dissuade me. She can be glad for me; it simply won’t have been her first response. “Cease speaking loopy” might need been the very first thing!
The place are you happening this journey?
I’m spending the following few months in South America. I initially deliberate to remain in Peru for 3 weeks, however I would find yourself staying for six as a result of there’s a lot I wish to see right here! I selected to spend so much of time in South America as a result of it’s been my dream to backpack right here for thus lengthy.
I additionally simply love the large range of life and cultures right here, and the interplay between indigenous cultures and Spanish colonialism. There are additionally so many wonderful websites (such because the Galápagos, the Amazon, Machu Picchu, and many others.). There may be a lot to be taught and soak in.
I depart for Lisbon on Could 2nd, after which I wish to see Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Kenya, and Tanzania earlier than heading on to Southeast Asia. It was actually laborious to decide on which nations to go to — my checklist was initially about 36 nations lengthy! However my mates talked me down and satisfied me that it was higher to go in depth than to maintain hopping round and tire myself out. I’ve the remainder of my life to go and see the remainder of the world.
The place have you ever been up to now?
I spent just a few weeks in Ecuador, together with the Galápagos, earlier than I moved on to Peru. I’m working my manner south and east, finally to Brazil.
The primary week I spent in Quito being hosted by friends of my family. I primarily rested and deliberate the journey, together with getting my visa to Brazil on the consulate there. I used to be so targeted on closing up my life in LA and getting out shortly that I had put barely any thought into my journey. I simply left. Taking the time to plan actually calmed me. My hosts have been actually gracious and took nice care of me.
After that, my sister got here down and we spent just a few days in Baños, Ecuador, which was implausible! I jumped off a bridge and we went canyoning down some waterfalls. We additionally did a day tour of the Amazon. I had combined emotions concerning the tour — I are inclined to hate deliberate excursions like that, and there was part of the day that included an indigenous present that felt compelled and disingenuous. It made me a bit of uncomfortable.
I additionally spent 10 days within the Galápagos, which was insanely lovely. It was laborious on the funds for positive, however the islands are so properly protected. Now I’m in Cajamarca within the north of Peru having fun with the Carnaval celebrations. It’s insanity. I’m actually not a lot of a partier. My host is so beneficiant and accommodating, so I’m actually having fun with my time right here.
How’s your day by day funds going? Any large surprises?
I’m positively working a deficit proper now, due to the journey to the Galápagos, however I knew that entering into. (Another bills too, comparable to paying for the visa to Brazil ($160), contributed to that as properly.) All the things is tremendous costly on the island. Final-minute cruises for 4 days are about $1,000, and eight-day cruises begin at about $1,700. I opted out of a cruise and determined to do the self-tour, which was a bit tougher however nonetheless an incredible expertise. Hostels on the island are mainly $20 in every single place, which is about twice as a lot as on the mainland. However I did discover some methods to save cash. As an example, I discovered a restaurant on Santa Cruz Island that served an awesome $5 lunch.
I’m feeling OK concerning the splurge, although, as a result of I’m saving in different methods. As an example, I purchased my flight out of South America to Europe on factors. That saved me about $700. I plan on shopping for most of my flights on factors. I’m additionally doing a variety of Couchsurfing in Peru (and Peru is reasonable total).
Not counting the Galápagos, within the first month, I spent about $600, together with my hostels, meals, actions. Hostels are typically costing me $10 an evening, and meals are not often greater than $10 every; lunch is often a lot much less. In Baños, for example, we met the proprietor of an arepas restaurant and simply ate lunch there day by day. Now, in Cajamarca, between Couchsurfing and a budget price of dwelling, I might be stunned if I’ve spent greater than $30 prior to now 5 days. Breakfast is $1-2, and we took a 30-minute journey bus exterior of town, which price 5 soles, or about $1.50, every.
Additionally, wanting again on my journal of bills, I might say I’m spending an excessive amount of on transportation. I might attribute this to taxis. After I’m out and about, typically individuals inform me it’s unsafe to stroll and I ought to take a taxi. Or, for example, after I was staying with my household mates in Quito, their home is fairly removed from town, so I might discover myself taking a taxi reasonably than stroll the 40 minutes to the bus cease. If I’m feeling not sure concerning the scenario I’m in (at night time or if I don’t see many solo walkers round), I take a taxi. So I believe I may in the reduction of or discover different methods to keep away from feeling unsafe.
Talking of security, how do you’re feeling about your security as a solo feminine traveler? Is South America secure?“
Sure, I typically really feel secure. I’ve solely had just a few issues. The caveat is that I actually don’t exit at night time that usually (I’m extra of a morning individual) and have a tendency to stay to the ‘secure’ areas. I get lots of people warning me to be further secure and that at all times freaks me out. I wish to be extra adventurous and I’m attempting to steadiness that want with the practicality of being secure.
The primary month is at all times an adjustment. How are you going to remain on funds sooner or later?
I’m an enormous planner, and taking the time to assume by way of my “prerequisites” actually helps. I’ve additionally discovered that not dashing and going gradual helps lower down bills. I’m attempting to take my time and stick with the actions I’ll actually get pleasure from. As an example, paying an admission to see a cathedral nearly by no means makes my checklist. A whole lot of guides on-line point out church buildings because the should sees. I ignore them utterly, until there’s something totally different about them. For instance, I paid for a tour in Lima to see the catacombs however, apart from that, I’d reasonably use the cash elsewhere.
What are a number of the classes you’ve realized up to now?
I’m studying methods to not stress about plans or cash, which was one thing my mother was at all times attempting to show me. I’m actually dwelling my dream, and it’s international to me to not have one thing or somebody to fret about. “When you’re gonna fear, don’t pray. When you’re gonna pray, don’t fear,” is what she would at all times say. I used to be by no means excellent at it (to her dismay), however I believe she can be proud of how I at the moment am. My stomach is at all times full and I’m seeing one thing new each few days. What extra may I ask for? Subsequent up, to work on my persistence…
What’s the worst factor that’s occurred? Do you assume it may have been prevented?
Sure! My cellphone acquired pickpocketed! It was utterly preventable. I used to be in Baños and I wanted a rain jacket as a result of it rains each different second there. I wasn’t used to the pockets and my cellphone was hanging out barely. I used to be simply utterly comfy — it’s very secure there, so I didn’t assume I needed to fear. I observed it was gone nearly instantly. I used to be pissed as a result of I simply paid off that cellphone in order that I may take it on the journey! Sigh…
Lastly, what’s been your favourite second up to now?
My favourite second is a tie between leaping off the bridge in Baños and snorkeling with sea lions and turtles within the Galápagos. Each moments have been surreal. I beloved leaping from the bridge as a result of I’ve at all times beloved heights. After I watched the video of my soar, it appeared to occur so shortly. However within the second, the autumn felt prefer it took eternally. It felt so lengthy that I forgot I used to be tethered and nearly felt like I used to be flying. I might do it a thousand extra instances.
The water within the Galapagos was so clear and exquisite and the animals have been so unafraid and curious. The prospect to look at up shut and work together with them was so lovely. I beloved feeling as if I used to be a part of a unique world. I simply need one million extra moments like that.
Within the following months, Heather will likely be navigating South America, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. As she retains going, we’re going to comply with alongside to get extra particulars about her journey, experiences, roadblocks, budgeting, and the whole lot in between! You may comply with her journeys on her weblog, Confidently Lost, in addition to on Instagram. She will even be sharing a few of her experiences right here!