Attempting to Prepare for South America
At first, four months in South America sounded like heaven.
But then we realized that it was going to be more like 3 1/2 months, since I want to be back in Indianapolis for Christmas.
And once you factor in the 5 weeks we’ll be spending in Buenos Aires at the beginning…well, now it’s more like just over 2 months.
Suddenly, it’s like we’ve got no time at all.
Jared and I always start the planning process for these trips by saying, “Let’s just take it as it comes.”
But there are certain things that you have to prepare for, like visas, vaccinations, weather, and proof of onward travel. We research what we need to do. I start reading travel blogs for ideas. We plot out potential itineraries. Before I know it, my brain is completely over-saturated with information and it shuts down.
Over the past month, the evolution of our South American trip has gone like this:
Buenos Aires – Peru – Ecuador – Colombia – Miami
Buenos Aires – Chile – Peru – Chicago
Buenos Aires – Uruguay – Chile – Peru – Chicago – Peru – Ecuador – Colombia – Central America
Buenos Aires – Uruguay – Bolivia – Peru – New York City
Buenos Aires – Bolivia – Peru – Ecuador – Chicago
We may as well just throw darts at a map of the continent. Or hold our fingers to a spinning globe to see where it stops. (I always loved doing that.)
This trip will definitely start in BA – flights are booked and it’s a long one, from Seoul to Hong Kong, then to BA via Johannesburg. Our time in Argentina’s love-it-or-hate-it (please let me love it) capital already feels busy, with a half-marathon, my birthday, and Spanish lessons kicking off within 2 weeks of our arrival.
Then it’s off to Rosario on October 5th to catch the Wallabies – Pumas rugby match. After that, I have absolutely no idea.
Beaches of Uruguay?
Wine tasting in Mendoza?
Salt flats in northwestern Argentina?
The Amazon in Bolivia?
Macchu Picchu in Peru?
The Galapagos Islands from Ecuador?
And then there’s the question of life after our visit to the US.
Apply for an Australian visa?
Go back to South America and continue traveling north?
Invest in a Central American hostel?
Pick a spot for the wedding?
For the first time in ten years, I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing in six months’ time.
Not a clue.
And trawling the internet isn’t helping. Advice from strangers isn’t helping. Thinking about it obsessively at all times isn’t helping. It’s actually making it unnecessarily complicated.
I know, I know – first world problems, right? “Where should I go for my dream holiday in South America? Which tropical location should I live in? Oh, my life is so hard.”
These are difficult decisions to make, but they’re a good kind of difficult. I’d much rather be in a position to choose from a handful of appealing options than a smattering of terrible ones. I’ve just got to keep a few things in mind:
1) This isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime trip. If we want to return to South America, we’ll make it happen. Slow travel is key.
2) If we make a choice and it doesn’t work out, we’ll make a new choice.
3) The last time I had no clue what to do next, I moved to Ireland. That worked out pretty well.
So I think we’ll stick to the original plan – to take it as it comes. Preparation is totally overrated.