30 Days Backpacking in South America

Name: Sarah Sweeney

Occupation: Events management guru

W: getjealous.com/clarkyandsweeney

How we met: Sarah is the delightful younger sister of one of my besties, Catherine. I am constantly jealous of her. She’s got way more stamps in her passport than me and always manages to find work at the world’s coolest sporting events like Wimbledon, the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix and the Olympics.

She also boasts the unique distinction of having had a chicken carcass land in her lap at the footy after someone threw it off the second tier of the MCG. 🙂 And she takes brilliant photos while jumping in the air. Like this one.

Meet Sarah:

Inspired by Christie’s epic 30 Days for 30 Years …. here is a snapshot of lessons you will learn over 30 days of adventures on the road as a backpacker in South America.

Sorry folks, you will not be learning about adult diapers… (but if you want to read about it check out Christie’s blog Hospital 2.0 )

V’mos! Let’s go!

Exploring South America is an educational experience. Not only will you be taught about the amazing history, cultures, languages and lifestyles of the countries of this continent, you will learn a lot about yourself, both as a traveller, and as a person.

– You will learn that half an hour late is actually considered to be “on time”.

– You will learn to drink terrible, burnt Brazilian coffee from a plastic cup. And you will learn to like it.

– You will learn to eat at dodgy restaurants and to cook on a minimized budget. Two words: Tuna. Pasta.

– You will learn to haggle with locals to avoid paying a “gringo tax” because everything is more expensive for tourists. Even if the amount you are arguing over in Paraguay is 20c: It’s not about the money, it’s the principle.

– You will learn a lot (probably too much) about your travelling companions. Bowel movements, flatulence and hygiene levels will be the topic of many conversations.

– You will learn the best thing about suffering from a parasite in Bolivia, it that the hospital treatment and drugs are really really cheap.

– You will learn a new appreciation for the simple comforts of home: hot showers, fresh water and your own bed.

– You will learn that every taxi driver in Ecuador is crazy. I would recommend you to tighten your seatbelt, but don’t expect there to be one.

– You will learn the importance of mosquito repellant in the Colombian jungle. Those little suckers are vicious!

– You will learn to increase you patience as nothing works as promised. Customer service and efficiency are unknown terms.

– You will learn to understand Spanish as a nurse presents and sticks a needle in your arm in hospital.

– You will learn exactly what people mean when they describe Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls and Galapogas Islands as “breath-taking”.

– You will learn that the steak in Argentina is the best in the world. The best. In the world!

– You will learn to appreciate bike brakes and knee pads as you speed down “Death Road” in Bolivia.

– You will learn the same clothes you have worn for three days trekking in Peru are fine to wear again. They just need a rinse in the river.

– You will learn to listen to, laugh at and share stories over a wine, beer, caipirinha or pisco sour.

– You will learn to categorize the company of other travelers from all over the world. You will meet many great people, travel with some, continually run into others, and flat out avoid a few.

– You will learn that the experience of swimming with pink dolphins in the Amazon, is worth the risk of becoming a caiman’s (alligator’s) lunch.

– You will learn that the final destination was worth the 24/28/32 hour bus ride.

And the biggest lesson from 30 days on the road in South America?

No matter how many lessons you learn, no matter how many challenges you face, it is worth it for the ultimate feeling of freedom and adventure!!

  1. sweens says:

    well i do indeed love this post! so proud of my little sis! xx

  2. Cheryl Sweeney says:

    Great Blog Sarah. A summary of so many amazing experiences. very entertaining.

  3. Nana says:

    Wonderful experience

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