2 Month Reflections

October 9, 2009

Now that I've been traveling for two months, I'd like to share some observations that I've made on South America and myself.

- I have met travelers from over 30 countries thus far. The most common nationalities I've encountered: English, Australian, Dutch, German, French.

- I tend to gravitate towards befriending foreigners as opposed to Americans (No offense to my American friends)

- Americans are usually only found in the most touristy locations. I suspect this is because we generally take less vacation time than Western Europeans and therefore have less time to get off the heavily beaten track (myself excluded!)

 Village in Cuyabeno Reserve, Ecuador

- The work I put into learning Spanish is paying off tenfold. Being able to communicate with locals has allowed me to go beyond the average tourist experience.

- It's cheaper to travel comfortably in Ecuador and Perú than to live in Washington, DC. On average, I've paid about $10-12 a night for accommodations.

- Seeing new places, meeting new people, and having new experiences motivates me to keep on traveling. Before I started this trip I thought I might soon get tired of moving and want to settle in one place, but so far that hasn't happened.

Old City, Quito, Ecuador

- I'm a giant compared to Ecuadorians and Peruvians. I've literally formed scabs on the top of my head from hitting countless low passageways.

- There is good food, but you have to know where to find it. Food lovers might be disappointed when traveling here.

- People here love Latin Music. I love Latin Music. They love dancing. I love dancing. It's a great fit.

Traditional Dance, Cusco, Peru

- The standard of living in cities (at least in the central part) has been quite high. Nearly anything you can buy in the States, you can buy here.

- Every single hostel that I have stayed in has had free, high-speed, wireless internet. Bringing a laptop was a smart move.

- I have not seen more homeless people here than I see in any major US city.

Inca Wall in San Blas Barrio, Cusco, Peru

- Even though I'm traveling alone, I hardly ever feel lonely. Every day I make new friends with locals and other travelers.

- Getting prescription drugs here is as easy as walking up to your choice of one of many pharmacies, describing your symptoms, and paying a small amount for medication. It makes the system in the US seem horribly expensive and bureaucratic.

- It's essential to always carry small bills and coins. To put it in perspective, imagine if it were nearly impossible to pay for a short cab ride or buy a bottle of water with a $20 bill.

Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru

- For locals, being an English speaking tour guide is a respected, well-paid profession.

- I've gotten so used to seeing large buses driving on roads better suited to off-road vehicles, that it seems perfectly normal to me now.

- I'm almost becoming desensitized to amazing scenery.

Colca Canyon, Peru

- Generally, the people of Perú are extremely warm, open, and friendly. When I lived in Spain, I often found people to be colder until you got to know them better.

- To my pleasant surprise, local venders do not attempt to charge me an inflated "tourist price" nearly as often I thought they would.

- While a difficult transition at first, living out of a backpack has become second nature to me.

Tato Pancho Celebration, Yunguyo, Peru

- This has been a very rewarding experience for my personal growth. Traveling alone has pushed me to become a more open, social, and friendly person. I've come a long way from the shy and anxious youth that I used to be!

- Quitting my office job and ridding myself of nearly all of my possessions in order to make this trip was very scary at the time. It's turning out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made.


  1. Colca Canyon looks FANTASTIC.

    Not sure if I told you on FB or not, but I put a post up about this post. Rock on.



  2. niño ADAM:
    Ta bonita tu nueva publicación, que bueno que te este gustando el Peru, y definitivamente eres un Gigante en todas sus formas de xpression : ) Osadas aventuras niño Adam.

    Lucero : )

  3. Adam, amazing photography and journaling!! I pray God go before you and keep you safe. Sarah