I have to admit, when I came away I had several ideas about how I wanted to travel, and what I could be doing to make it less conventionally easy. I didn’t want easy. After having lived with these principles for a few months, do I still believe in them all?
The short answer is mostly yes.
1. No phones or laptops – I’m still really, really glad that I didn’t bring a phone, let alone a smartphone. I’ve been surprised with how many people here have, but I still think it’s a stupid idea. The pressure of losing it/having it stolen, along with the fact that you’re in a wonderful new place and all you want to do is check Facebook? Not for me. I can appreciate more how useful a laptop would be for planning purposes, but I’m still pretty glad I don’t have one. There is internet to be had everywhere, but at least this way I can choose when and for how long I want to use it. It’s been refreshing.
2. No fancy clothes – Still upholding this, although my wardrobe has expanded to include two more t-shirts. I’m living the fashion dream. But seriously, it’s just more stuff to weigh you down and is completely unecessary.
3. Speak Spanish – Sounds obvious, but so many people don’t make any effort at all. This is one thing I’m maybe most proud of, that I can now be understood in Spanish.
4. It’s not a country-wide pub crawl – I didn’t plan to drink much while I was away (expensive, unecessary, not what I came here to do) and although I have been out to bars, and even clubs, I still think it’s a complete waste to lurch from place to place, constantly smashed.
5. You don’t need a guidebook – When I arrived in South America, I found myself in places on the basis of recommendations, pages stolen from other people’s guidebooks, or pure chance. It was fun! It was also a whole lot less touristy. Now I’ve travelled with one as well, I can say that it does make things easier and especially finding accomodation is probably better. So maybe I would stick with ‘you don’t need one’, but that it can be nice to do so anyway.