la paz - buenos aires: 19 year old, w, alone?
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Jun 16, 2012 10:19 PM Last Post By: aslukas
Jun 14, 2012 1:55 PM
la paz - buenos aires: 19 year old, w, alone?hi
I'm planning to make a trip from la paz to buenos aires, including uyuni, salar de uyuni, san pedro de atacama, salta, cordoba and finally buenos aires. now I know there are guided tours and my travel agency recommended this to me, as it would be difficult as a 19 year old woman alone (low spanish knowledge), especially in bolivia. but actually I don't like the fact of being bound to time, place and people..
what do you think? any advises, experiences? thanks a lot!
Edited by: readyfortakeoff
Jun 14, 2012 5:57 PM
1You should have 2-3 years experience with backpacking abroad (2-3x 4 weeks backpacking abroad on your own) before you start backpacking in South America, Africa or Asia. It's all about responsibility and to have at least some basic experience.
Backpacking abroad/in overseas on your own is a new dimension And not always easy going.
Apart from this South America is a top destination. And countries like Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia are bloody interesting, fun and really rewarding.
The most important when backpacking on your own abroad/in overseas.
1. Protection (personal safety, security of your equipment)
2. 100% awareness all the time
3. Always contact to the locals
4. Making friendships.
You will need some basic Spanish.
You will have a great and rewarding time. Now or in 2-3 years. You already can do the happy dance.
Jun 14, 2012 6:40 PM
2I agree it would help if you had some prior experience travelling. However, when I was in South America, I met quite a few backpackers under 20 who couldn't speak Spanish on their first trip away from home.
The main advantage of going on a tour is that everything is organised for you. But if you learn some key phrases in Spanish and you accept that it won't always be easy to communicate with locals, you will get by.
I went on my own and I couldn't speak any Spanish when I first got there. I found the places you've listed to be very safe.The hardest thing about South America is definitely the language barrier but it forces you to learn the language and I think it is a good life experience.
Jun 14, 2012 6:52 PM
3I don't agree. The hardest thing is for most people always not to hang around all the time only with other backpackers. And to travel all the time only groupie-style. Travelling is not about being on a rock concert. If you want to be a groupie, go to a rock concert. But don' travel.
So people who stick all the time for example only in youth hostels with other backpackers are not travelling. They only are socializing. If you only want to socialize you also can stay at home and do it in your local discotheque.
Travelling should be about indiviuality.
Jun 14, 2012 7:05 PM
4If you don't speak any Spanish then of course the language barrier is going to be the most difficult aspect of travelling.
I don't really understand what point you are trying to make. I agree that if you only stay within your hostel and party with other foreigners, then you are not really travelling.
But it depends on why you have chosen to travel - some people choose to go because they just want to have a good time. If you actually want to experience the country, then odds are you will make the most of your time.
Jun 14, 2012 7:13 PM
585% of backpackers younger than 26 years actually don't have really language problems when travelling abroad. Because they stick most of the time in youth hostels. With other young backpackers. And there they can speak English all the time.
They are interested in partying. In partying in the youth hostels. With other young backpackers. And they are not interested in exploring the country. And to get to know the locals.
Your experience obviously is not my experience, kmingnath.
Jun 14, 2012 7:16 PM
Jun 14, 2012 10:59 PM
7Contrary to the above, there is no right way or wrong way to travel, and no one who gets to define what it means to "really travel"--in South America, or anyplace.
OP, if you search the Thorntree forums you'll find your question asked repeatedly on all the branches. There are always some folks who answer that it's unsafe, impractical, unwise or impossible. There are often others--including women, some your age--who say they've done it, liked it, will do it again.
FWIW, I've never been a woman your age. However, I meet them traveling in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. Most are doing fine. Some have problems. If you're really worried, book a short tour to start, then see what you think.
Try not to take seriously anyone who tells you what "really traveling" means.
Hope that's helpful.
Jun 14, 2012 11:44 PM
8"Travelling" or "real travelling" means to be interested in the country, to have awareness, to be friendly and polite, to respect the locals, to speak at least few words of the local language, to keep a low profile, to dress appropiate, to support the local economy, to be merciful and to support the poor (5-10% of your travel budget), to travel on your own and always to be a good ambassador of your own country.
Otherwise you are not a "traveller" but a "tourist". Some people are superficial, and some people are not.
Jun 15, 2012 1:15 AM
Jun 15, 2012 1:45 AM
Jun 15, 2012 2:08 AM
11thank you already
real traveller or not: I will start out in cuzco, doing 4 weeks language course and another 4 weeks volunteer work. then I will travel to lake titicaca and from there to la paz, where I can meet a family I know. and there is the problem: maybe I can make myself useful, maybe not. if so, I could imagine to stay with them 1-4 weeks. but if I've already booked a tour, of course I'll inevitably have to move on on a specific date.. you don't know any tours one can book spontaneously?
Jun 15, 2012 6:50 PM
Jun 15, 2012 7:42 PM
13OP, there are tours all over South America which can be booked spontaneously. These are mostly the one-to-five day variety---in your case, Uyuni, Cuzco and Sacred Valley, Colca, Titicaca, etc. There are really only a few for which you need to plan in advance--e.g., the Inca Trail, or the longer overland tours.
I'm with #12, of course. Don't be put off by superior attitudes, and try not to take forum squabbles too seriously.
Hope that's helpful.
Jun 15, 2012 10:29 PM
14Sombody got something wrong There is nothing wrong with tourists. There is only something wrong with having the wrong attitude.
The average tourist supports the local economy and the locals way more and creates jobs than the so called average "traveller" who sticks most of the time only in youth hostels to socialize only with other backpackers and who tries to survive all the time on a minimum bugdet.
Mimimum budget and bugdet = not creating jobs for the locals.
2 posters in this thread sound as if they have never supported the poor while travelling. To fight "la pobreza".
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