Prep

The language

I use DuoLingo to learn Spanish and it’s a pretty nifty app. My vocabulary is growing and I think I sort of have the hang of conjugation.

I’m annoyed with Brazil and their Portuguese, so I’m leaving it for the last stretch of my trip.

I’ve ordered Lonely Planet’s Latin American Spanish Phrasebook, which will be airplane reading, and intend on practising my Spanish as much as I can out there. I’d love to be at least a little fluent by the time I get back.

Money

Urgh. Money! I’ve been saving for about a year; I sold my trombome; I picked up a couple of casual weekend jobs – hostess and bartender; I’m going to sell my car; get my flat deposit back; SARS’ annual cash injection; and just saving as much of my salary as I possibly can. My folks have been an incredible help too. They’re camping nerds so they have 80% of what I need: backpack, sleeping bag, raincoat, jacket, lock, plug adapter etc. Major score.

I came across a forum on Reddit by an American (deaf) couple who travelled through South America from north to south on US$5 a day and hey, if they can do it. They relied on the generosity of strangers, they took it really slow, camped (which is why I purchased a tent), lived frugally.

Luckily because of my dad, living frugally is in my blood. I am not that worried. (OK, I am a little worried.) Hopefully my writing can generate some cash while I’m out there. Bar jobs, toilet scrubbing – my eyes are open for opportunity.

Health

I got a crap load of vaccinations. Nine in all.

  • Yellow fever – this is a legal requirement
  • Hep A and B, because Pamela Anderson and Steven Tyler. Oh no she didn’t!
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (o.0)
  • Meningitis and something else I can’t decipher
  • Typhoid

Malaria is a thing and the prophylactic options are endless. But as a scuba diver there’s only one I can take, so that was a pretty simple decision. Got a prescription for 400 Doxitab tablets. Still not entirely sure how to use it. YOLO! And a broad-spectrum antibiotic because we’re brainwashed. May or may not fill out this prescription.

Research

I’ve been reading for months and months and months. There is so much to know about South America, so much to see. Every day I learn something new. I received great Insight Guides on Peru and Brazil and Lonely Planet: Argentina from my folks, and a friend lent me his copy of Lonely Planet’s South America on a Shoestring.

Pinterest has been handy, too. It works like a visual bookmark site, so whenever I find something I wanted to see I pin it to a country board. When I visit Pinterest and click on an image, it takes me back to the source site. For an idea of what’s been catching my attention, check out my profile (and start your own wishlist).

Planning

I’ve been using Google as a central repository for booking confirmations, budget planning, and route mapping. It’s wonderful, and means I can access it wherever I am.

How did people do this before the internet?

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