Tag Archives: South America

Home sweet home

24 Sep

“Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more beautiful and strange than anything I had hoped for or imagined—how is it that this safe return brings such regret?”

~ Peter Mathiesson

I’ve been back in Australia for more than a month and write final blog post has been on my ‘to do’ list ever since I landed at Sydney airport.

Time flies when you’re having fun, but apparently it also flies when you’re settling back into your normal routine. I’m back at work, back at the gym, back dragon boating, back at Spanish class and back to my usual busy social life.

Blogging has naturally taken a back seat. I’m still debating whether or not I have the time or the inclination to retrospectively blog about my South American travels, or whether this will be the final post for Honduran Hiatus.

Another item on the ‘to do’ list is upload and organise trip photos. Sorting through my photos may well be the inspiration I need to start waxing lyrical about the last two months of what I’m affectionately describing as a trip of a lifetime.

Watch this space.

In the meantime, there’s always the next trip of a lifetime to start planning…

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming…

2 Jul

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

~ Oscar Wilde

While I’m backpacking around South America for seven weeks, I probably won’t have regular or reliable access to the internet. This means my blog posts may become few and far between.

What I imagine I’ll do is continue to write regular posts offline, then publish them when I have next have internet access, or (worst case scenario) when I return home to Australia.

So what I guess I’m saying is stay tuned for tales from South America, but don’t hold your breath. They may take a little while to actually appear on the blog.

I fly out of Honduras at 5pm today. I can’t believe the Honduran portion of my trip has come to end. Time has certainly flown.

Look out South America here I come!

A pre-emptive strike: Final verdict

27 Jun

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”

~ W. C. Fields

A few weeks ago I officially resigned from my efforts to keep fit and eat healthy in Honduras. Declaring myself a lost cause, I relaxed all my standards and started eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Using “I’ve put on weight” as an excuse to relax your diet is not the smartest move, but I’ve decided to focus on weight loss when I’m back in the Land of Oz, not while travelling.

In How I Met Your Mother, one of Marshall’s five reasons for wearing a nightshirt is: “no elastic waistband leaving its judgmental pink teeth marks around my Thanksgiving belly.”

Oh, how I emphasize with this! While I’m still able to fit into my pants, by the end of the day I can’t wait to get home so I can take them off and start breathing again.

This week, believe it or not, both my regular taxi drivers made comments about my weight.

M, who I hadn’t seen in more than a month, declared as I entered his cab on Tuesday, “Wow, you can see that you’ve really liked Honduran food!”

And yesterday JC said to me, “You’re going to return home a little fat, aren’t you?” This sounds harsh in English, but said in Spanish it’s not quite as offensive. It still stung a little though.

Not as much as being asked if I was pregnant (who does that?) but it’s never nice to be reminded you’ve porked up.

Despite the weight gain, I wouldn’t class my pre-emptive strike program as a failure.

My main aim, if you recall, was to lose enough weight before I head to Honduras that it will offset the extra padding I expect to acquire while over there.

And I’ve been successful in that respect. Late last year I was about 10 kilos over weight, which I lost before leaving Australia, but then put on again in Honduras.

If I hadn’t conducted my pre-emptive strike on rice and beans I would have arrived in Honduras 10 kilos overweight, put on another 10 kilos and returned home 20 kilos heavier than I should be.

I’m much happier with the prospect of losing 10 kilos once back home than 20. Hugely happier. (Pardon the pun.)

Plus I’m harboring the (slightly delusional?) hope that during my 7 weeks of backpacking through South America, all the walking will miraculously melt away my extra kilos. Never mind all the delicious South American food I’ll be eating.

Stranger things have happened, right? I like to be an optimist. 🙂

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find some chilenas de leche. Now that I’ve reached my final week in Honduras, I’ve decided to remove my self-imposed ban.

¡Buen provecho!

Related posts:

Stairway to trim, taut and terrific

A pre-emptive strike: Final update

A pre-emptive strike: Update 2

A pre-emptive strike: Update 1

A pre-emptive strike on rice and beans

On the home stretch (almost)

21 Jun

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on a foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

I have a week and a half left in Honduras. As the old proverb goes, time flies when you’re having fun. And my 132 days here have certainly flown.

I’ve started thinking about what I’ll need to do and what I want to do when I get back home. Things like buying a new car, finding a place to live, and finally sorting through my boxes of belongings stored at dad’s place.

I’ll need to start back at work, start back at the gym, and start paddling again with my beloved Diamond Phoenix dragon boat club.

I’ve been daydreaming about (and drooling over) what foods I’ll eat first (lamb chops, dad’s spare ribs, and pavlova) and which favourite restaurants I’ll visit (Shanghai Dumpling Café, Sammy’s Kitchen, and The Artisan).

As I was mentally compiling ‘to do’ lists in my head I suddenly realised I’m not quite on the home stretch yet. While my time in Honduras is ending I still have seven weeks of travel ahead of me.

Seven weeks! That’s a really long holiday. It’s definitely going to be worth it though. Vic and I have planned what I’m sure will be the trip of a lifetime.

Vic’s flight from Mexico to Ecuador and my flight from Honduras both transit via El Salvador, so we’ll be meeting up in the San Salvador airport. From there the rough outline of our trip is as follows:

Ecuador: Quito, Atacames (where my World Vision sponsor child lives), Otavalo, Mindo, Galapagos Islands, and Cuenca

Peru: Lima, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu

Argentina: Buenos Aires and Iguassu Falls

Brazil: Iguassu Falls, Rio de Janeiro (where I’ll say goodbye to Vic), Blumenau (my host-family’s town), and São Paulo

We haven’t planned everything down to the last detail (unusual for me) but have a holiday mix of pre-organised tours and choose-your-own-adventure days.

I think this will work well; provided my obsessive compulsive side can cope without always having a plan.

I have mixed feelings at the moment—I’m sad to be leaving Honduras but also really, really excited about my upcoming South American adventure.

South America or bust!

7 Nov

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
~ Dr. Seuss

Over the past few weeks Vic and I have been researching trip options with gusto. Vic being the BFF I  mentioned earlier who is joining me for the backpacking segment of my big adventure.

During one of the first (of many) times we have caught up to discuss the trip, she bought the Peru Lonely Planet guide and I bought the one for Ecuador. We then went through and highlighted the places we’d like to go in our respective books before swapping and repeating the process.

(There was some momentary confusion about what our highlighting protocol should be, but we quickly moved past that and got on with the job of planning the trip of a lifetime!)

Vic and I both have similar approaches to travel, in that we would prefer to spend a little bit longer in fewer locations, rather than rush from place to place.

As tempting as it is to keep adding and adding to our itinerary, we have settled on spending nearly two weeks in Ecuador, one week in the Galapagos Islands, a little more than two weeks in Peru, and then, following a tour of the Iguassu Falls, heading to Rio de Janeiro for a couple of days.

It’s there we will say our goodbyes and Vic will continue on to Europe. I will spend the next week visiting my Brazilian host family, and then it will be time for me to head back home to Australia.

I’ll also be spending a week in Mexico on my way to Honduras so that I can catch up with friends in Puebla. All up I’m looking at about eight weeks of independent travel before and after my AFS Volunteer Abroad program.

This is a little more than the two weeks I had originally envisioned, but I’ve never been one to do things by halves. In for a penny, in for a pound. Or in for eleventy-one million pajillion pounds as it may be in this case!

But a trip like this is worth every penny. I am incredibly excited about all the wonderful adventures I’m sure Vic and I will have together.

I think we’ll make great travel companions. We’ve worked and lived together previously and, while some may disagree, I’d say we’re both pretty easy going. If there are any differences of opinion I’m sure we’ll be able to sort them out without resorting to professional mediation.

Em and Vic

Look at those happy faces. They would never get tired and grumpy with each other. Right, Vic?  😉