Have you ever gone to Machu Picchu? Have you seen the Nazca Lines? Have you been in Puno? Have you visited the Amazon or spend a day in the desert of Ica?
These are the questions that Carolina--a junior global affairs major from George Mason--is daily plagued with.
Plagued—because her answer is always a disconcerting, “No.”
She is asked these questions because she was born and raised in Peru, yet has never had the chance to see much of her country of heritage, let alone her continent. This is something Carolina is determined to change.
To rediscover her roots, she wants to embark on an exploration of not just Peru, but all of South America.
I want to do it the “right way”, which is from what I have heard, backpacking. I do not desire to have hotel reservations nor have a plan and know where I will be a week after I arrive there. My goal and desire is to go without a plan, and to go with the flow. I want to take a backpack with me with enough clothes to carry, my ID, a map and money, and get in a bus one day and just go to wherever the bus takes me. Go south, then north then west and then east. From Peru to Ecuador, from Venezuela to Brazil, from Colombia to Chile and then Argentina.
Everyone has their own “right way” of traveling, but Carolina’s mix of rugged transportation, touristic sightseeing, and cultural experimentation seems like an ideal mix to get as good a purchase as possible on a land and a people as large and heterogenous as South America.
I would like to camp in the mountains of Peru and the next day go to the Galapagos in Ecuador. I might feel like drinking wine in Chile and then go to Caracas in Venezuela. As I am doing this, I want to keep a blog of the activities I do during the day and where I am and post it at night for people to know what I am doing and where I am at, but never where I am heading, because I will have no clue either.
Whether or not her adventure will take place this summer isn’t clear, “but it is a dream that I am passionate about and puts a smile on my face every time I picture it happening.”
[Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons]