Back in March, in the heady warmth of the Alpine sunshine we roughed out plans for a big trip.
It’s been 3 years since my last extended trip, a winter in Eastern Europe and 6 years since a long distance trip, living and working in New Zealand for two years, followed by 3 months in South East Asia from Singapore to Thailand on the way home.
Given I’d been to Australia/NZ and parts of Asia, we narrowed the search down to Africa and South America.
After browsing The Guardian for inspiration, I stumbled across this article about Buenos Aires, and at the bottom, Norwegian had just begun flying direct from Gatwick to the Argentine capital. A quick check of the tickets we found one-way tickets for £350. After dithering overnight on the immediacy and rashness of the decision – we threw caution to the wind and booked the tickets.
Originally, the plan was to stay a number of months in South America, touring around or potentially doing Workaway somewhere, but the more we thought about it, the more we fancied staying more laser-focused on one or two countries. After further reading, we settled on travelling through Argentina and Chile.
On previous long distance trips, I kept my plans pretty open, booking accommodation a few days before it was required, keeping the door open in case a conversation in a hostel led me off to a place I hadn’t heard of before.
I adore to travel like this, but part of me feels I often spend a lot of time in the hostel researching my next place and feeling slightly on edge at not knowing where I will be from week to week.
Given that it’s going to be the height of the summer season in Argentina and Chile, we’ve decided to book accommodation and transport for the first 6 weeks. Plus, we want to spend around 3 weeks in Patagonia and undertake the W Trek, which requires booking ahead to secure the campsites.
I’m a little nervous things may go tits up from illness or delays – but that’s a chance we’ve decided to take. If it goes wrong, it goes wrong – and that’s just travel for you!
I remember meeting an American girl in Eastern Europe who had a strict spreadsheet of where we were going around Europe – and vowed not to travel in such a way. But maybe it’s hitting my 30’s, or maybe I’m just keen to blag decent value hostels, but I’m feeling pretty alright about having a spreadsheet of my own this time!
So, here is the peek behind my spreadsheet…
Arrive into Buenos Aires for a few nights in the city
Fly down to Ushuaia, the very tip of Argentina – where the passenger ferries go to Antartica! (Although our budget doesn’t stretch that far!!). Couple of days down here to explore Tierra Del Fuego National Park
Long distance bus up to Punta Arenas and then Puerto Natales, our base to prepare for the W Trek
5 days camping in Torres Del Paine on the W Trek – so excited for this one!
El Calafate for Puerto Morino Glacier
El Chalten where we will be spending Christmas
Overnight bus up to Bariloche, the Lake District of Patagonia for New Year
Long distance bus up to Mendoza – the wine capital of Argentina – looking forward to vineyard tours!
Over the Andes to Santiago where there is a month-long music/theatre festival being held
Valparaiso for hills and street art
Down to Pilchemu where we will be staying at a surf hostel for a couple of days R and R (and maybe some waves for B)
Back up to Santiago for a flight up to Calama (this cost us £25 with Sky Air !!) and up to San Pedro de Atacama where we plan to hang out in the desert for a good few days touring and star gazing.
Beyond this, our plans are currently open – with a rough plan of heading back into Argentina to Salta and the Jiju area.
We are flying out of Buenos Aires in mid-February, and may pop into Urguary for a couple of days if we have time.
If you have been to Chile, Argentina and Patagonia and have any tips on must-sees, where to eat drink and hike – hit me up!
I’m not sure how much I will blog whilst travelling – depends on time and inclination but I plan to keep a rough diary over on Facebook and Instagram Stories where I will be saving each region to my highlights section – so hit follow if you would like to keep up with the adventure!