26.09.2012 - 30.09.2012
It's our last night in Santiago tonight, and actually our last night in South America, for this trip at least. We've loved it so much that we're already adding places we didn't have time and budget to do for 'next time'. In the last 5 and a half months, we have clocked up nearly 20,000 miles of travel from lift off in London Heathrow in April to September in sunny Santiago now. Pretty damn impressive. Considering that once we were in South America, the majority of our travel has been overland in buses of variable quality, I think we've really got under the skin of this part of the world.
I'm going to miss it, I really am. I was incredibly nervous about coming to South America, dealing with the risks of travelling in some very poor countries, having a small grasp of the language, figuring out a plan for where to sleep and how much to spend on the road. All that gave me more than a few sleepless nights to be honest, but be able to not only overcome those obstacles but to actually enjoy them, and to build the kind of memories that will be with me for the rest of my life is something I'll always be proud of.
I never thought I'd be making this kind of trip. I'd always wanted to, but was too scared but also too worried about things like my family disapproving and talking me out of it, or my career suffering. I couldn't have been more wrong. My mum is constantly googling the place names of where I've been and where I'm going and being fantastically supportive and excited for us both. She's asked my brother to buy a map of the world so she can pin up our route. She's telling all her friends and family back in Pakistan where we are and what we've been doing. I get excited talking to my mother, as she inspires me to do more.
So, nearly halfway through and it's also been hard. Apart from our wonderful support network of family and friends, there are a lot of things we miss about home. So, here's a quick list:
1. My wedding rings. I have a simple silver ring that I bought quite cheaply on etsy, but I miss my beautiful wedding and engagement rings.
2. My wardrobe. It's hard to feel feminine or pretty when you wear the same few items day in and day out. Hopefully in Thailand, I'll get a cheap dress that will help me feel summery and happy rather the very dull and shapeless Craghopper trousers...
3. My kitchen. I love the variety of eating out back home, but in South America, there's not much variety in vegetarian food when you eat out. I'm *really* looking forward to interesting food in Sydney and South East Asia, especially my favourite Thai food.
4. Being able to relax and just splurge out rather than keeping an eye on our budget all the time. Seeing as the whole trip is a treat, other than paying for exciting tours, we don't really have treats like back home of expensive meals, shopping for funky clothes and so on.
5. Feeling like we can actually have some time to just chill out and slob for a while without feeling like we're wasting valuable time. We're actually getting a bit better at this recently, but the first few months were all go, with no excuse of a 'weekend' to waste.
So, that's not too bad really. The main things I miss is hanging out with my friends. Facebook helps but it's no real substitute for being there in person. So there's a lot to look forward to in the next 6 months but also afterwards when we get home and can get together with our friends again. It's all good so far, and I hope it carries on that way for the next exciting half of our trip.