South American SIM Cards

How to Buy a SIM Card in South America

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Staying connected is not only convenient, but can also make travel safer. Wi-Fi is not always available so having a local SIM card or ‘chip’ is your best option. What most people don’t know is that buying a local SIM card in each country is usually much easier and cheaper than using an international service from your home country. 

This article is based on my experience using local SIM cards in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. All of the photography and videography in this article is my own – no stock photos, no posing, no filters!

Why Buy a SIM Card in South America?

Safety

Uber, Bogotá, Colombia
Uber, Bogotá, Colombia

So why should you buy a SIM card in South America? Why not just use wi-fi?

There are many reasons and the first is safety. If you’re out on the street or trying to get home from somewhere late at night and you have no signal, you’re left at the mercy of taxis. Depending on the country, this can be risky. Whereas if you have mobile connectivity, you can call an Uber which is much safer.

You will also get lost a lot when you are travelling, which is part of the fun of course! However, having access to google maps is really helpful. But I can just use ‘Maps.Me’ right? Yes you can, but being connected means that you have real time public transport information and you can google things on the go that you might want to find out about.

Having directions and being able to search new information when you need it reduces the amount of time that you are lost out on the street, and this keeps you safer.

Making Plans & Meeting People

Have you organised to meet someone at a specific place at a specific time? Arrived on time and no sign of your tour guide, your friend or your date… struggling to find a local place with wi-fi to check if they’re on the way or if you’re in the right place… only receive a message saying “sorry, que pena contigo, can’t make it” an hour later when you get back to your wi-fi zone… welcome to South America without a SIM card!

South America is like the ‘Anti-Europe’ in terms of reliability… last minute cancellations are common. For example in Colombia, it is part of their culture to be as polite as possible. A Colombian friend of mine told me that there’s a social cost to saying “no” and explained that it was an immature part of their culture.

This means that people almost always agree to plans, without even without even thinking about it and this can sometimes lead to them cancelling at the last minute! For someone from another culture this can be very hard to understand and can be really frustrating. 

In Brazil, I was waiting around on the beach to meet someone for about 45 minutes. After they arrived, they explained that arranging to meet at 8pm, doesn’t actually mean 8pm. It means sometime after. I can understand this as a cultural quirke if there’s some sort of rule where you add on say, 30 minutes, or 1 hour.

However, with no set rules, sometimes it’s just a complete guessing game. For someone from a culture with decent timekeeping, it makes no sense at all and can even feel disrespectful. But this is all part of trying to understand different cultures and is sometimes simplified into a simple phrase like ‘culture shock’, so try not to take these things personally.

It might seem like I’m rambling on but I’m just trying to save you a lot of time and frustration! Having a local SIM card won’t change culture but it will make it a bit easier and help you to deal with the last minute changes that are so common in South America.

Where to Buy a SIM Card in South America

You’ve just arrived in a new country and you don’t know anything. The easiest way to buy a SIM card is just to ask! In South America, a SIM card is called a ‘chip’ and in Brazil, it’s pronounced as ‘chipi’. Talk to the staff at your hotel or hostel and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

The biggest cell network service providers in South America are Claro and Movistar. I mostly used Claro although in Brazil I used TIM and in Bolivia I used Viva (after my Entel SIM didn’t seem to work!).

In some countries you can buy a SIM card on the street from official cell network vendors. In other countries you can buy a SIM card in a shop or a pharmacy whereas sometimes you need to go to a network provider’s official store. Below is a table showing where to buy a SIM card in each country in South America.

CountryWhere to Buy a SIM Card
BrazilCell Network Provider Store / Convenience Store / Supermarket / Pharmacy
ParaguayCell Network Provider Store / Convenience Store / Supermarket / On Street Kiosk
UruguayCell Network Provider Store / Convenience Store / Supermarket / On Street Kiosk
ArgentinaCell Network Provider Store / Convenience Store / Supermarket / On Street Kiosk / Pharmacy
ChileCell Network Provider Store / Convenience Store / Street Kiosk Supermarket / Pharmacy
BoliviaCell Network Provider Store
PeruCell Network Provider Store
EcuadorCell Network Provider Store
ColombiaCell Network Provider Store / Convenience Store / Supermarket / On Street Kiosk / Pharmacy

How Much Does a SIM Card Cost in South America

SIM Cards in South America cost between €1-5 ($1-5) to buy. The cost to top up a SIM Card with data is about €10 ($11) per month. For someone coming from Europe or the USA, this is good value for the convenience that it gives you. The table below shows the cost of buying a SIM card in countries across South America.

CountryCost of a SIM Card
Brazil10 BRL (€2 / $2.50)
Paraguay10,000 PYG (€1 / $1.50)
Uruguay50 UYU (€1 / $1.50)
Argentina130 ARS (€2 / $2.50)
Chile2,000 CLP (€2 / $2.50)
Bolivia10 CLP (€1.50 / $1.50)
Peru5 PEN (€1.50 / $1.50)
Ecuador5 USD (€4.50)
Colombia5,000 COP (€1.50 / $1.50)

How to Activate a SIM Card in South America

IMEI Registration, Cell Phone, Colombia
IMEI Registration, Cell Phone, Colombia

Sometimes you buy a SIM card in a shop and all you have to do is top up and go. However, in a few countries you need to provide an identity or passport number. Activation might need to be done in store, by text message or by phone. In Chile, you might need to provide a RUT (Chilean Identity Number)… I asked the owner of my hostel for help registering and he just entered his RUT number. In Colombia, your phone’s IMEI number needs to be registered although your network provider should do this for you automatically.

In Brazil, you might be asked for a CPF (Brazilian Identity Number) but as a tourist you won’t have this so you need to provide your passport number (I have read that only TIM and Claro can be set up without a CPF). I did this over the phone although I have no idea how I found an English speaking customer service agent on the TIM helpline… I guess that if you just keep speaking in poor quality Portuguese or in English, they’ll find the English speaking guy who deals with foreigners!

If you don’t speak any Portuguese, it’s probably easier to buy a SIM in an official network provider store and get it registered there at the same time. It’s always easier to get things done in person rather than by phone because you can point at things!

How to Top Up a Pre-Paid SIM Card in South America

MMI Message, Top Up, Cell Phone, Colombia
MMI Message, Top Up, Cell Phone, Colombia

Generally, you purchase an amount in any store and then you activate this top up amount by typing an MMI code into your phone. An MMI code is when you dial a series of symbols and numbers (for example, *611) and then receive options on screen. All SIM Cards that I used in South America were topped up by using MMI code. So just remember that even if you’ve paid for the top up, you might still need to activate a ‘plan’.

With pay as you go top ups, you might have a choice of several different plans, some with talk time and data together and some only with talk time or solely data, depending on what you need. In most cases, the big network providers provide free WhatsApp messaging (not including data for images and video) which is really great value. I always bought data only plans and just used WhatsApp to call people.

So if you are in a country for a month or less and you have free WhatsApp with your plan, you might only need to top up once! Generally, I only used data for things like Google Maps, Tripadvisor and Uber when I was out and about and these apps don’t use up too much data. So unless you’re streaming audio or video, you probably won’t need to top up too often.

How to Insert a South American SIM Card in your Cellphone

SIM Card Adapter Kit
SIM Card Adapter Kit

SIM cards come in different sizes; SIM, MicroSIM and NanoSIM. Don’t worry though, because an adapter can be used if your SIM card slot is too big. For example if you have a Micro SIM slot but the cell provider has given you a Nano SIM, you can use an adapter which is a Micro SIM shaped card with a slot to insert your Nano SIM. The photo above shows a SIM Card Adapter Kit which can be useful although SIM cards usually come in Nano size with a Micro adapter included.

All you need is a small object like a paperclip to open your SIM card slot and somewhere to store your other SIM card. You can buy SIM card kits and storage cases online and these are handy for keeping organised. You can also buy a dual SIM phone to have both your home SIM card and your local SIM card at once.

Although I had a dual SIM phone, I always left my home SIM card packed safely away in my bag because I didn’t want to lose it if my phone was lost or got stolen. If you use WhatsApp, you probably don’t need your home SIM card to keep in touch with friends and family at home. You can use your original WhatsApp number from home with your new SIM card.

The only times that I needed my home SIM card was when I had to receive a code for two factor authentication where my home phone number was registered as the contact number for my account. So for example, if you need to reset an online password for your home bank account, you might have difficulties if you don’t have your home SIM card available. These situations are rare, but very important, so that’s why I keep my home SIM in a safe place rather than in my phone at all times.

Unlock your Cellphone Before you Leave

Before you leave for your South American trip, make sure that you have an unlocked cellphone. If it’s not unlocked, it might be difficult to unlock it abroad and it might void your phone manufacturer’s warranty depending on the terms and conditions.

Street Art, Bogotá, Colombia

South America: Why this Continent is the Best Place in the World to Travel

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South America is the best continent to travel because of its incredible diversity of geography, climate, nature, culture, food and people. It is a unique region as it’s the only place in the world where the equator, the largest rainforest in the world and one of the highest mountain ranges in the world all meet. It’s a region with great value for money, it’s accessible, not too crowded and has a great variety of destinations to visit with lots to see and do! Also, the ability to travel around a whole continent with only two languages (Portuguese and Spanish) makes it just that bit easier to get to know the people!

This article is based on my visit to 9 countries across South America over a period of nearly 2 years. All of the photography and videography in this article is my own – no stock photos, no posing, no filters!

Geographical Diversity

Plaza, Palm Trees & Snow Capped Mountains, Arequipa, Peru
Plaza, Palm Trees & Snow Capped Mountains, Arequipa, Peru

The Equator

90% of South America is located south of the equator but the equator runs through three of the continent’s countries; Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. With a total length of 40,075 km, 3,380km or 8.43% of the equator runs through the continent of South America.

The Andes Mountain Range

Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile

At 7,000 km long, the Andes is the the longest mountain range in the world and stretches from the most southern point in the world at the bottom tip of Argentina all the way past the equator and up to the Caribbean Sea in Venezuela. It is the highest mountain range in the world outside Asia.

The Amazon Basin

The Amazon Basin is an area of 6.3 million km² that is drained by the Amazon river and covers about 40% of the South American continent. The Amazon covers parts of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana (so technically, the Amazon covers part of France!). Although the Nile in Africa is longer, the Amazon River is the largest river in the world by volume and has over a thousand tributaries. Most importantly, the region contains 10% of the world’s biodiversity and 15% of the world’s fresh water.

Meeting of Equator, Andes & Amazon

So what makes this continent so special and unique is that it’s the only place in the world where the equator, the largest rainforest in the world and one of the highest mountain ranges in the world, all meet. The highest point on the equator is situated at Volcán Cayambe in Ecuador and there are lots of other places throughout the continent where you can go from snow capped mountains to lush tropical rainforest in just a matter of hours, which is an incredible experience.

South America is Big

South America makes up 12% of the surface area of the earth and is bigger than most people realise. Historically, it’s been greatly misrepresented on maps, and even in modern maps the sizes of countries further away from the equator are overemphasised. When talking about travel destinations I sometimes hear people comparing South America with continents like Europe or regions like South-East Asia. I don’t believe that this is a fair comparison. To put this is perspective, South America has an area of 17.8 million km² with Brazil alone counting for 8.5 million km² of this. Europe has an area of 10.1 million km² (including the Russian part!) and South-East Asia has an area of 4.5 million km². Size matters in the context of travel because there is generally going to be more to see and do in a larger area and distances may also be longer which means that you will need to think about taking more time for this type of trip.

Climate Diversity

Huayna Potosí, La Paz, Bolivia
Huayna Potosí, La Paz, Bolivia
Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses, Maranhão, Brazil
Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses, Maranhão, Brazil

Between Oceans

Located between the two largest oceans on earth, this has a huge affect on climate, although Colombia and Chile are the only countries that have the pleasure of a coastline on both oceans. Some of the climate factors that are affected by the oceans are rainfall variability and ocean current temperatures. Generally, the sea on the Pacific coast to the west is cooler while the sea on the Atlantic coast to the east is warmer. The Andes Mountain range also acts as a rain barrier to the Pacific side of the continent in large areas of Chile and Peru, resulting in some of the driest areas on earth.

Microclimates

A huge number of microclimates are created by the meeting of the equator, the two largest oceans on earth, the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest. For example, Peru has 90 microclimates throughout the country and 30 of the world’s 32 climates. South America is home to the Atacama Desert in Chile which is the driest place in the world (after Antarctica’s Dry Valleys), and Tutunendo in Colombia which is the third wettest place on earth.

Balanced Climates

Whilst some areas in South America clearly have extreme climate conditions, this is not the case across the entire continent. In International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index, South American countries claimed positions 1 (Ecuador), 3 (Colombia) and 4 (Peru) for ‘Best Climate in the World’. This is because these places have a well balanced climate with lots of hours of natural sunlight each day and temperatures that are not too hot nor too cold. All of these countries are situated close to the equator and each country has a coastline, parts of the Andes, and sections of the Amazon within their borders.

Nature & Biodiversity

Tree, Amazon, Loreto, Peru
Tree, Amazon, Loreto, Peru

World's Most Biodiverse Regions

South America is home to many of the most biodiverse regions in the world and the most biodiverse place on earth (I’ve seen various articles sighting different locations to claim this accolade but most are in and around the Amazon region). There is a wealth of life here with thousands of species of plants and animals.

Plants

Several countries in South America contain more than 5,000 endemic plant species each. These unique plants provide us with food like Açaí, materials like rubber and are the basis for many forms of modern medicines.

Animals

Capybara & Caiman, las Pampas, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia
Capybara & Caiman, las Pampas, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

South America is known as the ‘bird continent’ with over 3,000 species of birds and many insects, spiders and crabs are found nowhere else on earth. The continent has a wide variety of animals and new species, mostly types of insects, are still being found in the Amazon region.

Cultural Diversity

Street Art, Bogotá, Colombia
Street Art, Bogotá, Colombia

Indigenous Population

There are large populations of indigenous people in the South American countries of Bolivia (62% of the population identify as indigenous), Peru (45% of the population identify as indigenous) and Ecuador amongst others.

Colonisation: Europeans & Africans

In 1492, Europeans arrived in South America. Many of the indiginous population died after the arrival of Europeans due to disease and war. Unlike many other instances of colonisation around the world, intercultural marriage was tolerated and sometimes even encouraged during the colonisation of South America. Africans were also brought to South America during the times of slavery.

Immigration

The Japanese in Brazil and Mennonites in Bolivia are just some of the examples of cultures that have chosen to call South America home and this makes for a great cultural melting pot with some of the most friendly people in the world.

Languages

Languages, Hostel, São Luis, Brazil
Languages, Hostel, São Luis, Brazil

Travel with Only 2 Languages

The most spoken languages are Portuguese and Spanish so if you can speak a little bit of both of these languages, you can have a great experience travelling. Portuguese is the most spoken language in South America but only by a tiny margin so it’s pretty much 50/50 between them. English, French and Dutch are also official languages of countries in South America and languages like German are also spoken in some parts of Brazil.

Native Languages

There are many native languages in South America, the most spoken ones being Quecua (8.9m), Guaraní (4.9m) and Aymara (2.8m). Generally, most speakers of these languages will also speak Spanish.

Food

Best Tropical Fruit in the World

Market, Arequipa, Peru
Market, Arequipa, Peru

Latin America has the best variety of tropical fruit in the world due to its incredible biodiversity so it is reasonable to assume that South America has an incredible variety to choose from. My personal favorites are Açaí and Guanábana. After spending almost 2 years in South America, I realised that I had never before enjoyed a real tropical fruit juice experience until I tasted the fresh ‘jugos naturales’!

Some of the Best Food in the World

Ceviche, Lima, Peru
Ceviche, Lima, Peru

Look no further than the Venezuelan Arepa, one of the best foods in the world in my opinion. Many foods known across the globe have originated in South America such as potatoes which were first cultivated in Peru by the incas. Peru also has famous dishes such as Ceviche (raw fish) and Cuyo (guinea pig). Also, coming from the Andean highlands, Quinoa is just one of many examples of a ‘superfood’ that originates in South America. Drink Coca tea to ease the effects of high altitude, or try Tacacá in Pará, Brazil, to experience your mouth going numb!

Value for Money

Guaranies, Paraguay
Guaranies, Paraguay

Good Value for Money

Only Uruguay (45th) and Chile (60th) are ranked in the top half of Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index of 136 countries around the world. All other South American countries feature in the lower half of the index. So most South American countries are relatively good value for money. Also, if you are travelling to South American countries and spending money earned in a country with a strong economy and currency, you will most likely benefit greatly from the exchange rate.

Accessible & Not Overcrowded

Relatively Low Visa Restrictions

Volleyball, La Balsa, Peru-Ecuador Border Crossing, Peru
Volleyball, La Balsa, Peru-Ecuador Border Crossing, Peru

In my case for Irish citizens (European Union), only Suriname requires a Visa and all other countries in South America can be explored without a visa for up to 90 days. Peru provides for up to 180 days without a visa. Other nationalities such as US and Canadian citizens may face higher visa restrictions and have to pay fees and go through timely visa application processes.

Big Airport Hubs

Skyline, Edifício Itália, São Paulo, Brazil
Skyline, Edifício Itália, São Paulo, Brazil

Although South America has a lot of incredibly inaccessible areas, there are many big cities that are large air transport hubs such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogotá and Santiago. Even if you haven’t been to South America before, you may have already used a flight route with a connection in one of these city airports.

Low Population Density

South America is ranked 4th out of the 6 inhabited continents in terms of population density. Also, as the second most urbanised region in the world, it has a very low population density outside cities and this means that there are huge areas of the continent with relatively low levels of population. This might sound contradictory, especially if you are reading this in a city like São Paulo, but once you leave the cities you will find masses of land and not many people around.

Not Many Tourists

With only 2.6% of the world’s international tourist visits, South America is still widely considered an ‘off the beaten track’ tourist destination. Only Africa has less tourists when all of the continents are compared in terms of the number of tourists per square kilometer. Europe has 30 times more tourists per square kilometer compared to South America!

Variety of Destinations

Iguazu Falls, Argentina & Brazil
Iguazu Falls, Argentina & Brazil

Incredible Natural Wonders

The Amazon Basin needs to be experienced first hand and is accessible from several countries including Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname & French Guyana. This region is home to Salto Ángel, the world’s tallest waterfall (yes, that wonderful place from the move ‘Up’ actually exists!), and Mt. Roraima in Venezuela. Further out, both Machu Picchu in Peru and The Death Road in Bolivia sit where the Andes mountain range meets the Amazon Basin.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

A high altitude plain called the Altiplano covering Bolivia, Peru and Chile, sits high in the Andes at 3,750 meters. If you can handle the high altitude, you can find Lake Titicaca, the Uyuni Salt Flats and the Atacama Desert. At lower levels in the Andes mountain range Colca Canyon close to Arequipa, Peru, and the Cocora Valley in Colombia are just some of the places within the Andes that enjoy beautiful landscapes.

Glacier Perito Moreno, El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina
Glacier Perito Moreno, El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina

At the southern end of the Andes is Patagonia. This is made up of Argentinian Patagonia and Chilean Patagonia. In this region you can see gigantic chunks of ice break off Glacier Perito Moreno and you can hike around national parks to see Los Torres Del Paine and Mt. Fitz Roy. A 3 day ferry through the Chilean fjords may also give you an opportunity to see whales and other forms of sea life.

Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil
Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil

South of the Amazon, the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands, sits at the centre of the continent. Iguazu Falls is situated just a bit further to the South East. To the East of the Amazon and the Pantanal lies the savanna of Brazil. Between the savanna and the coast you can hike in the scenic Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina. Further east you will find the Atlantic Forest which stretches along the coastal region from Natal in the North to Porto Alegre in the South.

Rafting, Villa Tunari, Bolivia
Rafting, Villa Tunari, Bolivia

Sandy dunes and some of the world’s best kitesurfing spots can be found in the north of Brazil at Jericoacoara and Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses. Sand dune boarding can also be done at Huacachina in Peru or at San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. If you like rafting, you can do this in Baños, Ecuador or Villa Tunari, Bolivia. The beaches of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona in Colombia are overlooked by the highest coastal mountains in the world at Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Prainha, Itacaré, Brazil
Prainha, Itacaré, Brazil

For a chilled out beach vibe, check out the North-East of Brazil such as Praia dos Carneiros in the state of Pernambuco or Morro de Sao Paulo and Itacaré in the state of Bahia. You can even find a beach paradise in the middle of the Amazon (read more about that here). Some of the world’s most famous islands skirt the continent with the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador and Easter Island in Chile. Other islands like Fernando de Noronha in Brazil and Los Roques in Venezuela are home to some of the best beaches in the world.

Iconic Man-Made Landmarks

The Lost City, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia
The Lost City, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

Discover what remains of ancient cultures from Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines in Peru to the Lost City in Colombia. Many more ruins and ancient burial sites are scattered throughout the Andes. See where nature meets man with cultivation of grapes for wine in Argentina and Chile to the growing of coffee beans in Brazil and Colombia.

Churches & Hills, Ouro Preto, Brazil
Churches & Hills, Ouro Preto, Brazil

There is no shortage of colonial era architecture, churches and plazas throughout South America. These can be found all over the continent from Ouro Preto in Brazil to the Centros Historicos in Quito and Cusco. Other monuments and buildings have also been built such as the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro to the lesser known but fairy-tale-like Santuario de Las Lajas in Colombia.

Vibrant Cities

Sunset, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sunset, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Climb the steep peaks that look over Rio de Janeiro for some of the most incredible city views in the world or take a cable car to an altitude of 4,000 meters in La Paz. If you like big cities, São Paulo, Brazil, with a metro area population of 21.5 million, is one of the largest cities in the world and has a great mix of cultures and things to do. There are also many other great cities such as Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogotá, Santiago, Cuzco and Medellín that are there to be explored. The cities of the Amazon like Manaus, Iquitos and Belém also have something special about them in their urban wildness.

The People & the Culture

Carnaval, Ouro Preto, Brazil
Carnaval, Ouro Preto, Brazil

A Culture of Enjoying Life

Most cultures across the continent like to be social and enjoy life. People are chatty, have a good sense of humour and are probably some of the most ‘touchy’ in the world, expressing themselves with more physical contact compared to most other cultures. They also have a very family orientated culture and spend a lot of time with family and at family events. I found South Americans to be very friendly and interesting people. If you want to get out and meet the people, there is no shortage of cultural events, the most famous being Carnaval.

A Culture of Dance

Tango, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tango, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dancing is something that nearly everyone in South America does whether at a family event, a barbeque or at a bar. Where I’m from in Europe the question is “Do you dance?” whereas in South America the question is “What do you dance?”. There are lots of types of dance from Salsa to Samba to Merengue amongst others and you will have a great time trying to master them!

Reflecting on My Trip

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This article is based on my visit to 9 countries across South America over a period of nearly 2 years. All of the photography and videography in this article is my own – no stock photos, no posing, no filters!

Better Late Than Never

Two years ago to the day, I left Ireland to travel around South America. I was 31 at the time.

I had always liked travelling and seeing different places but I never really thought of the possibility of going to South America. Looking back now, I think that it’s because I just didn’t know any better. Meeting so many younger people travelling around South America or doing University exchanges between Europe and places like Brazil made me think…why didn’t I do that?!… or why didn’t I do a big trip when I was in my early twenties?! Anyway, we are where we are and I’m happy that I did it later rather than never. 

Travel Inspiration

In 2010 myself and some friends went on a 2 week trip through Eastern Europe starting in The Czech Republic, going through Austria, visiting Slovakia and ending up in Hungary. I had been away before and had spent one Summer in Canada (2007) and another one in the USA (2008) but it was my first real backpacking trip where I experienced the feeling of moving from place to place in such a short period of time. It was just so much fun and really got me thinking about doing more travelling.

I also visited other countries outside Europe such as México (2012), Brazil (2013 & 2015) and Indonesia (2016) and had amazing experiences on these trips. I think that my experiences across all of these places was what inspired me the most to go travelling long term.

The Urge to Travel

Over the years, reading blogs and watching YouTube vlogs of long-term travellers steadily fed my urge to travel. One of my favourite things to watch was ‘Departures’, a Canadian Documentary Series which follows the travels of two guys visiting ‘off the beaten track’ places all over the world.

Taking the Jump

Only after years of thinking about it did I decide to make the jump. It probably took me about 7 years from fist thoughts in 2010 to final decision in 2017 but I think that I only really started to think seriously about it a year or two before I left.

Reflecting on My Trip

So reflecting on the actual trip itself, it’s hard to sum it up in just a few words. I visited a lot of faraway places, saw incredible landscapes, met lots of amazing people, had an immersive language experience, tried lots of tasty food, experienced lots of different cultures and became a more independent person.

A lot of people don’t choose to do what I’ve done and because of that, I feel that I’ve done something really special and it’s motivating to know that you can achieve anything you want if you really want to. Also, I’m aware that most people don’t have the opportunity to do what I’ve done, and for that, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity and I’m grateful to my family and friends for helping me to get to this point.