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.
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.