Articles By admin

About admin

A Paediatric Nurse from Melbourne, Australia with a passion for travelling off the beaten track. [instalink username="sarah_theadventurer" width="350px" height="350px" image_size="small" bg_color="#2c6975"]

A life of luxury on the Greek Islands on a backpacker budget.

Oia

A life of luxury on the Greek Islands on a backpacker budget.

I know what you’re all thinking, the first time I venture in to the continent of Europe I head straight for the big one, the Greek islands. So many people have asked me how I afforded this trip without any debt or loans, but the trick is just so know how to budget, be willing to skimp on some luxuries, and trust me, you can afford to travel! Yes, even on those pristine Greek Islands! I realise that staying in hostels and strategically planning meals isn’t the kind of holiday everyone wants, but if even some of these tips help you budget your holiday, it leaves you with all the more cash for souvenirs and cocktails! I decided for my trip to visit Santorini, for the views, duh. And Milos, a lesser known island that is known for its tranquility and pristine beaches. No Mykonos or Ios for this traveler. Partly because I’m not particularly interested in partying which admittedly helps the wallet and partly because I wanted to go somewhere a little off the beaten track, which I found Milos certainly was, more on that later!

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Riding solo and arrival in Athens

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Riding solo and arrival in Athens

Here we go again, the international terminal of the airport. At country number 24 in 4 years I am no stranger to the process. I started traveling at the age of 21 and haven’t been able to stop. But here it was again, the butterflies in the pit of my stomach, am I really doing this? I couldn’t work out why I was so particularly nervous for this trip. Heading to Greece, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and wherever else I end up, this is the first time I have actually ventured in to traveling first world countries. I am so excited to meet up with my two best girlfriends for the Croatia leg of the trip, but my time in all the other countries will be on my lonesome. A lot of my travel in the past has been solo, but I was always meeting up with a tour or volunteer program. This is my first time legitimately backpacking it by myself, sure. But I had acutely become aware that here I was a woman, venturing out in to the big wide world without much of a plan and nothing but a backpack. These are things I had never really thought about on previous trips, or I probably had, but the amazing experiences that followed had wiped those memories clean.

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Backpacking Guide

Me and my backpack checking out some street art

Backpacking survival guide.

So whilst this trip hasn’t been the first impulsive, interesting destination venture I have ever attempted, at nearly a year it is definitely the longest. It is also my first time legitimately backpacking it. In the past when I’ve travelled by myself I was with a volunteer group or on a basic tour. Whilst these tours were amazing, and a perfect option for solo travelers they are hardly financially viable for long term trips. So this blog is not about how I literally survived the trip, that comes down to a little bit of luck and a lot of common sense, but about the best tips, tricks and resources I used this trip to afford it, be comfortable, enjoy myself and just make it a whole lot easier.

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Volunteering at Yana Cocha animal rescue, Ecuador

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Volunteering at YanaCocha animal rescue center.

The whole duration of our trip we had wanted to volunteer when we got to Ecuador to help with the ramifications following the 2016 earthquake. As our trip was nearing an end and we knew Ecuador was going to be our last country apart from transiting back home we started to enquire in to places but most programs were either finishing up or didn’t sound like they were actually doing much benefit. Skeptical of not wanting to waste our time or possibly do more harm than good with dodgy volunteer programs we were a little disheartened and unsure how to spend our now large amount of free time in Ecuador. A must-do of our South America trip, visiting the Amazon was also still yet to be ticked off the list so we were unsure of which direction to take. As travelling’s perfect fate would have it we met a Belgian in northern Peru who had just finished a few weeks volunteering at Yana Cocha animal refuge, and the more I talked to him about it, I quickly started to realise we could kill two birds with one stone, but actually we would be killing no birds but in fact protecting them.

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Let’s take a ride across the desert night. (Chile to Bolivia)

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Let’s take a ride.. Across the desert night. Chile to Bolivia.

After much research and anticipation we were about to set out on the leg of the trip I was most excited for, a 4wd trip between the San Pedro Atacama desert in Chile and Uyuni in Bolivia. The trip takes in spectacular parts of the desert including lagoons, mountain ranges and volcanoes and finishes on the world’s largest salt flats, Salar de Uyuni.

Chilling in Chile

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Chilling in Chile

Days Travelled: 226

Countries visited this trip: 11

Santiago:
After making our way across the stunning Andes mountains we arrived in the capital city they embrace, Santiago. We treated ourselves to an apartment to enjoy the city life and set off exploring. We did a four hour walking tour which wasn’t particularly interesting but we learnt the essentials: the best food and drink to try in Chile.

Don’t cry for me Argentina

Colored houses of Argentina

Don’t cry for me Argentina.

Argentina was a little bit of a surprise package for me. It wasn’t a country I knew much about and for a little while we were thinking about skipping it altogether once we realised it was the wrong time of year and we were far too underprepared to journey south to Patagonia. However, I’m very glad we didn’t. I found it to be a country of contrasts, rich culture and beautiful countryside. And although it wouldn’t be up there on my list of favorite countries I did not spend one day here where I wasn’t enjoying myself.

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You can depend on the kindness of strangers

Brendan and Andreas

You can always depend on the kindness of strangers.

Our 'Brasillian Family'

Our ‘Brasillian Family’

This post is less about our physical travel and more about all the feels. In the last few days, and in fact throughout our entire time in Latin America I have been continuously surprised by differences in culture that relate to every day kindnesses. Let me set the scene for what has got me thinking about all of this. In the past few weeks during my second time in Rio a few aspects of the trip I was really looking forward to haven’t worked out, and this combined with over 6 months on the road now, with our last trip being an exhausting 3 plane flights spanning 3 countries I didn’t realize how much I was craving some little touches from home. In Colombia we were 3 weeks without wifi and even without a bed so I was missing my friends and my soul was ready for some TLC. Something or someone in the universe was looking out for me because after leaving Rio we arrived in a place I couldn’t have manufactured more perfectly in my mind if I had tried myself.

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If you like Pina Coladas.. And sleeping in hammocks

Casa Grande Surf

Days travelled: 169

Countries Visited: 10

Day 1.
So here we are, an adventure within an adventure. After around 150 days travelling we had reached somewhat of a stalemate in our plans. We had arrived in Colombia, were initially challenged and to be honest a little underwhelmed with what we were experiencing but we still had some time to kill before heading to our next destination, Brazil. Now geographically Colombia and Brazil make sense to travel in succession, they are bordering nations. However, logistically its an absolute and expensive nightmare. But we had very important reason for veering from the classic gringo trail of heading up and down the west coast of South America.

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Time for the non-filtered bits

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Time for the non-filtered bits.

I feel like I need a nap. A like, 3 day long nap. Let me please preface this by saying that I realise how incredibly fortunate I am to have this opportunity to travel to even sit here and write this thing. I receive that message loud and clear in a humbling daily reminder that many of the people in the countries I am visiting will never even leave their home town, let alone their country. I am also very aware that my home town of Melbourne is wickedly freezing atm and everyone’s toes are teeny tiny icycles. So this blog does not come from a place of ungratefulness, it doesn’t even come from a place of unhappiness. It just comes from a place of tiredness. But how could I be this tired? How could I have the feeling that I need a holiday from my holiday?! But what kind of travel blogger would I be if I only allowed you all to see this experience through an Instagram filter (I don’t even use Instagram filters but that’s not the point).

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