Solo World Backpacking (Part 1 - Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, USA 2005/06)
London to Buenos Aires
15 Oct 2005
Saturday 15th October
Well, I’m finally here, sat on a plane bound for Madrid on the first leg of my solo, scary but exciting, world backpacking adventure starting in Argentina‘s capital Buenos Aires. Yes, I have a one way ticket to South America!
I’ve said all my goodbyes, some more memorable than others such as the ‘couple’ of glasses of red wine with Victoria that turned out to be five glasses resulting in a short nap in the ladies toilet and an escort home!! Oh well, that didn’t put me off as I said „hasta luego“ to my dear friend Betty over a glass of port. We had a lovely evening as always and it was sad saying goodbye.
I was also sad to leave Manchester, particularly saying goodbye to my aunt who I speak to nearly everyday. I’m sure I’ll find away to keep in touch with her on a fairly regular basis. Maybe I can encourage everybody to learn how to use the internet so that they can keep in touch with me - we’ll see.
I had a lovely meal with mum, dad and my brother last night. They travelled from Somerset to London to say their goodbyes. I will miss my brother Graham too, but hopefully we can keep in touch through letters and maybe both of us will feel less alone.
It has been great staying with my cousin since selling my flat to fund this long awaited dream. His home is so relaxed and just what I needed to plan all the last minute details.
I will also miss chatting to my friend Jimmy. He is has been great these last few months helping me move out of my flat and storing furniture. But, I shall be catching up with him in the states in six weeks because he also wants to visit Graceland and Nashville. So he asked if he could tag along. It will be great to see some of these places with somebody who shares the same interests and good to see a familiar face.
So, I am finally alone and have really started my adventure. I am scared, excited and at the same time looking forward to all the unknown. I decided to start my trip in South America and work my way west so that I end my trip in Europe.
When choosing which country to visit first, I decided on Argentina for two reasons. First of all, because I love the Argentine Tango, and what better place to see it than Argentina itself. More importantly, I had seen a volunteering programme that I wanted to get involved with, which also offered a language school option, as well as an online TEFL course, and a host family stay option. So, I decided that this would be the best way to start my trip, adapt to being away alone, and to learn some basic Spanish to help me on the way. So, I booked the four week programme and a one way ticket to Buenos Aires.
I started my online TEFL course six weeks ago; when I booked the programme, and I am now three quarters of the way through it. I can continue this along the way, and then hopefully, when completed, I can teach English when volunteering or possibly earn some pocket money as I travel.
After a very bumpy flight we landed in Madrid, but immediately had to board our on-going flight to Buenos Aires. Already I am feeling like ‚a fish out of water‚. Hardly anybody in the airport, or onboard was English or spoke English, so I had to quickly adopt my ‘I’ll get by mode’. I decided to take out my Spanish phrase book and tried to quickly swat up on my language skills. It didn’t help; I got embarrassed and nervous, and ended up with a coffee instead of tea because it was easier to pronounce properly.
The twelve hour flight seemed much longer. I continued to flick through my phrase book, and then tried to catch up on some of my TEFL study. Later, I listened to a little music, and when I finally felt exhausted, I made use of my new travel pillow and earplugs, and managed to get a couple of hours sleep.
Locations Visited: London , Madrid , Buenos Aires