Gary the gringo goes forth…..

In a few weeks’ time, I shall be heading to South America for nearly four months as I take a sabbatical from my job for what I hope to be an adventurous and enlightening experience.

I considered organising the trip myself, but after a couple of days of trying to put together an itinerary and already breaking out in a sweat from the stress, I decided to look online for help. It appeared in the form of STA Travel’s January sale! There was a trip from Quito in Ecuador to Buenos Aires in Argentina, taking in several other wondrous* countries along the 94 day journey which at first glance looked expensive, but with the post-Christmas discount applied it actually was comparable to organising the trip myself, so I put down the deposit and started dreaming of Patagonia, a part of the world I’ve always wanted to see given my interest in animals and nature.

*I thought it was spelled incorrectly too and missing an ‘e’, but apparently not.


My interest in natural history stems from spending school holidays with my wonderful grandparents who let me stay up to watch every nature documentary on TV. It’s no secret that David Attenborough is my ideal man. I also got my love of sport from Pops and Nanny Dot, who, whenever a sporting event clashed with a documentary, would wheel in the small television from the back room and plonk it on top of the main box in the lounge. We watched both programmes at the same time, with the sport commentary muted until the documentary had finished. Oh the youth of today have it so easy with their on-demand viewing.


Anyway, you can view the itinerary of my trip here. I’ll be touring with 12-16 other travellers, none of whom I will have met prior to landing in Quito. I’ve done a couple of other tours – in China, and sailing in Croatia, both of which were fun and which will no doubt be the subject of a blog post sometime soon – so I’m not too worried about getting along with strangers. Everyone is assigned jobs upon arriving at our destinations: setting up camp, collecting firewood, cooking etc and I’m really looking forward to getting back to nature and my hands dirty. If you’ve read my ‘Giethoorn‘ post you’ll know that I’m definitely not looking forward to the squat / latrine toilets.  In order to experience South America, one must suffer multiple, interminable bus / truck journeys, so I’m hoping the blog will help fill some of the time, that is once I stop looking out of the window at the grandeur and majesty of the landscape (and if you know where that line is from, it’s likely I already love you).


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