It is hard to believe that over a month ago I left the comforts of the Tri-State area to begin this journey. It both feels long removed yet quick to pass. Things have gone fairly smoothly, baring some altitude sickness, a few bouts of food poisoning, a stolen phone, and many dicey bus rides. My Spanish is much improved, far from conversational, but I can get by. I have learned she’ll becoming around the mountain on my harmonica, and connected with many amazing people from Peru and abroad. Below is a bit of a recap, the TL;DR version if you will, for those who can’t stomach my grammar and spelling.
Trip highlights thus far (in no particular order):
- Hiking the Santa Cruz Trek. The best hike of my life, I have already promised myself I will return to Huaraz one day and compete the Huayhuash circuit.
- Being a cargo ship tag-along down the Amazon. An unparalleled experience in my life, resulting in some great friends and and a view into a world I had no clue was there.
- Meeting other travelers, hearing their stories, and in the most awesome cases, finding mutual connections. It’s amazing how deep your network may go if you dig a little.
- Silly, but my first haircut abroad was a fun and hilarious experience.
- Learning/planning on the fly. Almost nothing has been premeditated on this trip, and utilizing insights from the traveler collective has lead me to some amazing and unexpected places well off the beaten path.
- The people of Peru. In general the willingness to assist a gringo who speaks little Spanish has been above and beyond.
- Getting some good swell in Lima. No travel is complete without surf and getting in the water a few times is hopefully only a precursor for what’s the come.
- Cities visited: 7
- Bus rides of 8+ hrs: 5 (anything shorter is just the norm and too common to count)
- Highest altitude reached: 4,750m (15,600')
- Avocados picked from the tree: 1 (will it ripen? TBD)
- Nights sleeping outside: 8
- Days surfed: 2
This was a hot topic before I left: how much did I save? How much would I spend? Etc... I’m not going to go into too much detail here (I need some material to write about in the future) but as of one month to the day (Nov 7th to Dec. 7th) I have spent a grand total of $863.10 or $28.77 a day. That is well under my target budget of $35 daily. That number includes every penny tracked, from a $.10 banana to accommodation, bus tickets, and the Yellow Fever vaccine. For perspective this is only slightly more than half (54% if you wanna get into it) a months rent in NYC. At my current burn rate, a year on the road would come in at just under $10,400.
Traveling on the cheap obviously requires some sacrifice, discipline, and flexibility, but it isn’t impossible. In my opinion it doesn’t hold you back, instead it encourages a more genuine and authentic experience. Maybe this budget is unsustainable, as countries like Chile and Argentina operate at a much higher cost of living than Peru and Bolivia. Balance is key and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
One month is in the books and I couldn’t be happier about what I’m doing, here’s to a great December! Happy holidays and safe travels everybody.