…is see the world! Everything has been packed. All necessary travel and pre-travel arrangements have been made. I have everything I need, especially the travel jitters. All my errands have been run, bills have been paid, music has been downloaded, and I’ve checked my list twice to ensure that I have anything I will need. I am ready. All that remains in the travel itself!
Ten months is a long time when it comes to study abroad programs. Sure, there are longer programs but this is a pretty decent amount of time. I’ve thought long and hard about the places I would like to go and sites I would like to see. I’ve determined the “uncompromisables” and the “negotiables” as well as the “wish list” sites on a list.
Luckily for me, my Master’s Program is set up in such a way that allows me to travel very easily and cheaply. Here’s why: my classes are only on weekends and I only have one class at a time. So say, for a month I have just ONE class to focus on, which meets once a week for a long time. The sucky part about this is that these meetings are all day, like 8-10 hours. However, the rest of my week is free to study just one class and do whatever else I please. Also, travel is cheaper on weekdays, which is the time I’ll have free! Yay for saving money!
On the other hand, travel within the country and the whole continent for that matter is very pricey. Flights are super expensive but they save a lot of time. Busses are the most common form of travel, with sleeper bed busses to accommodate long journeys. But they take SO LONG to get anywhere! For some places, I will take a bus. But for others, I’m going to bite the bullet and purchase a plane ticket. And trains? Yeah, no, those aren’t really a thing in South America. I guess I’m spoiled by Europe’s efficient train systems and budget airlines like RyanAir.
There are places I most definitely will be seeing, so I thought I would share them with you now:
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: Since I will be living in Córdoba, Buenos Aires is an 8-hour ride away, akin to the drive between my hometown and New York City. Obviously, this metropolitan city is on my list of non-negotiable places to visit. I am very excited to see my friends I met in London there, and glad that I will be able to spend time with people who are familiar with the city. Most definitely, I will be coming to Buenos Aires a couple times throughout my stay.
- Santiago, Chile: This capital is very close to where I’ll be, about the same distance as to Buenos Aires (more or less). An hour and a half long flight, and I’m there. However, if I arrive by plane I have to pay that pesky $160 reciprocity fee. Grrr…
- Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil: These stunning falls are on the border of Argentina and Brazil. One of my roommates is coming down to visit me on her break and we are taking a trip up to see them!!! I’m super excited to see her and the falls!!
- Ushuaia, Argentina: This southern most city in the world is home to penguins and sea lions. Yes, PENGUINS. I’ll leave that there.
- Mendoza, Argentina: Here, I can go on bike and wine tours (or a biking wine tour) and sample some world class wine while venturing the gorgeous countryside. There is also the opportunity for hitting some ski slopes, something I’ve been eager to try my hand—er, legs at. Actually, I hope to try and learn how to snowboard! Or at least learn how not to fall on my face. I’ll take that too.
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: I shouldn’t even have to explain, here.
- La Paz, Bolivia: This beautiful capital of Bolivia boasts a rich history, beautifully handcrafted textiles and goods, magnificent scenery and wildlife, colorful towns and villages and wonderfully hardworking and kind people. Of course I want to go!
- Peru: Okay, so for this one, I was thinking of taking the whole month of their winter break in July (our summer), and travel around the country of Peru. Among the places I want to go are: ~Machu Picchu
~Lima (the capital)
~Aguas Calientes, home to some relaxing hot springs!
~The Nazca Lines: these are mysterious shapes etched into the earth that are pretty creepy. Seriously, Google Earth them.
~Inca Trail: this goes around the Machu Picchu ruins. I’m still a little wary, but I’m looking into doing this. You see, I’m only deathly TERRIFIED of cliffs and don’t want to risk plummeting to my death.
Here’s why this trail is one of the world’s greatest to hike!
Flights to Peru are worth a pretty penny, which is why I would make it worthwhile and spend a good month there exploring.
All right, so those are the top places that I most certainly want to see. Other places I am considering are the mountains in Chile and Argentina, the Atacama Desert, the Salt Flats, the beaches of Uruguay, and Asunción in Paraguay. I’ll have to wait and see what my class schedule looks like so I can start planning ahead and budget what’s a go and what’s a no.
Only one more day until departure!! I can’t wait!!