Solo Travel… Not So Much

Before I get into any posts really talking about my trip to South America, I figured I should start with some background info to as how this trip came about.

I was scheduled to get my wisdom teeth out January 15th, 2016 and I was feeling anxious and a little nervous about the whole thing (I have never even had a cavity so this was new territory for me!). I spent the days leading up to my dental surgery trying to get as much work/school work done as possible as I was going to be out commission for a few days.

A few days before my procedure I spent the morning at Julien’s bakery doing some school work, as I normally did on the days I didn’t have class. While taking a few numerous study breaks, I happened to end up on the Aeroplan website and noticed that I had accumulated a substantial number of points. Combine that with the “On this day” feature on Facebook and I realized that it was exactly  one year since I had booked my flight to South East Asia. It was in this moment that I decided I was going to book a flight. I had the travel bug, as I always do, and I was suddenly overcome with the urge to go somewhere, anywhere. No, that is a lie. I knew where I wanted to go. I wanted to go to South America.

I used the logic (I always feel the need to justify my trips, don’t ask me why) that I would be finished school in August, and what better way to celebrate being done four and a half years of university than going on a solo trip to South America.

I spent the next hour and a half on the Aeroplan website trying to figure out which country to fly into. Using points means I need to be strategic in where I fly in and out of as some places are more expensive. After playing around with a few dates and a few countries, I had booked my flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador for the low, low price 25,000 Aeroplan points and $82.00 in taxes.

After I had booked my flight I immediately started to do research on South America ( I know, I was suppose to be doing schoolwork), as I really had no knowledge on it. I just knew it was somewhere I wanted to someday visit. I spent the next few hours figuring out a few things like hostels, safe places to travel, modes of transportation, etc so that when I told my parents what I was doing I could pretend I knew what I was doing.

10 weeks in South America. That was my plan. I was going to visit every country in South America in only 10 weeks, on my own.

As months went on I didn’t think too much of my trip, as I had booked it so far in advance. But as the trip started to creep up on me I was starting to realize that going to South America for 10 weeks on the little bit of money I had just wasn’t realistic. Thinking I could see every country in South America in that time was even more unrealistic, as South America is a HUGE continent.

Around the same time that I decided I couldn’t go away for as long as I was originally planning, a Facebook friend of mine made a Facebook post looking for someone to go to Thailand with her. Immediately I sent her a message and told her about my travel plans to South America, and I told her that she was more than welcome to join me if she was interested.

You know those people that you have on Facebook that you about through a friend of a friend of a friend? Well that’s what Emily was to me. Her ex and my ex were friends, and we had mutual friends, and we would see each other around town, but we had never had a real conversation, or spent anytime together. We knew essentially nothing about each other and I had just invited her to join me on my trip to South America… What was I thinking?

A couple weeks later, April 12th, 2016, to be exact,  Emily booked her flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and we booked a return flight home for exactly 5 weeks later. Just like that a girl I had never spent any time with was joining me on a five week adventure to South America.

Stay tuned for future posts in my South America mini series to see if Emily and I both survived five weeks together!

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