Hola mis amigos! I’m about to embark on a 9 day adventure with some of my best friends from high school to Chile. We’ve basically been planning this since the summer, and our proposed itinerary is as follows:
Dec 27th: Fly overnight to Chile
Dec 28-31: Explore Santiago
Jan 1-2: Fly to La Serena, then taxi to Pisco d’Elqui, staying one night in the unique Elqui Domos hotel (our treat). Fly back to Santiago on the 2nd.
Jan 3-5: Valparaiso and Vina del Mar
Jan 5: Fly back to the US
Everything should be pretty smooth sailing, except one tiny detail: none of us actually know how to speak Spanish. Besides the fact that we are all asian and will definitely stick out in South America, not being able to speak Spanish will be an adventure for sure 😛 We originally were a group of 4 (with one native Spanish speaker), but circumstances (aka a mean boss) resulted in our 4th having to drop out last minute. After the initial sadness for our friend and panic about being kidnapped/robbed/lost in Chile, my friends and I have decided to use this as motivation to force ourselves to learn Spanish on our own!
For those interested, I have been using two apps to teach myself Spanish: Duolingo and Memrise. Both have web-based AND mobile platforms and have been great so far in helping me with basic verb conjugations and vocab. I realized about 4 lessons in that I needed more travel-oriented vocab though, so I also downloaded Tourist Language Learn and Speak for Android and an offline Spanish English Dictionary. Per recommendations from my brother, the last app I downloaded to prepare for the trip was GPS Navigation & Maps +offline (aka Forevermap) by skobbler GmbH ($1.38 via the Google Play store and free on iTunes)– an app that allows you to purchase and download complete maps of countries or states for viewing OFFLINE. As I don’t plan on getting a data plan in Chile and have no idea what the availability of WiFi will be, anything offline will be gold.
I have decided to try posting most of my photos on this blog for this trip, contrary to mostly posting them onto facebook as I did before. This is because facebook 1. destroys photo quality and 2. doesn’t let you adequately tell a story with photos. So hopefully this goes well! Credit where credit is due, part of my inspiration for documenting this trip via the blog has been Calvin Sun, over at monsoondiaries.com. Calvin is an epic traveler, photographer and blogger and his travels have been adding IMMENSELY to my wanderlust. He not only has traveled to over 40 countries in the course of 3 years (while in med school…what?!) and keeps super helpful tips and iternaries on his blog, he takes STUNNING photos–makes me feel so inexperienced in comparison ;'( haha. His website is DEFINITELY worth checking out. You can even join him on his upcoming trips! I also hope to one day travel with this guy 🙂
Anyways, enough advertising (all of it unsolicited btw)…time to pack for my first foray into South America!! Stay posted for photos from our trip!!