Hitchhiking alone in Latin America

I tested hitchhiking alone and at several in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. I never felt in danger. Of course, I am safety rules and would not go hitchhiking in the heart of Lima. I knew girls traveling solo and hitchhiking all over Latin America without worry. To cross the Brazil-Argentina border, I did not want to do it alone and I just caught a German and “forced” him to hitch a ride with me!?

I tested hitchhiking alone and at several in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. I never felt in danger. Of course, I am safety rules and would not go hitchhiking in the heart of Lima. I knew girls traveling solo and hitchhiking all over Latin America without worry. To cross the Brazil-Argentina border, I did not want to do it alone and I just caught a German and “forced” him to hitch a ride with me!?

It is very easy to link a friendship with locals, who want you to discover their culture, their friends. I now have so many “families” in Latin America who have opened their hearts and homes to me very naturally. Do not be afraid to learn Spanish and to mix with locals, it’s a very rich experience.

As far as love is concerned, it is important, in my opinion, to learn local customs and codes so as not to miss out. Ask your new friends to orient you! Beware, the danger of being broken in Latin America is very real, men are not known to be very loyal …

The drag is very very present, especially if you are alone and it must be done. I confess, I get angry internally regularly and there are some fingers of honor that get lost. The only remedy is to ignore and continue to walk with your head up. In Colombia, it was on every street corner, the sweet words (or not!) And the sounds of mouth. In Chile and Argentina, it’s the honking, the evil looks, the whistles and other festivities, whether you are in skirt or dirty returning from a hike (history lived). It’s hard at first, but it’s better to build a carapace and forget about it. The culture of machismo is very strong in Latin America.

Traveling alone in Latin America, a state of mind

Being a solo woman or a man in Latin America includes the same risks and I have heard stories from men and women. White slavery and rape are of course something else.

In my opinion, traveling alone in safety in Latin America is above all a state of mind, a matter of trust. Not to look like a tourist or a stranger is mission impossible and nobody makes a mistake. It’s only in Argentina or Brazil that I’m often taken for a local, but elsewhere, I’m far too white, too big, way too blond and my eyes are too blue. My hiking shoes and my North Face parka are also a sign, but I admit that it’s comfortable and I do not want to change that. On the other hand, it is better not to look like a rich tourist and to adopt the penniless tourist style, relaxed, even hippie. The colorful Patagonia outfit from top to bottom, the big Reflex camera around the neck, the Rolex on the wrist, the security pouch on the jeans (yes, yes not hidden), the Iphone in hand, wearing jewelry, the backpack … it’s not a good idea! Try to blend a minimum into the mass. In Colombia for example, people carry the backpack on the front. Do the same. In Argentina, girls do not often take handbags and put everything in their pockets. Do the same …

But more than just dress-up, it’s all about self-confidence! If you walk along the wall, head down, frightened, grabbing your handbag as if it were about life or death, you will probably get the attention and not the one you want. I always walk with my head up, with a smile on my face, in a relaxed way, seeming to know where I’m going (even if it’s not necessarily the case). If I have to look at my card, I land in a corner, I sit on a bench and I look at the map on my phone or at worst on a map. I still have not perfected the art of walking at the same time as the locals and that probably gives the impression that I think I’m in the streets of London, but I’ll never get there. I always asked in advance which areas to avoid and I know where to stop before going into the red zone. (We will not mention the faith, where I found myself near a favela in Buenos Aires at 22h, without knowing how to return home).

The risks of a trip to Latin America

South America and Latin America is a little higher level of the traveler, after Asia. The culture is closer, there are many travelers too, but there is a kind of feeling of permanent insecurity, floating and more or less strong depending on the place. We learn to tame this feeling of insecurity, to keep it in mind to stay on guard, but we also learn to continue to live and not stop doing something because there is any danger. This is how the inhabitants of dangerous cities live, and I find that quite reasonable. We know that there is a risk of a car accident, but that does not prevent us from driving? By cons, we know that there is bad luck, but there are also safety instructions to be applied not to force his bad luck.

In countries where the standard of living is very low, in countries where the permanent devaluation of the currency impoverishes the population, the theft of a telephone, a wallet, a camera or other can bring back a lot. There are other problems, such as FARC, organ theft, drugs, corruption … but these are more localized problems that do not always affect tourists.

Yes, we hear a lot of stories and they are all true, but it’s also like reading the news in newspapers in France: there are always specific cases, bad luck, but most of the time it nothing happens. I knew a Canadian who had stolen her big backpack at the hostel and her purse in the streets of Montevideo. I have heard stories of armed robbery in Argentina, Colombia and Central America. Pickpocketing, snatching flights, scams, rapes or attempted rapes. Yes, I heard all this from the mouths of victims, travelers encountered on the road. Deaths in bus accident too. Unfortunately, this is part of the risks of travel and the risks of life.

As of today, I did not do anything stolen, nor did I have to live in more serious situations and I had to get out of some average situations, but nothing more! I tell you all this in this article about insecurity, bad adventures and scams on the trip.but I assure you, it does not happen in Latin America and it is sometimes even in France. Yesterday, I left the metro in Santiago, in a chic neighborhood, with all my belongings. I was a little lost, tired and I consulted the plan on my phone. It was clear that I was lost and that I was a tourist and that probably explains why someone tried to steal my stuff. However, Santiago is a safer city than elsewhere … Basically, they tried a common scam, which is to swing any product on your big backpack (in my case a kind of black ink), to help you to wash it, while an accomplice steals your little bag filled with your valuable belongings. An old man came to say to me in English, “Excuse me miss, your bag is dirty, like a pigeon’s poop, can I help you clean it? “. I do not know what happened in my brain, I knew the scam, but had never been a victim and without thinking in Spanish, I replied “Thank you, but I do not care” and I continued my way feeling the sticky product running on my fleece, my legs and my leggings …

The road is also very problematic, but it’s valid around the world and there’s a time when you can not stop living and traveling. We can minimize the risk, but not more. Two travelers I had met a week before, died in transport accident, one in Laos, the other in Argentina. In Bolivia, the roads have very bad reputations and accidents are frequent: when it is possible or too dangerous, take the train or the plane, what is the point of taking risks unnecessarily. Be careful also to travel agencies when organizing excursions to isolated places. I am thinking of course of the excursion of Salar Uyuni and South Lipez, where there was a fatal accident two weeks after my passage. Choose your agency, putting the security before the price:I explain all this in detail in my dedicated article .

Discover London by food

I’ve always said that you can eat well in London , it’s not necessarily like the rest of the UK and you have to forget the clichés. Salty or sweet, the city’s trademark is obviously its international cuisine and yes, it even seems that Indian food is better and more authentic in London than in India. I will not say anything, I am not an expert. But then, what about the sweet for a French and his puck delicate and accustomed?

At Fortnum and Mason, we do not taste anything and savor with the eyes, but it makes you want to come back and try all these flavors. Then, stop at Ladurée in Burlington Arcade. Believe it or not, I had never tasted a Ladurée macaroon and had to go to London to do it. A height, a scandal! It was delicious and I picked up a few.

Direction then the Belgian chocolatier Godiva. Once again, it’s a first and it’s divine. I’m back again with pleasure and yes, I’ll come back!

The tour usually ends with an English tea, a perfect end to enjoy London. We are taken to a secret shop in Carnaby,  Choccywoccydoodah , where we discover a top secret and kitsch private room, decorated in a completely delirious and delicious way, with a view of Carnaby and passers-by in the rain. This is the time to taste everything: chocolates, brownies of all flavors, cakes, hot chocolates … and clearly overdose with sugar! But it was good, surprising and original and it would be the perfect place for a bachelor party or celebrate her 30th birthday !

The Main Reasons Why People Travel

There are two levels of answers to the question of why people travel. The first is the obvious one, and probably the reason we give ourselves and quote to others. We travel so that we can see sights, experience other cultures, attend events and learn more about the world.

These are exciting reasons. But there are deeper reasons for traveling that have less to do with what we do when we travel, and more to do with what traveling does to us. These five sets of changes to us are at the heart of what makes travel so compelling.

Travel Enriches You, Before, During & After

The anticipation of a trip is almost as stimulating as the trip itself and the memories afterwards. Knowing what you have ahead, and imagining it in detail, lends excitement to life, and relieves the tendency to fall into a workaday rut. The more detailed the image of the trip, the more a future trip will excite you in advance.

During the trip itself, daily life can be intense. Living in these moments fully, and noting everything around you, makes for heightened living. Clearly, this kind of intensified experience is a quality of a style of travel that takes you beyond the bus and out into the streets and squares, landscapes and waterways, of the places you are visiting. Independent travel is a world apart from “contained” travel.

Travel Broadens Your View of the World

Through travel you gain a framework for the history and significant touchstones that brought you to your current life and point in time. Now you are standing in the evil Borgia pope’s office, surrounded by the very walls that contained the man with sufficient power to write a Papal Bull-a mandate-that claimed all the wealth of the Western Hemisphere for Spain and Portugal, and secured it for the next 200 years. As you pause in the spot where that happened, the events and significance come alive with new meaning.

Now you are looking down at the stairs that lead to a tunnel connecting the home of Leonardo da Vinci with the royal palace across street. It was through this tunnel that King Françoise traveled to sit and talk with his genius friend. And now you are in Bayeux, where the French William the Conqueror built his naval vessels to cross the English Channel and claim the throne of England.

Travel Makes You More Vibrant and Interesting

Travel gives you something to look forward to… to prepare for… to study for… and later to share. You will bring home stories. Life can get somewhat monotonous if you let it, particularly after you retire and your work life ends. Anticipation is worth at least as much as the trip itself and the memories that follow the trip.

How much better to have travel stories and observations to share then to have your conversation limited to your latest doctor visits and your frustrations with the weeds in your lawn.

Travel Re-Energizes You

Travel, and the anticipation of travel, recaptures your enthusiasm. You look ahead with excitement instead of experiencing the dulled-over feeling that comes from repetition and routine.

Travel challenges you to be at your most effective and focused level. Comfort zones may be comfortable. But it is good for you to be taken out of your comfort zones regularly. Otherwise, your social skills can begin to atrophy, and your ability to think on your feet and solve problems may decrease due to disuse.

Travel Improves Your Health and Well-Being

Travel gives you a reason to stay healthy. And it keeps you sharp longer! The challenges of travel test your acuity on a daily basis. Travel can be demanding, especially if you are not being “led around by the nose” on a group trip. You know you will need to be on your toes – to be situationally aware – to pay close attention. You will need to walk extensively, including up and down hills and stairs.

Travelling Tips for the Disabled

 

Unlike in the past, today people with disabilities have been recognized, and are less discriminated against. In many countries there are legislations that protect them and make their life a little easier. Also many public buildings have been designed or renovated in order to accommodate people with disabilities

With all these improvements, people with disabilities are now able to travel for vacation or a business trip to places far away from their home. However, with all these improvements we have made, travelling for people with disabilities is still a challenge for them, especially when they are travelling alone or, they are travelling to an unknown destination. Below is a guide to help people with all forms of disabilities to travel safely.

  1. Plan well in advance

Planning is key to any form of success. This is very important because it reduces chances of getting stranded and being inconvenienced. Booking flights and hotel rooms are the top priorities, however if you are going to stay at a friend’s or a relative’s house; notifying them in advance is very important. Then they can be prepared and even pick you up from the airport.

  1. Book hotels that are disabled friendly

Hotels with disabled friendly structures are very convenient as they allow disabled individuals to move freely with minimal effort. Most of these hotels also have special emergency protocols that ensure disabled individuals are not left behind in case of an emergency, unlike some hotels where these issues are over looked.

  1. Use a travel agent that offers travel packages for disabled travelers

Booking flights and hotel rooms with travel agents that offer travel solutions to disabled people is advantageous in a number of ways. They ensure they book for their disabled clients airlines and hotels that are disabled friendly. They strive to offer services and suggestions that will ensure their clients travel comfortably.

  1. Understand and know your rights when at the airport

Travelling, for people with disabilities, is very hectic, especially when they arrive at the airport. They face the challenge of getting proper information and directions. This is further aggravated by the huge number of people traveling and long queues. In airports, there are attendants that are supposed to attend to the needs of those travelling with disabilities.

Disabled travelers should not, and are not, treated differently when they go through security measures. They are also protected from any form of discrimination from any airline. Disabled travelers are advised to be very conversant

with their rights to avoid and report any form of discrimination when travelling.

  1. Bring extra medication

There is no harm in carrying an extra dose of medication when travelling. People do lose their luggage as they travel so, having an extra dose will act as a backup when one dose gets lost. This also ensures that when travelling, a disabled person does not run out of their medicine forcing them to start looking for a drug store when travelling. These medications should be stored properly to ensure their safety.

  1. Take a doctor’s note and contact information when travelling

A doctor’s note contains important information about a condition that a disabled person is facing and this will help doctors save a lot of time on tests in case of an emergency. Contact information for your doctor allows other doctors to get important information from your doctor should the need arise. This small, but vital, information can save lives.

  1. Use direct flights

It is very hectic and tiresome for a disabled traveler to use connecting flights. Using connecting flights exposes them to loss of their luggage and even injury as they get in and out of a plane. Using a direct flight cuts all these risks down and saves a lot time and energy when travelling. Direct flights also ensure that those travelling with disabilities are not stranded in an airport as they wait for a connecting flight.