Ok, so it’s no secret that I have fallen behind on blogging about my journey. But sat watching the waves on a beautiful black sand beach on the coast of Chile, sipping on a coffee, I wrote for you a real time update on my adventure, and seeing as I am now officially back on British soil, I have added this to share with you the last 7 months of my life…
The final weeks are over of what can only be described as an adventure of a lifetime. Whilst it’s exciting to reunite with your wonderful self, as well as the rest of my friends and family, I’m apprehensive to leave behind the crazy lifestyle that has become my normality. What the UK will bring for me is uncertain, and it seems strange to be more comfortable finding my way around the language barriers and cultural differences of South America, than returning to the “real world”.
Of course the stories from along the journey will continue, but here’s a snapshot of what the last few months have brought…
I spent most of my 3 months in this country being blown away, some of which you have seen already. It’s all about the beautiful outdoors – climbing mountains, stumbling along railroad tracks, hiking around lakes, scrambling up volcanos, chasing waterfalls… I saw some incredible sights, and still need to go back and see so many more. I learnt I can survive van life, and survived a much more nerve-wracking experience of my first large earthquake. I reunited with some amazing friends, and new friends quickly became family as we worked and lived the hostel life. I was more excited than a kid at Christmas at Hobbiton. I held my breath to avoid the sulphuric smell of Rotorua’s volcanic activity. I drank wine at the oldest pub in NZ. Couchsurfing and hitchhiking were new experiences amongst a whole array of moments that I will cherish forever. I would return to this country in a heartbeat, and urge all of you to add it to your bucket list!
I didn’t manage to stay away for too long, and spent most of December with a very special friend, and had the pleasure of getting to know her friends and family in Perth. As well as exploring some beautiful parts of Western Australia, I learnt how to fish, and scoop for crabs. Over indulged on food samples in Margaret River. Perfected the illusive Quokka selfie on Rottnest Island. Drank countless delicious coffees. Sampled many delicious Western Australian wines. Met Santa, and struggled through 40 degree heat as I experienced my second Christmas down under.
I saw in the New Year in one of the worlds most coveted spots – Sydney Harbour and loved every minute of the enormous fireworks display with very special friends. I played the craziest game of mini golf in Brisbane. Sunbathed and swam on perfect golden beaches on the Sunshine Coast. Lake hopped for 3 days driving around in a 4×4 on Fraser Island. Found Nemo and thousands of other fish snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. I set foot on one of the purest white sand beaches in the world, and waded through crystal clear water with baby sharks and stingrays.
Australia – you will forever have a special place in my heart.
South East Asia
Indonesia – Malaysia
I fell right in at the deep end as I arrived into Indonesia, quite literally, with my first (and possibly last!) surf lesson – doing what I do best and landing a concussion. I explored countless temples which were all as impressive as the last. I ate my weight in delicious meals such as Nasi Goreng, and then had one of my toughest challenges being bedridden by gastro. Survived to see the Gili Islands by bike and by boat. Swam with giant sea turtles. Battled with the rainy season to have some beach time in Lombok. Wandered through rice terraces. Drank the worlds most expensive coffee. Made it through the Monkey Forest in Ubud without catching rabies. Made it 86 floors high in the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Climbed 236 steps to reach the Batu Caves. And even snuck in a cheeky Nandos before boarding a plane to Brazil…
Brazil – Uruguay – Argentina – Chile
I conquered my fears to leave the hostel alone and tour Beco do Batman in Sao Paulo. Danced all night long in the Sambadrome during carnival in Rio de Janiero. And well, generally danced through the duration of carnival with a Caipirinha in hand. Worked at a hostel in Paraty, struggling to learn Portuguese, but meeting wonderful people every day, and learning to cook Brazilian deserts. Spent my birthday on one of the worlds most beautiful beaches. Then recovered the next day by sailing through paradise on a Caipirinha boat. Hiked through sand dunes in Florianopolis, and sampled all of the weird and wonderful beach snacks going with new friends (queijo!).
Got soaked (and blown away) by the Iguacu Falls, and got prevented from seeing it all by an Argentinian puma. Popped into Uruguay and fell in love with Montevideo, and then all over again exploring Colonia Del Sacremento.
Took Spanish lessons in Buenos Aires. Experienced Fuerza Bruta – the most astounding show I’ve ever seen. Spent hours perusing Markets, and hours eating steak and drinking wine. Got overexcited to find gluten free empanadas in Palermo. Took in all of the colours in La Boca. Watched an incredible Tango show. Hiked beautiful mountains in Bariloche, and ate a lot of well-deserved chocolate afterwards. Wine toured by bike in Mendoza. And due to a landslide keeping me from crossing the border, went to a local football match and completely lost myself in the atmosphere.
Rounded off my last two weeks having the time of my life in Chile. Reuniting with amazing Chilean friends after 5 long years. Dining by the beach in Pichilemu (and drinking far too much coffee by the beach too!). Drinking Carmenere wine in hot tubs under beautiful starry skies. Exploring as much street art as 24 hours would allow in Valparaiso, in between earthquakes. Drinking Pisco Sour and Terremoto’s in Santiago (and then learning why they are named “earthquake”…). Running over-excitedly around markets. And parks. And the streets of Bellavista. Watching the sun set from Cerro San Cristobal. Seeing the lights of the city from the tallest tower in Latin America – the Costanera Tower. Then dancing the night away for one last time, before struggling to come to terms with saying goodbye.. to the people, the place, and this travelling dream.
It’s been quite the ride! I’m incredibly lucky to have been on this journey, and it’s overwhelming looking back on the many, many things I have achieved! I can’t wait to share more of these stories with you, both right here, and over a long overdue bottle of bubbles when we reunite in the big city!
But for now, lets not forget about the final stop on the road – 102 floors high in the One World Observatory – One World Trade Centre. Ending this journey quite literally – feeling on top of the world.
With kindest regards,
A now UK based Peps xoxo