Notes on a Long-term Ticket to South America

“Thank you for booking with us. Your ticket has been issued as an E-Ticket”

Clicking ‘purchase ticket’ of a flight always carries a little emotional charge. I have a special file for flight confirmation emails that has become a sort of scrap book. I take a minute to look back through it. This is definitely not the first solo flight I’ve booked. It isn’t the first international long-term long-haul either. But my new ticket has that first-kiss zing to it. This is the start of something: it’s confirmed. I’ve got the email and the butterflies in my stomach to prove it.

the passport shot
My passport has extra blank pages inserted and ready for South America


  • I’ll be in South America for a little over six months, starting June 22 2011
  • I depart June 22 to Lima, Peru. I’ll make my way from Lima to Cuzco to catch the the Inti Raymi solstice celebration on the 24th. From there I’ll travel overland across the border to La Paz, Bolivia, and then on to Cochabamba
  • I’ll be spending months of July, August, and September in Cochabamba doing a writing residency at Sustainable Bolivia. I’ll continue doing my current job remotely from there and ideally some freelance writing for SB on the side
  • The last three months are an open book. The idea is to find a new city to set up shop and call home for a little while. Possible candidates: Valparaiso, Chile; Bariloche, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay
  • The [arbitrary, negotiable] return date is Dec 22 2011


  • Visit some of my MTEE colleauges/classmates/friends. Paul in La Paz, Italo in Lima, Jesica in Buenos Aires, and Maria Laura in Montevideo are on my list. Diego, onde está você?
  • Find a place like that one cafe in Tirana where I scored on all the articles I pitched from there
  • Explore in and around Bolivia. Hit up the major stuff like the salt flats and Lake Titicaca
  • Finally meet my Brazilian coworkers Andre, Wallace and Laura in person in Belo Horizonte
  • Contribute wherever I go


  • Getting stopped at Bolivian customs for questionable ‘proof of onward travel’
  • Working too hard online and not having enough time to just enjoy being somewhere new
  • Not working hard enough online, subsequent unemployment
  • Loneliness
  • Meeting too many other foreigners and not speaking enough Spanish (again)
  • Walking out on North America mid-summer
  • Not being able to stop shivering in the Bolivian highlands in July
  • Bed bugs
  • The unknown

Still lots of planning to do! Feel free to share your South America tips and tales.


  1. says

    So excited for you!!!! Good for you for booking and just going ahead with it. Sounds like a really cool residency in Cochabamba, and I’m sure you’ll pick up loads of new ideas for articles along the way.

    As for advice, well, I went through Lima/Cusco/Arequipa/Puno/Machu Picchu and then up to Ecuador and the Galapagos, so my SA travels are kinda the wrong way from yours. My best advice would be to try to balance work and play, try to feel like a local, eat eat eat, and oooooh see Iguazu Falls!

    Can’t wait to hear more about your planning and all. Congrats!


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