The RTW Journey Giveaway: A Winner’s Replace (Half 1)

Heather hanging out in South America
What would you do with a free journey around the globe? Final yr, I gave away a visit around the globe. After going via 1000’s of entries, in the long run, Heather was the winner. Her story was highly effective. She’s been on the street somewhat over a month now and it’s time to meet up with her and discover out about her journey, how the budgeting goes (is she doing $50 a day?), and the teachings discovered.

Nomadic Matt: Heather, congrats on successful! You’ve been in your journey for a couple of month. First, how did you are feeling about successful?
Heather: Thanks, Matt! Profitable was, in a phrase, surreal. I’ve by no means felt so dazed in my life. I’ve by no means gained a lot as a raffle prize earlier than, so I didn’t really imagine you for no less than a strong week. I stored pondering it was a dream, and I used to be scared to inform individuals in case it was. My little sister requested me if I used to be certain it wasn’t a human-trafficking scheme!

Total, I really feel so beloved and supported by my family and friends and very, extraordinarily fortunate.

I’ve been making an attempt to think about what my mother would say if she had been right here to see this. I don’t have a lot of a body of reference, since I solely actually began touring after she handed. Nonetheless, I’m certain she could be shaking her rattling head at this journey! She would positively suppose I’m loopy. And I do know she positively wouldn’t perceive leaving my secure job to do that. Ultimately, although, I do know she wouldn’t attempt to cease me or dissuade me. She could be comfortable for me; it simply won’t have been her first response. “Cease speaking loopy” may need been the very first thing!

The place are you happening this journey?
I’m spending the following few months in South America. I initially deliberate to remain in Peru for 3 weeks, however I’d find yourself staying for six as a result of there’s a lot I wish to see right here! I selected to spend so much of time in South America as a result of it’s been my dream to backpack right here for thus lengthy.

I additionally simply love the massive variety of life and cultures right here, and the interplay between indigenous cultures and Spanish colonialism. There are additionally so many wonderful websites (such because the Galápagos, the Amazon, Machu Picchu, and so on.). There may be a lot to be taught and soak in.

Heather lounging in a pool in Ecuador

I depart for Lisbon on Might 2nd, after which I wish to see Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Kenya, and Tanzania earlier than heading on to Southeast Asia. It was actually onerous to decide on which nations to go to — my checklist was initially about 36 nations lengthy! However my pals talked me down and satisfied me that it was higher to go in depth than to maintain hopping round and tire myself out. I’ve the remainder of my life to go and see the remainder of the world.

I really put my entire (hopeful) itinerary up on my new weblog.

The place have you ever been to this point?
I spent just a few weeks in Ecuador, together with the Galápagos, earlier than I moved on to Peru. I’m working my approach south and east, ultimately to Brazil.

The primary week I spent in Quito being hosted by pals of my household. I primarily rested and deliberate the journey, together with getting my visa to Brazil on the consulate there. I used to be so centered on closing up my life in LA and getting out rapidly that I had put barely any thought into my journey. I simply left. Taking the time to plan actually calmed me. My hosts had been actually gracious and took nice care of me.

After that, my sister got here down and we spent just a few days in Baños, Ecuador, which was unbelievable! I jumped off a bridge and we went canyoning down some waterfalls. We additionally did a day tour of the Amazon. I had combined emotions concerning the tour — I are likely to hate deliberate excursions like that, and there was part of the day that included an indigenous present that felt compelled and disingenuous. It made me somewhat uncomfortable.

Heather bungy jumping off a bridge

I additionally spent 10 days within the Galápagos, which was insanely lovely. It was onerous on the finances for certain, however the islands are so nicely protected. Now I’m in Cajamarca within the north of Peru having fun with the Carnaval celebrations. It’s insanity. I’m actually not a lot of a partier. My host is so beneficiant and accommodating, so I’m actually having fun with my time right here.

How’s your day by day finances going? Any huge surprises?
I’m positively working a deficit proper now, due to the journey to the Galápagos, however I knew that getting into. (Another bills too, corresponding to paying for the visa to Brazil ($160), contributed to that as nicely.) Every little thing is tremendous costly on the island. Final-minute cruises for 4 days are about $1,000, and eight-day cruises begin at about $1,700. I opted out of a cruise and determined to do the self-tour, which was a bit more difficult however nonetheless a tremendous expertise. Hostels on the island are principally $20 in every single place, which is about twice as a lot as on the mainland. However I did discover some methods to save cash. As an example, I discovered a restaurant on Santa Cruz Island that served a terrific $5 lunch.

I’m feeling OK concerning the splurge, although, as a result of I’m saving in different methods. As an example, I purchased my flight out of South America to Europe on factors. That saved me about $700. I plan on shopping for most of my flights on factors. I’m additionally doing quite a lot of Couchsurfing in Peru (and Peru is affordable total).

Heather snorkeling in the Galapagos

Not counting the Galápagos, within the first month, I spent about $600, together with my hostels, meals, actions. Hostels are usually costing me $10 an evening, and meals are not often greater than $10 every; lunch is often a lot much less. In Baños, as an illustration, we met the proprietor of an arepas restaurant and simply ate lunch there daily. Now, in Cajamarca, between Couchsurfing and a budget price of dwelling, I’d be shocked if I’ve spent greater than $30 prior to now 5 days. Breakfast is $1-2, and we took a 30-minute experience bus outdoors of town, which price 5 soles, or about $1.50, every.

Additionally, trying again on my journal of bills, I’d say I’m spending an excessive amount of on transportation. I’d attribute this to taxis. Once I’m out and about, generally individuals inform me it’s unsafe to stroll and I ought to take a taxi. Or, as an illustration, once I was staying with my household pals in Quito, their home is fairly removed from town, so I’d discover myself taking a taxi reasonably than stroll the 40 minutes to the bus cease. If I’m feeling not sure concerning the scenario I’m in (at night time or if I don’t see many solo walkers round), I take a taxi. So I believe I may in the reduction of or discover different methods to keep away from feeling unsafe.

The primary month is at all times an adjustment. How are you going to remain on finances sooner or later?
I’m an enormous planner, and taking the time to suppose via my “necessities” actually helps. I’ve additionally discovered that not dashing and going sluggish helps reduce down bills. I’m making an attempt to take my time and stick with the actions I’ll actually get pleasure from. As an example, paying an admission to see a cathedral nearly by no means makes my checklist. A variety of guides on-line point out church buildings because the should sees. I ignore them fully, until there’s something completely different about them. For instance, I paid for a tour in Lima to see the catacombs however, apart from that, I’d reasonably use the cash elsewhere.

Heather at the equatorWhat are a few of the classes you’ve discovered to this point?
I’m studying the right way to not stress about plans or cash, which was one thing my mother was at all times making an attempt to show me. I’m actually dwelling my dream, and it’s overseas to me to not have one thing or somebody to fret about. “For those who’re gonna fear, don’t pray. For those who’re gonna pray, don’t fear,” is what she would at all times say. I used to be by no means superb at it (to her dismay), however I believe she could be proud of how I presently am. My stomach is at all times full and I’m seeing one thing new each few days. What extra may I ask for? Subsequent up, to work on my persistence…

What’s the worst factor that’s occurred? Do you suppose it may have been prevented?
Sure! My telephone bought pickpocketed! It was fully preventable. I used to be in Baños and I wanted a rain jacket as a result of it rains each different second there. I wasn’t used to the pockets and my telephone was hanging out barely. I used to be simply fully snug — it’s very protected there, so I didn’t suppose I needed to fear. I seen it was gone nearly instantly. I used to be pissed as a result of I simply paid off that telephone in order that I may take it on the journey! Sigh…

Lastly, what’s been your favourite second to this point?
My favourite second is a tie between leaping off the bridge in Baños and snorkeling with sea lions and turtles within the Galápagos. Each moments had been surreal.

Within the following months, Heather shall be navigating South America, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. As she retains going, we’re going to observe alongside to get extra particulars about her journey, experiences, roadblocks, budgeting, and every little thing in between! You possibly can observe her journeys on her weblog, Confidently Misplaced, in addition to on Instagram. She can even be sharing a few of her experiences right here!

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