Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Spontaneity is the Spice of Travel.

Skimp all you want - stay in horrible hostels, eat strange street food and take every night bus you can but the blunt of the matter is that travelling is an expensive game. Decisions though, are free. Spontaneity is the spice of backpacking life on a whim you can change the course of your travels, open yourself up to experiences you’d never imagined and create bonds with friends you’ll keep for life.

Most people travel to discover the unknown, the weird, the wonderful and in my experience even the challenging parts of travel hold happy memories after all is said and done.

Freezing on a bus in Bolivia - its 10pm, I’m covered head to toe in warm alpaca and heading to the highest City on earth. It was a rash decision to venture into Chile that’s bought me to this chapter of my South American tour.

This morning I slept on a bus floor for 5 hours, broke down twice in the Atacama Desert and spent three hours at what must be the most desolate border crossing on the continent. Maybe I’m lucky, or a bit delusional, but when I finally get to throw live sticks of dynamite down silver mines in Potosi, this tough, spontaneous journey will have made it even more memorable for me.

Natalie Cihaks – now a friend for life, travelled with me in Colombia after a bold, spontaneous and slightly hungover move to change her flight itinerary, staying on the Caribbean coast with people she had known for less than 24 hours. Her story shows how having flexible, if any, plans allows you to drift into the most memorable experiences possible. No ties, no commitments, no disappointments!

‘Cheeks’ speaks so positively on the subject of her unplanned 10 days in Colombia, it's easy to see her decision has moulded her view on future travel exploits; solo travel and the importance of having changeable plans…

“My travelling companions of 6 months gone, I found myself on hold to the airline changing my flights. I was about to enter a whirlwind adventure with 4 boys I had known only a few hours.
10 days of Colombian carnage awaited but was it the rum, their alluring personalities, or just plain craziness that had me going with my instincts? Either way, the following 10 days gave me experiences I won’t be able to repeat any time soon – how often can you bathe in a mud volcano or sleep in hammocks at a surf camp on the Caribbean coast?! 

I truly feel we had a bond that should take so much longer to form - travelling is intense and the boys taught me I was confident and happy as a solo traveller, something I’d always feared.

Being spontaneous and changing my flights on instincts taught me so much. The opportunity to change plans cost nothing but the enjoyment, memories, friends and stories I gained were priceless. Thank you boys, and thank you me!”

Cheeks x x x x

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ll agree that travelling in any form is, or will be, the most invigorating, exciting, adventurous ingredient you can add to your life. When a decision comes your way, don’t think too much about it. It always works out.
P.S. – The dynamite was worth every minute of that dusty bus floor!

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