On January 18, 2017, my boyfriend Andy and I said goodbye to the U.S. and embarked on our round-the-world backpacking journey. We’ve now been traveling for over two months, and I intend to catch up and post about each destination! First, though, some notes about the trip itself.
From infancy, I’ve always been a curious person, and starting flying on planes before my first birthday. An interest in travel was all but guaranteed. My family traveled domestically (and later, internationally); I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain; I taught abroad in Daegu, South Korea, post-graduation. During all of these pursuits, I met others from around the globe and was inspired by many of their (seemingly ordinary) travels. Being an American office-worker, trips of over 10-11 days seemed out of reach… something only a European or Australian could really dream of. I was working as a DC fundraiser and wanted to see more of the world, and for longer stretches of time – so I could really dig deep into the local food, culture and countryside. And so – a plan was born… Andy and I would go backpacking around the world. Consider it a sabbatical from the working world.
The Method – Backpacking
We decided to go backpacking for a few reasons. Having backpacked around Southeast Asia previously, we knew how convenient it was to carry your belongings on your back (especially when in places like Europe, with its cobblestones and frequent lack of elevators – or Thailand, where taxis are often boats and you disembark by literally jumping in the waves). Of course, to avoid regretting this decision we instituted a carry-on only policy. After great consideration, I opted for the Osprey Porter 46, hand luggage that would be reasonable for me to carry and would help prevent excess airline fees. It has the added benefit of being small enough to carry on buses and trains as well, which is important in cities where theft might be more prevalent.
We’ve also been staying mainly in hostels, taking public transportation, and cooking many of our own meals. This method allows us to keep costs down while meeting locals and other travelers, swapping global recipes, and learning a lot in the process!
So, where have we been, and what’s next? To shape this itinerary, Andy and I sat down and came up with a few must-see places (e.g. Machu Picchu, Peru; Riga, Latvia). We consulted online travel agencies and competitively shopped around an itinerary. We ultimately purchased a flexible, multi-stop airline ticket from STA Travel. Later in the trip, we’ll have the ability to purchase low-cost transportation, so we only opted to include travel around Central/South America and then to Europe.
We’ve been to several cities in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Bolivia, and arrived in Argentina this week. Next we will be traveling to Spain, albeit briefly, because then we have a month-long jaunt in Southern and Eastern Africa! Specifically to South Africa, Zambia, and Zanzibar (Tanzania). Then, back to Europe via Berlin. From there we plan to explore Central and Eastern Europe, but we’d be remiss if we missed the UK as well. Suggestions welcome!
I hope to use this blog to achieve a few things – provide information on destinations traveled, especially with an American lens; inspire others to do the same and explain how we were able to do so; and finally, keep friends and family updated back home.
You can also keep up with me on Instagram @ashleyozery, where I am fairly active, and Snapchat @smashoz, where I am attempting to maintain a presence.
Additional note – in attempts to monetize this blog and educate myself on social media/marketing, many of the links posted herein will be Amazon Affiliate links. If you click these links and purchase those items, I receive a small amount from Amazon with no extra cost to you. I’ll only recommend items I truly use and love, guaranteed. The Osprey Porter 46 link above is one example.