Search

runawaysav

Half way done already?!

Time has been racing by! I can’t believe my time here in Arequipa is already half way done. I definitely haven’t done as much as I’d hoped to have done by this point but I have two more months and just confirmed with my boss I’ll be coming back in October :O
So I’m only half way done this time around.

I’ve gotten pretty bad at blogging but hey I’ve been living and working. A quick summary of the past two months adventures.

I’ve had the most delicious Ceviche. 
IMG_0231

I’ve seen a traditional Peruvian Dance Show.
IMG_0245 IMG_0240

I lived with a wonderful host family and greatly improved my Spanish. 

I’ve taken a quick weekend trip to Chile.
IMG_0419

I’ve explored more markets then I can count.
IMG_0318

I’ve tried Guinea Pig :O 


I graduated from my TEFL class!
IMG_0582


I moved into my new apartment!
IMG_0588

I’ve take a day trip to Mollendo beach, about a 2.5 hour bus ride away.
IMG_0792  IMG_0840

I’ve explored more tiny Plaza’s then I can remember.
IMG_0738

I’ve been to a BBQ at a local Peruvian’s place and had delicious food and practiced more Spanish 🙂
IMG_0746 IMG_0967

I’ve been to Sabandia, 25 minute taxi ride away and planning on returning later this month to go horse back riding. 
IMG_0915 IMG_0912
IMG_0904 IMG_0885

I’ve finished my first month of TEFL teaching!
IMG_0839


And I’ve seen more gorgeous sunsets than I can remember.
IMG_0991
IMG_0455 
DCIM100GOPRO

 

Advertisements

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in Love.

Normally I am very cautious with my heart. Yet as I was gazing off the rooftop of my new apartment, watching the sunset behind the mountains, I realized I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in love.

I cursed to myself as I realized I’d fallen in love with yet another heart breaker. I’ve honestly lost track of how many times I’ve broken my own heart. I guess it’s my own fault. I’ve let my guard down again and again as I leave bits of my heart across the world.

I don’t leave it with boys, Oh no, I leave it in the nooks and crannies of a city. In the corner of a cafe in Prague, on the mountain top over looking Barcelona, in a park on the edge of a river in Porto. I’ve left pieces in the jungle of Costa Rica, on the beaches in Australia, in the sand dunes of the Sahara desert. And now, on my own rooftop in Arequipa.

Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes it’s slow, but normally it just hits me like slap in the face and I realize I’ve fallen heads over heals. Then two days later, or if I’m lucky six months later, I’ll have to end the romance.

I’m already not looking forward to this breakup.

Chile

A quick but much needed weekend of adventure!

I’ve been debating my feelings between solo and none solo travel for a while now, and this weekend only verified the different aspects I was realizing I liked/ disliked about each.

15 days ago when I arrived in Peru and was suppose to be given a 90 day tourist visa, I was given 20 days. So to re-set my visa I needed to make a trip to Chile. I am currently in Arequipa taking a TEFL course and when I was asking my professor about the crossing process a class mate decided he’d join me, Jon. Jon has never traveled before nor does he speak any Spanish. He quit his job in LA as a lifeguard and film editor only about 1.5 months ago and decided to make a change in his life.

Departure: Leaving a city at 10pm and arriving to a new one at 4am is always much better with a travel buddy. As mentioned before Jon doesn’t know any Spanish and this is really his first time traveling so even though I was still organizing everything etc. I just felt calmer walking around the streets with someone else.

We caught a shared Taxi around 5am and headed across the boarder with ease and arrived in Arica, Chile around 8am. Now before we left I thought Jon had downloaded the google map of Arica so we could get to our hostel, that wasn’t the case. I was too tired to even try and ask for directions as Chileans talk faster, with an accent, and use way more slang terms then other Spanish speaking countries. My map read skills came in handy tho and figured out we were only a 15 minute walk away from the hostel we wanted to stay at.

Hostel: I had looked up Sunny Days Hostel literally 12 hours before we arrived and online said they had 5 open beds. However, upon arrival the very kind Kiwi owner, Ross, told us he was full. Luckily his neighbor Yoyo, who was the definition of a surfer dude, had some spare beds he usually let his surfer buddies sleep in. Ross invited us back over for breakfast since it was only about 8:45 am.

Breakfast was a full buffet, fruits, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, tea and coffee, juice, and of course bread and jam. Yoyo came over to the hostel and invited Jon to go surfing  so he headed off and I would have the day to myself. I headed towards the city but in search of the beach. I checked out the fisherman’s wharf but then headed to the water where I really wanted to be. After living in San Diego for about 4 years going more than a couple weeks with out sun makes me a little crazy, and it had been about 7 months since I had had a good beach day.

IMG_0419IMG_0360

The Beach: There is something about sitting on the beach, anywhere that is amazing. But sitting on the beach in Chile. I had never thought about saying that sentence before. So when it flooded into my brain I experienced the most wonderful calm. I was laying on the beach in Chile, and nothing else mattered. What other amazing experiences have I not even thought of yet?

After laying out for almost 2 hours I decided to head back to the hostel, but on the way I saw this adorable little Tiki Hut and decided I was thirty, then I realized I was hungry too! The Mango smooth I had was the best I have ever had. It was literally just fresh mango and water, it tasted completely natural (as it was) but still delicious! I also decided to get a little burrito and whatever scause they had on it was absolutely delicious!

IMG_0381

Once back at the hostel I hung around and just chatted with other travelers, all of which were backpacking up from the south of chile and half of which were actually heading to Arequipa the next morning like us. Talking to them about their travel stories in South America only made me more excited for my trip in August! I headed up to Ell Morro de Arica (Main pic) for the sunset and boy was it gorgeous!

As much as I love new experiences, especially with locals, I am no fun to be around if I don’t get enough sleep. After only getting 4hours of sleep the prior night, I really needed sleep that night. My host at the surf house was having a party (really just a kickback) that night so I stopped by for a while but it turned out the Hostel actually did have some open beds so I grabbed one of those. Jon stayed at the surf house and said they were all up until about 4 am playing music so I definitely wouldn’t have gotten any sleep if I had stayed.

The next day was mostly spent on the road. We got up and ate some breakfast, headed to the taxi station, crossed the boarder, grabbed a bus and spent most of our afternoon on the bus!

That ONE American Traveler.

You know THAT one.

That one who only wants to party.

That one who didn’t bother to learn any of the local language.

That one who expects to use his/ her charm to get help from other travelers.

That one who doesn’t care to respect cultural norms.

That one who’s traveling on Mommy and Daddy’s money.

That one who simply isn’t respectful of other travelers or locals.

That one who gets their shit stolen cause they left their stuff laying out or were drunk.

That one who gives a bad name for all American Travelers.

You know, THAT one.

First Wash out of a Bucket

No I am not in the middle of a jungle where there is no running water. I am in Arequipa, Peru where they had a rain storm last week that damaged the water pipes and have been out of water for 5 days now.

Arriving to my home stay in Arequipa turned out to be a little more of an adventure then I anticipated. The flight from Lima to Arequipa is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. We had been in the air for about an hour when they announced we needed to turn around due to bad weather, back to Lima we went! 30 minutes after disembarking and being told we wouldn’t be able to fly out until 5:30am and would all have to sleep in the airport they decided the weather was cleared up enough.

I arrived in Arequipa around midnight and one of the coordinators from my TEFL school came to pick me up with her nanny from about 25 years ago. About 15 minutes after driving we suddenly got out, I hadn’t been paying attention to the conversation going on in the taxi but apparently the Nanny had been concerned of the route the taxi driver was taking us.  We then spent the next 15 minutes on the side of the road trying to hail a taxi, me thinking it was just another adventure and the coordinator freaking out. But luckily an elderly gentleman stopped to pick us up and I arrived in one piece to my home stay.

IMG_0308

The next morning I was able to meet my host mom, her husband, daughter (who left the next morning for Lima), her son (still lives at home but I haven’t seen him since ha) and the son’s girlfriend. All of which were extremely friendly, welcoming, and willing to put up with my broken Spanish! After lunch with everyone my host mom, her daughter, and I headed to the city center. We needed to take a 10 minute mini bus, there is a driver and someone standing in the door who takes you .80 Peruvian sol (about 25 cents) when you disembark. The whole thing is quite entertaining. There are also Alpaca’s in the park across the street from my TEFL school.

There’s a quote from Pirates of the Caribbean about “The Code is more what you call guidelines, than actual rules…” And this is how Peruvian drivers, especially taxi drivers, feel about the lines on the road, they’re just guidelines. Any time I am in a taxi I keep thinking we’re going to get hit because the drivers is in two lanes or on the wrong side of the road! Later on when I visited the market again there was a woman modeling in front of the fruits, not exactly sure why…..

IMG_0315

Eventually I needed to shower, but the water still wasn’t running through the pipes. SO my host mom filled a bucket with about 1/3 water, then boiled a giant pot of water to add to create nice lukewarm water. It really made me assess just how much water is wasted when showering, even a quick one. I only needed a bucket to wash my body and hair, the same amount of water would probably be used in about 30 seconds of showering.

Overall I mainly spent my first couple days in Arequipa getting to know my host family and preparing for my TEFL course to start!

Smoggy, Humid, Lima

I was only in Lima for 3.5 days but wow did it seem like a lot longer.

I didn’t arrive to the city until 11:30pm Tuesday night, caught my Taxi to the hostel and checked in around 1am. However, I wasn’t able to fall asleep until about 3am because it was SO hot and humid!

Wednesday: Everyone in my room was up by 8 because it was STILL SO hot and humid. I headed out to the common room where the wifi worked to check in with friends and family and slowly started meeting others in my hostel.

Max is from LA, hated his job so quite and moved to China to teach english for a year, then backpacked around Thailand for about 6 months, and also just arrived to Lima to start teaching here.
Nick is also from the US, Seattle, and has been completing his Computer Science degree online for a while, use to work in accounting and would travel every couple months but last April decided to move to Chile to teach for a school year, now he’s working his way back to the states to finish his degree.
British girl (never got her name) is studying abroad in Chile for a year.
Virginia Dad (never got his name either) was probably one of my favorite travelers I met, he’d mainly talk to the boys while British Girl and I wrote/blogged but listening was great. He’s pretty traveled, especially around Peru and brought his 14 year old son to school down here to teach him Spanish and spend time with family (mom side even though he looks as white/ European as they can get). He’s taking a gap year after 8th grade and he’ll go back in as a freshman in the fall.

Wednesday seemed like the long day of my life.

Woke up around 8, ate breakfast, hung around the hostel and met people, Max and I went out to find food for Lunch and walked around some, went back to the hostel, went out on my own to check out the beach and walk around Lima, got a sim card and phone charger (I bought Nick’s old hone from Chile), went back to the hostel, then went back out with Max and Nick for dinner, had a delicious sandwhich and tried Chicha, went back to the hostel and we all (including Virginia Dad and British Girl) hung out in the lounge area talking.

Thursday: I was able to sleep WAY better that night than the night before, the weather was finally cooling down, only woke up about 3-5 time instead of what seemed like every half hour the night before. AND slept in ( only 9:30).

I wanted to go to Barranco and try a sandwich shop a friend had recommended  so invited Max and Nick. We headed off to get their hair cut first which turned out to only cost them like $5 USD. With the dollar getting stronger things in Peru are extra cheap. But then Nick headed back to the hostel to work on his online classes so Max and I wandered off to Barranco which is suppose to have a more bohemian feel to it than Miraflores (the area I was staying in).

IMG_0201

It was fun getting lost and wandering down the streets, we finally found the stand and took our sandwhiches to the park to eat. Then we walked back to Miraflores along the ocean and stopped for some delicious fruit smoothies. Our adventure took about three hours and even though it was so hot because it was completely over cast out I forgot to put on sunscreen so got a nice sunburn on my forehead, nose and chest.

That night a good friend from back in the states family who is from Peru and were currently in town invited me out with them. It was great to practice my Spanish as well as see some family faces!

Friday: That morning Nick, Max and I headed to Huaca Pucllana, ruins built by Peruvians eons ago, we were too hot and it was too humid though for any of us to pay close attention.

My favorite thing about travel is actually meeting other travelers and hearing their stories. Yes I love trying new foods, meeting locals and seeing how they live, learning about different cultures, but nothing beats that moment when within 5 minutes you just realize you click with someone.

In a daily routine it’s hard to meet new people you just click with, because you see the same people every single day. But when you’re traveling, you’re in a random country, at a random hostel or on a city tour when there are hundreds of different countries you could be in, dozens of different hostels you could be staying in, or a handful of different tours you could be on BUT you meet someone and you just click. At least I felt like we did.

 

 

Isabella was also from the states and traveling on her own and the conversation just flowed. We went out for lunch and got some delicious Ceviche then walked along the beach. That night my friends family invited me out for a Traditional Peruvian dance show and since Isabella and I were already on our way out the door to head to dinner they said it was fine if she came along. It was a blast! I absolutely adore the family and the show was amazing as well. There would be a performance and then the singer would sing a basic merengue song so everyone was welcome up to join and dance so of course majority of our group would go (at least 10 of us at a time ha). All of the other tourists were from Latin Americana countries so the dance floor was always full of people dancing.

Saturday: I slept in and bummed around the hostel before heading to the airport. I also finally looked at my visa and instead of giving me 3 months like I ask (and what is usually given) she gave me 20 days….. So looks like I’ll be taking a trip to Chile in a week or two!

On The Move Again

I was finally getting nervous right before my flight. Crazy thoughts were racing through my head.
“What am I forgetting?”
“Why didn’t I practice my Spanish more?”
“What am I doing on a one way flight?!”

I flew out on a one way ticket and by the end of March I’ll have my TEFL certification but I don’t have a place to live after that, don’t have a job lined up, and don’t know what I am doing with my life.

But as the plane started to descend into Lima, I got excited and a grin crept it’s way onto my face and I couldn’t hide it.

Getting off the airplane I was no longer nervous, or anxious or second guessing anything as I might have seemed in prior days to friends. I felt alive. I felt rejuvenated. It might have been midnight in a strange country with a different language but I was awake, I was alert, I felt alive.

There are highs and lows to solo travel, but in that moment I didn’t want to share it.
I wanted that high all to myself!
And it was.

 

Barcelona

*In the process of finishing

Wow was Barcelona a whirl wind of fun! I didn’t keep track of what day I did what or who I met what day because I was literally ALWAYS doing something. This is just a summary of my  hands down  favorite week of my travels, everything just came together.

I was no longer tired of traveling. Which ended up sucking because I LOVE Barcelona and just about everyone I met was amazing. The city was amazing, the other travelers I met were amazing, the weather was amazing. A lot of people said ‘What a great way to end your trip!’ Except that one week only made me want to continue traveling!

Day 92: My Aussie roommie reminded me so much of Juno, she was awesome. She was leaving the next morning and had half a liter of Rum left so decided the two of us needed to finish it.

I’m really not much of a club person but figured it my last week in Barcelona so why not?

Still not a club person.

I only stayed for about half an hour before peacing out. Said goodbye to Courtney as she was dancing with a guy she had previously met but I knew the streets so headed back around 3am

Day 93: My internal clock woke me up again as usual around 9:30. I needed to figure out a better pillow situation because I normally sleep propped up and the pillow there was nice but I’m also not up against a wall so I can’t prop it up or put much under it without it just falling off the back end of my bed.

The few people I had met the night before had all left that morning, but I didn’t care because I was on a mission to see my favorite spot in the city, Bunker. It is a little way of a treck, a little over an hour, but I had no other plans for the day. It was however much warmer then I anticipated.

When I got back to the hostel I met Honor, another solo traveler from Australia.

 

Day 94: I met up with Cici! My GAA buddy from Spring back in the states and we explored the gothic quarter together with another one of her friends then got some DELICIOUS Churros!

That night I met a group of guys who had been traveling together for a while by renting cars and had started in… Italy I believe and eaten in Eight…. I believe was the number different countries within 24 hours. ANYWAYS Dan, from Texas was cooking Octopus! SO I had to say Hello and start a conversation.

IMG_7144

Then we went out to a Jazz bar, which was fun but not exactly what our group was searching for so we headed back to the closest club. Two English blokes joined us for the evening and they were a HOOT! The dance floor was pretty much empty so me and one of the guys pretty much just started swing dancing. Definitely the most fun I had out at the clubs in Barcelona.

Day 95: Dan, Canada, and two guys from New Zealand had invited me to join them on their day trip to Girona. I figured what else was I going to do that day? And when is a better time then the present to jump in a car with 4 guys you’ve only know for 12 hours? Barcelona.

Day 96: I can’t quite remember what I did during the day but that evening we went out to see Montjuic fountain show and I showed everyone the top of the Mall then we wandered around the streets and hit up some of the old bars I use to visit on my study abroad.

Day 97: Mark arrived from Zaragoza! Not until later in the evening but I was also able to visit my old host family that day!

Day 98: My last day in Barcelona was a sad one, but I was able to see all I had wanted to be able to see. I was also able to meet up with my

Day 99: Mark and I got up and headed to the airport, we were hoping we’d be in the same terminal so could have a goodbye Mimosa’s but since I was flying back to the states and he was flying within Europe we were in different terminals.

Northern Spain

Better late then never right?

Pamplona

Day 87: I ended up being glad I took the later bus to Pamplona because there was no one at my hostel. There was the front attendant who was nice but didn’t seem too interested in chatting, and 1 other girl who also wasn’t interested in chatting. But that was fine with me because I needed to catch up on my blogging, and sleep. I went to the grocery store, grabbed some groceries, cooked my chicken and cut up the array of veggies I had gotten and had myself a massive salad for dinner. I’m not kidding it was ridiculously large.

Day 88: I took the morning to plan my attack for what to see, but I wasn’t finding too much to do nor were there any free walking tours. I did find a few routes of the paid tours but they also never responded to my emails to see how much they even cost. I decided to follow their route, to see Plaza de Torros (another bull fighting ring) walk down the main street where the bull chasing is, to another cathedral, a famous wall that protected the country from the French decades ago, the town hall, a famous plaza, and a park. It was cloudy out so saw everything but the park in about…. half an hour ha. It probably would have taken a bit longer with a tour guide to explain each site but besides the specific history to Pamplona I’ve seen those sites in dozens of European cities now.

I did happen upon an adorable Christmas market where I was able to practice my spanish with the locals and get some cute gifts for the family.

Day 89: My morning was pretty routine, took the morning to relax a bit, had some free breakfast, packed up my things and headed off to the bus station.

Zaragoza

Zaragoza didn’t start off looking to exciting. I was once again the only one checked into my room, there was one other woman’s things but no sight of her.
I went to the Market before it closed but didn’t feel like cooking and it was too small of a market to have any pre-made food so dinner consisted of chips and an apple.

Luckily later in the evening two more roommates showed up, a local Spaniard from Barcelona who I spoke a little with before switching to English then an English mate, Mark. We all spent the evening chatting and made plans to catch up with Mark the next day after checking out his new School. He had just gotten a job in Zaragoza with a language school.

Day 90: I had made a post on couchsurfers.com that I would be in town and if anyone would be willing to show me around. Again as in Madrid I had several older guys send me messages but none seemed like anyone I could really hit it off with but I figured I’d give one guy a shot. However, he didn’t have much to show me in Zaragoza nor seemed too interested in my life. So I once again spent the morning asking all the questions, and while he did have some amazing travel stories (he went to Mongolia, bought some horses with a couple other guys, and spent 6 weeks trekking through the mountains!!!) SO after we parted ways I decided to stay clear of couch surfing for the rest of my trip.

I ran into Mark back at the hostel after checking out his school and he lOVED IT. It only made me even more excited to get my TEFL certification as well and hopefully find an awesome job like him. Although I do know he really lucked out, most gigs aren’t as good as his set up, his seemed about perfect. His new co-workers invited him out for dinner so I was left to find something on my own again.

We got a new roommate, a girl from Greece working in Barcelona at a technical firm just in town for the night so wanted to go exploring, perfect! We headed out to the Christmas Market and got ourselves some hot wine, watched the kid slide down I giant fake snow covered hill and an adorable mini wooden ferris wheel. We wandered around the popular bar areas and grabbed a couple drinks. There was a group of people celebrating a guys 60th birthday and the women were all dressed in bright pink and leopard print haha.

Day 91: Mark and I grabbed breakfast then headed off to go check out a potential new apartment. Both of our Spanish levels are at about a low intermediate so we could understand the basics of what the landlord was telling us but once we had to pull out a note pad to draw haha
After that we went to go explore the neighborhood. There was a massive grocery store near by and we ended up having WAY too much in a grocery store. There were meat legs every where and the fruit all looked SO good and they had about every kind of Lindor truffle chocolates you could image so we both got a bag full of those.
Mark had to move hostels but then he came back over to mine to enjoy some wine and pasta for dinner. After chatting for a while we figured out that after I left Granada the guys I had been hanging out with ended up going to the hostel Mark had been at! Small world.

Day 92: My morning was once again routine, packing, breakfast, and off to the bus station. However, my bus ride to Barcelona was anything but routine.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑