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So You Want to Volunteer in South America?

“I’m going to teach English in Ecuador!” This gleeful announcement was made to my dad in the summer of 2013, just three days after I’d flown back home to London from South East Asia. Still in the travelling mindset, I was already plotting my next volunteer move. Although it may sound like a spontaneous decision, the […]

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Sexism and Machismo: the Attitude to Women in Latin America

Travelling as a woman will always open up avenues that are unavailable to men. Despite being foreigners and strangers, women often connect with local children, young mothers, and old ladies with an immediacy borne from an innate trust in our gender. We are invited into Indian wedding ceremonies and Thai family kitchens, and given privileges that a […]

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Still in Love with South America

“So you don’t know when you’re coming back?” I remember the face of my best friend, slightly astonished, as she took in what I was saying to her. Finally making that decision – to not buy a return ticket, to lay myself open to the possibilities of whatever the road had in store for me […]

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Batman’s Alley: the Boldest and Brightest of Brazilian Graffiti

There’s a huge amount of fascinating street art pieces throughout South America, and every time I take a photo of a particular piece of graffiti, I immediately think I should write a graffiti-focused post. Maybe a “Top Ten Awesome Graffiti Pieces in South America?” or, as I’m steadily becoming more awestruck, “Top Ten Graffiti Pieces […]

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The Best View in Rio… And It’s From a Favela

His name was Francisco, and he’d always lived in the favelas. “I was born in Rocinha,” he told Kay in Portuguese, proudly, “but I built this house eighteen years ago.” The blue-green building sits neatly on a corner of the narrow road that leads up, ever winding, to the very top of Rocinha: Rio de […]

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Community, Compromise and Hard Work: Back to Basics in the Brazilian Jungle

The late afternoon sun was strong as I clambered across the gleaming white peaks of the kitchen hut roof, paintbrush in hand. It already looked like I was standing on top of a giant meringue, and things were only going to get whiter. Two coats down and I was starting on a third when I […]

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The Spanish Challenge: Achieve Fluency Before Leaving South America

Six months ago, I relocated to Ecuador, a Spanish speaking country, with little to no Spanish speaking skills of my own. I moved in with a host family, started volunteering as an English teacher at a local high school, and attempted the task of learning Spanish. Half a year later and I’m sad to say […]

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