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The Spanish Challenge: a Surprise Return to Paracas, Peru

Men scurry along either side of the barrier which divides the congested highway in two. They carry paper-covered boxes of snacks to sell to car drivers through their windows: small biscuits, wafers, hot peanuts. Boys with stacks of newspapers pass women wearing tracksuits and pushing supermarket trolleys, who yawn as they delve inside their bumbags filled with loose change. The […]

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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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Sunshine and Sunburn: Going Back to South America

Somehow, the conversation had moved onto breasts. “It’s really horrible!” Jenna said, picking up her beer bottle and looking at her husband’s face. “You’re in the perfect place to sunbathe, and then you can’t wear a bikini because your breasts are burnt!” Jenna and Dave were in a year into the trip of a lifetime, […]

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On Fear, Self Deprecation and my Traveller Alter Ego

“I hate this,” I said, slightly pathetically, to the empty air around me. There was nobody near enough to hear the words: the only people capable of listening were already halfway down into the canyon. I was way behind the group, taking my time as usual. I also happened to be muttering darkly to myself […]

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Thirteen Hours in Atlanta Airport: Why I’m Flying Back Home

There’s always a quiet spot in an airport, if you look hard enough. Most people who wander the gleaming white corridors and settle briefly in arm-rested chair rows aren’t in need of somewhere calm: they’re about to board a plane for somewhere new, foreign and exciting, and peace and quiet is the last thing on […]

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The Salcantay Trek: Why I Closed my Eyes at Machu Picchu

This is the final installment of a three part series about my trek to Machu Picchu. Read the first and second installments here! The Incas were blessed with ridiculously small feet. I know this for absolute certain because, while mine are a modest UK size 5.5, I still spent the majority of my time at […]

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The Salcantay Trek: What to Do When a Crazed Horse Breaks Your Collarbone

This is the second installment of a three-part series about my trek to Machu Picchu. Read the first installment and the third installment here! The paths that wind downwards through the mountains on the second day of the Salkantay trek are narrow, twisting and peppered with rocks. But after a relaxing lunch, the views and […]

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The Salcantay Trek: Riding a Horse with Altitude Sickness

This is the first installment of a three-part series about my trek to Machu Picchu. Read the second installment and the third installment here! “Obviously I’m not happy you’re sick, but I’m really glad you’re riding on the horses too. I don’t feel comfortable around them and I think they can sense it…” Me and […]

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