Female. Backpacker. South America.

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I’m usually an impulsive person, a habit that has gotten me into more unforgettable memories than regrets. For the most part, I get these foreign surges to live in the moment, live my best life, live like there is no tomorrow. There were moments during my planning, where I wanted to throw the towel in and leave right then and there. But alas, I planned for a year and here I am, nine months later in a hostel in Buenos Aires, nearing the end of my trip.

Before I left, I scoured the internet for valuable information on solo female backpackers in South America. As expected, 1) There weren’t many posts and 2) It seemed the dangers and tales of Latin America has infiltrated to novice backpackers. SO! Here, I will contribute my grain of sand on traveling tips and essentials that I have greatly needed and highly recommend:

Here’s a quick profile on who I am, perhaps relatable. I graduated uni, worked for a year, lived with my parents, saved my money. Why did I travel? Because for most of my young life, I have lived in the United States, endured comments of being “exotic, spicy food, salsa.” I wanted to truly understand if these stereotypes really applied for most of South America. And if you are part of any minority in the United States, you will understand that regardless of where you are truly from you are categorized into being Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino/Hispanic, Black, or White, that’s it. Being a Latin American in the US means you are to know about all of the cuisine, Bolivian, Peruvian, Colombian, you must dance merengue and bachata, otherwise you are “too white.” Tough right? My second reason is much simpler, I wanted to improve my Spanish.

Lil more: I’m not much of hiking or any sort of physical activity kind of person. I was a bit concerned about my physical state pre-trip, but there’s sooo much else to see it wasn’t a problem, most of the time. 

I have been to: Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

Clothes:

Latin America is often painted as a tropical fruity terrain with an abundance of colors and sounds. Half of that stereotype is correct, the heat… not so much. Keep in mind the South American continent has a large backbone running from Colombia all the way down to Chile. The Andes. A breathtaking mountain range that is accompanied with stifling cold temperatures and absolutely no heating systems anywhere in the countries that border it (or so it seemed). Also, contrary to very basic popular belief, there are seasons down south. There are scorching summers, breezy autumns, and cold winters. Be prepared for any temperature. I packed:

San Miguel de Allende

Oh San Miguel, how captivating you were with your colonial architecture dripping with terracotta paint tinted with yellow hues. Your winding streets capture all the beginnings and the never-ending loose strings of the many Mexican revolutions. We luckily caught you right before El Dia de Los Muertos, just in time to experience the brewing festivities. And here is what I captured: 

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Gradually I keep picking up ideas on what I want for my future home. Number one on the list? Plants and lots of natural light. 

I have been a tremendous fan of Nomadic Habit ever since I stumbled upon her subtly evocative photographs sheered with softness but with an underlying strength. And either it’s because of her nature of being a consistent traveler or her seemingly grounded self, I feel that in the many influences we are exposed daily, there is an elemental understanding I have with the artist. This video was recently posted on her blog, a video I felt a connection to my Latin American roots. Please watch and definitely, I HIGHLY encourage for you to check out her blog, Instagram, and Vimeo.