It’s been a long time since our last update and we’ve had a ton of great adventures since our 7 month post which was right before we reluctant left South America. Since then we’ve travelled to 7 countries on 3 continents, reconnected with old friends as well as my Malian maman, and wrote a mini-thesis on responsible tourism to kick off 2019. We’ve had our hands full to say the least. Now we’re once again on the Great Continent being awestruck by the incredible diversity and beauty of it all. But first, let’s catch up!
Travel is more than a beloved hobby for some people; rather, it’s a veritable lifestyle. Travel is something that enlightens souls, expands horizons, and as the old cliché goes, is one of the few things in the world that makes you richer as you spend money on it.
Responsible tourism is important as it unfortunately takes a tremendous amount of resources to make travel possible. From all-inclusive resorts razing natural vegetation to make way for manufactured white sand beaches while paying local staff a pittance, to national parks being destroyed by careless visitors, to locals being priced out of their neighbourhoods by entrepreneurs looking to rent whole apartment buildings out on AirBnB, travel is not without its downsides. And none of those examples even touch the problem of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are required to transport a person from point A to point B.
This is an exciting time for us here at Zen Travellers as we are now 7 months and half way in to our trip around the world! When we first left home it was definitely exciting, but also a little bit nerve wracking. Given that we were leaving our jobs and selling most of our belongings, that’s probably understandable. Well, this big trip is still as exciting as it was at the beginning but the nerves have faded as we’ve settled nicely into a life on the road. The pages of our passports are a little more cluttered and looking at the map, we’ve certainly covered a lot of ground and seen a hell of a lot, including: amazing mountainous landscapes, deserts, forests, lakes, rivers, oceans, and more.
In addition to being mesmerized by incredible landscapes, we’ve been lucky to see a variety of rare and unique wildlife, and Thea’s lifelist of birds has exploded. We’ve had some humbling experiences, scary situations, learned about different cultures, and met a tonne of amazing people along the way. Most recently, we capped off the half way point with a 10 day cruise to Antarctica. This was truly an incredible experience to see a one of a kind place most don’t even dare to dream of visiting, and one that we’ll not soon forget.
When travelling to Antarctica, you will soon learn that it is a place of superlatives. It is the highest, driest, and coldest place on Earth. It is also the world’s most expansive wilderness area and is home to the some of the largest creatures on the planet. It is a mysterious, inhospitable, perilous, and endlessly remote environment that has inspired both incredible exploratory expeditions but also ill-fated attempts that ended in disaster.
At the same time of our visit to the White Continent, two insane brave adventurers, one from the USA and one from Great Britain, are attempting to cross Antarctica to the South Pole while completely unsupported. They face horrendous weather, immeasurable solitude, and a treacherous, ever-shifting landscape where one wrong step into a crevasse could end their journey or even their lives. Fortunately for most travellers, a trip to Antarctica will be more pleasure than pain and will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
It’s been a while since our last RTW update about travelling through Peru so here is our post about what to do in Bolivia. The country blew us away with its diversity, amazing natural scenery, and super fun adventurous pursuits. We made friends with parrots and coatis at a wildlife sanctuary, hiked to our highest height yet, played with perspective on the world’s largest salt flats, and survived the famous death road among other exciting things. Bolivia is an incredible place to visit and somewhere we would love to explore again.
You probably don’t want to hear this but Christmas is around the corner and with that it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your friends and family. We love spending time in the great outdoors and the mountains so we figured we’d put together a list of the best gifts for hikers. If your loved one is like us we’ve got you covered with some great gift ideas!
Bolivia’s Cordillera Real (or royal range) is an unrivalled destination for trekking in South America and exploring this mountain range is one of the best things to do in Bolivia. We hiked the Cordillera Real for 8 days, finishing by summiting Huayna Potosi
The 125km Andean mountain range rises to the southeast of Lake Titicaca and some of its glaciated peaks can be seen from Bolivia’s exciting capital La Paz. If you’re looking for some high altitude fun without the crowds seen in other parts of South America, the Cordillera Real are for you.