Travelling of course gets you immune to being dirty. But as my mum has always said :
- I can not believe you are my daughter, you are never, ever spotless; always messy.
Which is true as most of you know, so for me nothing has really changed there. Apart from my phobia for hair in the bathroom is gone.
Was invented to be your saviour in most situations. Most of my stuff is now somehow fixed with it, I know it is not aesthetically pleasing to everyone, but Mr M, this is something I can not stop.
One thing I was worried about before travelling for this long was staying in hostels and how dirty some of them are. Well as I already have touched on this subject and as I am not sure how low my cleanliness criteria has become since I exclaimed after visiting a Mc D bano a few days ago: wow that was so clean, all I can say is: use earplugs and eye patch and you are fine.
A friend of mine believe I have a great gift: I can fall asleep literally everywhere. This has helped me enormously , especially travelling through Argentina and Chile ,where I have been able to sleep on buses during the night and arrive at a new exciting spot in the morning. If you are one of the unlucky ones who turn the whole night in the comfortable "cama" buses, well: you can add double the travel time it is written in Lonely Planet as you will need to catch up on sleep every other day, oops sorry.
Having met a few people during my trip who did not think twice about complaining about food, people, state of cleanliness: you name it, or just had a negative outlook on life overall has had the opposite effect on me: It made me promise myself to try my hardest to never fall into a bad mood habit during my trip and if for whatever reason I did: all I needed was to count my luck and I would be happy again and honestly it has worked. I can not remember when I last had any negative feelings. And that makes you feel good.
My mum just told me I looked healthy in one of the pictures I sent, I know what that meams. Last time she said that I had been living in LA for months and had gain so much weight I had gone up one clothes size. South American food is not the healthiest.
On a serious note:
Before travelling, I thought I was one of those divine people who don't judge people just upon meeting them. Oh, how wrong I was. We all do! but somehow these months have taught me that I am the one who lose out by doing that, SO MUCH. We all play the: Oh," I am so interesting role" when we meet someone new and are only concerned by how we come across ourselves, so how can we rightly judge the other person when we can not even remember their name a minute after having been introduced. Yes, I am exaggerating I know but the point I am trying to make is that I have met so many people whom I was not half interested to talk to, then met them again somewhere else and realized that person had once again challenged all my perceptions of what an interesting person look/talk/act like.
As most of you know, reading is a big part of who I am, and one of my still existing phobias is not having a book to fall asleep with.
Another one is not having enough information ie guide books of the place I am going to.
This can be a bit of a problem when you are carrying your whole life on your back:
Upon leaving Cusco I did not realize how many guidebooks/books I had amassed, so when I got into the taxi, my back suddenly made an awful noise and I realized I was back to where I was a few months ago when I had the surfing incident. So being a very unlucky girl...hihi, I have had to rely on lots of kind men to carry my oh still so heavy backpack.
Vino, vino and vino
Don't do a bike and wine tour around the beautiful Mendoza wine district and follow it up with a bus tour and a hike at the Aconcagua mountain (7000 metres) the next day. Just don't.
Is worth more than gold in Bolivia, make sure that you bring lots across the border.
Will also mean a lot to you in Bolivia, believe me. But as you are usually on a high altitude there, the water boils at 85 C. This means that the "tea" will look and taste like dishwater, a good tip is to microwave it after brewing it.
Don't overestimate the quality of a fake North Face/Columbia/Mountain hard wear jacket.
Base layers were invented for a very good reason.
Is nearly all bad. I know of a few people who will disagree.
I have not watched any TV whatsoever for many months, and before leaving, I did not watch much either for many months. Looking back at this period I realize how many hours of my life that I have saved to do some amazing things and tell me when was the last time you said that about your tv watching? wow that was an amazing tv watching night! But I admit that there are some really interesting tv shows, and great nature programs, the problem is all the time wasted in between. Scary how quick time passes whilst watching that crap.
Flying the flag
During the rougher parts of my trip, in more extreme weather conditions etc I have noticed that the "advanced looking" travellers were mostly wearing Swedish labels! This really surprised me as I have always thought that clothes from more exotic locations like hm...Canada and US had to be best for outdoors activities. After some investigation and asking travellers why they had chosen those labels they all answered that they were the best you could find, in the whole world! That they were always adviced to buy Swedish if they wanted the best quality but it was usually sold out in their respective countries.
Another thing I noticed during my trip was how many people I have met so many raving about Sweden and Norway and trying to get me into the conversation. But embarrasingly I have had no comments as I only have seen 1/5 of my home country.... So I am planning to see the whole of my country geared up in Swedish quality!
Getting some affection
The chances are very slim of a south american animal having rabies, so make sure you get to know the locals, not only the humans. Unfortunately sometimes they have been a bit starved and will follow you until you leave the place, that can be a bit heartbreaking.