If you’ve read my introductory post, you’ll know about why and how I’m on the gap year as a rule (lucky you!). But I also wanted to include some posts about my first big trip, in Latin America. So here we are! More about why I’m going and what I’ll be doing out there.
Part 1: Why I’m going
I’ve always wanted to go to South America – in my head, it’s something of a whirlwind of noises, colours, dances, and crazy cultures . I also think that as English speakers we as a rule romanticise Spain and the Spanish language, and that’s definitely the case for me. Or at least, I certainly was in love with the Spanish way of life while living there. So maybe that’s a factor – I guess I’m just a big old hispanophile (I checked and it is a word!).
This fascination only grew while living in Spain, actually. I would really quite often hear Latinoamérica being referred to as some kind of mythical body – and those Spanish people had been to the individual countries would wax lyrical about what they found; the variations in Spanish spoken there, the differing cultural attitudes, the different way of life. Also, the most popular form of commercial music in Spain (or at the very least, the one that was played in every club, shop and even bus) is reggaeton, which hails from Latin America! With its simple (albeit admittedly usually misogynist) lyrics, distinctive sound and happy laid-back feel, it is hard to resist and quickly became one of my favourite genres. This kind of cultural presence of South America even in Spain made me even more determined to go! (On a side note, considering all but Brazil are directly linked with the ex-Spanish empire, I find it interesting that the Spanish seem to have a completely different relationship with Latin America than the UK do with British ex-colonies).
I’m also lucky in that I have parents who are extremely well-travelled, which means that they are not only supportive of my plans, but also that I hear about the places they’ve visited and they too give me #travelgoals! I am very proud to have parents who saw so much of the world together before I came along. I often joke about how not even 2 months after I was packed off to uni, my parents started up with their exploring again! Actually, the first place that they went to (while I was still recovering from the freshers’ flu and getting to grips with my hectic uni schedule of 8 hours a week) was Peru. I’m fairly sure that was the first time they’d been away without me and I was more than a bit envious at their tales (and pictures) of the Andes, of alpacas and llamas, of friendly locals decked in traditional dress, and knowledgeable guides opening up the ancient world of the Incas to them. So – I guess it now makes sense as to why I’m spending 3 out of my 10 weeks away in Peru!!
If you are interested in knowing more, you can see part 2 – my travel schedule itself – here.