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Patrick & Cécile’s trip across South America: blending adventure and volunteering
Because Patrick & Cécile never get enough of travelling, they intend to begin 2017 by setting off on a trip across South America. Both teachers, they enjoy sharing their adventures on travel4lifeblog.com. Before leaving, this French-Australian couple explains how they caught the travel bug!
You know all about travel and expat life... How come?
I am a bit of a late starter with regards to travelling and living overseas, but better late than never. My first trip was to Vietnam in 2004 and ever since then I haven't stopped. The travel bug really started with my parents who both loved exploring the world. I clearly remember as a kid looking at travel diaries that my mum had from her trip to Europe in the 1960s and being transfixed by her drawing and stories. My dad also travelled a lot in his youth and moved to Australia from the UK in the late 60s. I followed his footsteps, in reverse, and moved from Australia to London in 2005.
Since then, it has been a bit of a personal challenge to visit as many countries as I can. I have currently set foot in 66 countries and can't wait to add to my tally in 2017 when Cecile and I go to South America. Living in London was also a great experience, although with thousands of Australians there it didn't always feel like I was an expat. I will always have a soft spot for London in my heart and it is an excellent place to base yourself when you want to do lots of travelling in Europe.
You are about to explore a continent... Which countries are you especially impatient to visit?
South America has always been on the bucket list and I can't wait to explore EVERYWHERE! There are some obvious places that I am very excited about: Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, but I'm sure we will come across some unknown areas as well that will be awesome. We have heard some amazing things about the culture, landscapes and people in Columbia, so this is also an area we are impatient to visit.
During your trip, you intend to lend a hand. More info please!
Cecile and I are SO keen to do some volunteering work while we are in South America. As we are both teachers, hopefully we can find a school somewhere that will let us come in and help out, but we are not too fussy about what we do. We would be happy to do some woofing or work on a project for an NGO or international agency. Having heard a few bad stories about companies that try and scam volunteers, we are going to wait and see what we can find when we get there rather than organizing anything beforehand. It is so important to immerse yourself in the local life when you travel and what better way to do this than volunteering.
What are the 5 things you wouldn't dream of missing during this trip?
Number 1 would have to be Carnival in Brazil. The sights, costumes and music are going to be amazing, and that's not even mentioning the partying that is going to happen. Number 2 is the Inca trail and trekking up to Machu Picchu. Even though this is going to be very touristy, it is a must see. Number 3 is visiting Patagonia. Everyone we meet that has visited South America in the past raves about Patagonia and hopefully we can get as far south as we can in both Argentina and Chile. Number 4 is the Salt Lakes in Bolivia. We will undoubtedly do the clichéd jumping photo, but in terms of natural beauty, this is the place to see. Number 5 would be The Amazon. This could be a push, but hopefully we will make it. A slow boat down the river really appeals to us and to see and experience how huge this river is would be amazing.