My name is Toms Pavils, but you can call me Tom. I am a traveller, dreamer, vegetarian, non-smoker, nondrinker, apple-eater and an occasional misanthrope in his early twenties. Originally, I come from a small seaside town called Liepaja, which is in western Latvia. But in this blog you, the reader, can find out more about my most ambitious adventure yet – a backpacking trip around South America that I did from February to December 2015! When I started it, I had no return ticket (but had high hopes of hitching a boat back to Europe), and I knew that this trip was going to be amazing!
Why was I doing it? Because sometimes, you simply have to see the beauty of the world for yourself. And, for 7 years having dreamt of one day visiting Machu Picchu, that eventually became that major something that influenced me most to start this adventure.
Anyone can get a plane ticket straight to Peru, right? Right! And that’s why I first explored a bit of the southern part of this continent, namely, Argentina and Chile, before moving north to Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. But don’t get me wrong. Yes, I was trying to visit some of the major landmarks and biggest attractions there, but it was NOT a typical sightseeing travel trip.
My desirable way of travelling was hitchhiking, and I am also a big advocate of slow travel. Therefore, I was using “Workaway” as my main means of getting to know locals and the countries I was visiting. And, of course, as a way of saving money too. I was travelling on a shoestring, so I was also using Couchsurfing to differentiate my experiences there.
When I started, I was not entirely sure how long my trip was going to last for because I had embarked on a trip with no finishing date. But, due to different circumstances, I changed my plans a few times, and in the end, instead of a boat, I found a flight back home from São Paulo, Brazil, on the 4th of December 2015, landing at the International Airport in Riga, the capital of Latvia, on December 6 – exactly 10 months after starting the journey.
So exactly what did I see/do during my trip?
Apart from visiting such major tourist attractions as Iguazu Falls (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia), the biggest salt flats in the world, I also visited Torres del Paine National Park (Chile), one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, almost drowned in my own tent in Argentina, experienced the eruption of Volcano Calbuco (Chile), did sandboarding in the desert oasis of Huacachina, Peru, had 3 remarkable “Workaway” experiences, had 3 boat rides into the Amazon Rainforest, and did much, much more.
And did I see it in the end? The famous Machu Picchu? The reason for going there in the first place?
What is the most important lesson I have learned from my trip?
It’s that travelling is not just about seeing other countries and experiencing other cultures. It is about sharing with what we see and do, to show others how achievable it can actually be.
And perhaps, just perhaps, this blog will also inspire others to embark on their own remarkable journeys.
Tom the SuperTramp