Like you can read in the title this tiny post will be about a few habits I formed during my travels in South America – and that I will need to break as soon as I land on European soil again. Not that I am thinking about coming home yet, in fact we are just at our half point of our travels and I feel this time passed way too fast, even though we saw and learned so many things already. Whatever – I will get right to it now! :-)
Being able to relax about everything
I don’t know about German trains – because they always seem to be late – but in general Austrian trains, buses or anything else goes pretty much on time. Living in a pretty remote area I had to rely on a bus per hour maximum that brought me somewhere else than my home village. Missed the last bus at 6:20 pm to get home? Well, you’re f**ked. Being punctual and on time is one huge part of our culture. People don’t like other people being late and keeping them waiting. And anyone who knows me a little better, I am just one of those people that entitle themselves with a few extra minutes. Long story, short: I pretty much always arrive late, run for buses, start getting ready when people are already at my house to pick me up. Not so good to live in a society that sets great value on punctuality, but that bad trait made it quite easy for me to get used to the easiness of everything happening in Bolivia or Peru for example. You need to catch a bus? Just go to the bus station. There is a big chance a bus is leaving to wherever you want to go within the next half hour – if it is not more than a 12 hour ride. ;-) Buses are the main means of transportation which explains why they go so frequently and at the same time ridiculously cheap. The same goes for short-distance rides where you can usually catch a colectivo. Most of the times different directions have individual “stations” that in fact could be considered bigger parking spaces next to the main roads. Colectivos fit from 6 to 15 people. When they’re full they go. As easy as that! No hurry to catch a bus or even being concerned about any timetables. I think that’s pretty cool and it had definitely made our travels so much more relaxed and enjoyable.
Another point is the whole hostel situation. We used to pre-book hostel rooms on the internet so we would know what we would get beforehand. In Bolivia this turned out to be a horrible idea because hostels just doubled their prices online. So I had to let go of my “I-have-to-plan-out-everything”-self and had to get used to get to places without knowing where to spend the night and look for a place to sleep yet. Turns out this is the smartest thing to do. You can look at your room, check out the wifi quality (don’t judge, having good working wifi to call your parents it’s nice to have sometimes), and bargain the price. It’s a little tiring after the third place, so you’ll take the best offer anyway. So far we only had one single place that didn’t have rooms available anymore – everyone else was happy to have us. So don’t be afraid of not finding a place to sleep, there is no such thing as “booked out”.
Well, I think it must have been a few decades or ago where this was still commonly acceptable in Europe. If still today, then only at one of those farmers markets. Especially with all the supermarket chains, all prices are set in stone. Actually, I like that a lot better so I know with what I am dealing with. Going to a market or kiosk in Bolivia is a whole bunch of work. No price tags means asking for the price of every single product and evaluating if it’s actually worth that much. I think I have mentioned this before but some local vendors do get pretty excited when tourists come in and they can rip them off and take advantage of their unknowing. So for us it has somehow also become a kind of fun task to do and bargain prices down from time to time. Only because we know, there is always a lower price. Vendors sometimes lower the price from their side without us even asking for it, I would only translate the offer to my boyfriend in German and they would go down. Don’t get me wrong, we of course like to pay for sincere offers but a 10 km cab ride there and back for around €22 is just too much of a good thing.
Going to bed early
In fact this is not something I would like to quit when coming back. Sleep is awesome! However, the situation is a little bit different. I also get up super early – super early for a vacation at least. The reason is that the sun doesn’t quite go with a “normal” sleeping-cycle as we know it. In Cusco at the moment it starts to be day earlier than 6 am in the morning when sunset being around 5:30 pm. I guess Peru is somehow in the wrong time zone. We kind of adapted to the difference and usually go to bed at 9:30 or 10 but that also resulted in getting up way earlier than usual. It is a nightmare for me when it comes to time zone change anyway, so I hope I can ease myself into the central European time again.
Getting delicious fruits and vegetables for ridiculously cheap prices
I am so In love with all the offering here in South America regarding fruits and vegetables. I think I have never tasted mangoes, grapes and mandarins as sweet as they are here. Most of them are huge, too and cost close to nothing. There is also a range of fruits that I didn’t know before. But I guess that is a different topic. One of these goodies is that avocados are extremely common here and good quality avocados are easy to get. One of our go-to meals is avocado sandwich! Delicious! Thanks to this situation we decided to go “half-vegan”, I’d say. We are not overly serious about it, but are not buying any meat or dairy products by ourselves. Having a kitchen at the moment makes everything more convenient. But when we go out to eat in a restaurant we end up getting something non-vegan most of the times, just because there is not much choice! :-( I still hope we can keep up this diet when we are back home and I hope I can take some fruits home with me! :-)
Not wearing good ol’ make-up
I have never been this girl to wear a full face of make-up and my everyday look consisted of concealer and mascara. However, at the moment I go without any make-up for 95% of the times and I think it is great! I feel like there are just so many other things that are way more important than that. I am in the nature or at least outside the house more than half of the day, so I would go my natural way too. In my opinion there is no need to make yourself “look better” if you already feel good the way you are. And that’s what happens with me at the moment! :-) I still like to get ready for some occasions but I don’t have the need to do it every day.
Okay, so I am leaving you off with this now, going to enjoy the remainder of my trip. ;-) I was happy to share my thoughts with some of you.