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travelling south america

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean travelling south america

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21. Posted by xcape (Budding Member 15 posts) 9y

Hi

Wow reading these posts has kinda got me anxious about travelling by myself. I am a very independent 32 year old woman who I'd like to think knows how to take care of herself. However I have not travelled by myself for a great length of time.

I have lived in London all my life and know that bad things can happen anywhere in the world.

I guess the key is to be sensible and try to not put yourself in risky situations.

Samsara can ask if you speak spanish? One of my concerns is that the language barrier may make me vulnerable. Or am I just being paranoid?

22. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 9y

Quoting xcape

Wow reading these posts has kinda got me anxious about travelling by myself. I am a very independent 32 year old woman who I'd like to think knows how to take care of herself. However I have not travelled by myself for a great length of time.

I have lived in London all my life and know that bad things can happen anywhere in the world.

I guess the key is to be sensible and try to not put yourself in risky situations

Hi xcape!

I think you actually answered your own questions ....

1. You're right - bad things can happen anywhere in the world
2. Of course, you should always be sensible and try not to put yourself in risky situations

... but as you said - you are a very independant woman who obviously has some common sense about herself!

Look at the posts on this thread (particularly samsara's post about the canadian girl) as inspiring rather than scary... it's a reminder to us all to take care and even more importantly to look out for each other on the road. What was encouraging to me, was that the canadian was strong enough to keep on travelling and not let this bad experience ruin everything.

I absolutely LOVED SA - so much so that's I'm working on heading back there next year to spend 6 months travelling. I wouldn't miss it for the world and my advice would be the same as everyone elses' has been... be smart, but don't be afraid!

23. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

Absolutely! I'm planning on heading back there again too :) There was just so much I didnt get to see and do, even during 7 months there.
I second Koalagirl and I'm glad that she's understood what i was trying to get across.

No-one wants to scare anyone else into not travelling somewhere. I for one was very glad of help and advice from fellow travellers when I was planning my own trip.

Chances are you will get through South America without any negative experiences! And any little ones that may occur just dont matter in the bigger scheme of things. It's South America, and it's utterly intoxicating. I can say that it has completely gotten under my skin and I'm longing for the day when I can go back.

I could sit here and write a ridiculously long post about the good points of South America, but the post was about safety. I certainly dont mean to put anyone off. ;) Here;s something which shows you both the good and bad in one experience (and might indicate why I have the opinions I do) :

I was walking down the Alameda (the main artery) in Santiago at about 5 o'clock one SUnday evening with a group of three other people. We were coming back from the bus station where we had just bought our bus tickets to leave for Mendoza the following day. The street was full of Sunday shoppers all out browsing the stalls lining the sides of the street. I was walking along slowly with another girl chatting about something when I felt a sudden sharp yank and watched a boy disappear into the crowd with my bag. It had been around my body inside my zipped up jacket, but he still managed to get it. As I realized what had happened I yelled at people to stop him. Suddenly, this tall guy appeared and asked me which direction the boy went and he just took off running. I stood there, feeling sick, as I realized that I had a lot of important stuff in my bag that evening. Two minutes later, i saw him coming back through the crowd. He handed me my bag with EVERYTHING still in it. And I mean, everything...down to the last cent. I tried to thank him as best I could but he didnt even want to stick around for that. He and his girlfriend just smiled at me and walked away. While I was standing there with my friends recovering from the shock of it all, the same boy reappeared, grabbed the bag a SECOND time and ran!!! But this time, the whole crowd ont he street, having seen what happend the first time, stopped him AGAIN!

A lot of people I met can't believe that story, but it was one of those times were you felt really moved that a stranger went out of his way to help you like that. So, you can see that while there are those who will try to rob you or scam you in SA, there are also those lovely people who will put themselves out to look after you. :)

Warm fuzzies for a long time after that experience ;)

24. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

Xcape,

I didnt have a word of Spanish when I arrived in Lima and I got by just fine. So will you ;)

25. Posted by xcape (Budding Member 15 posts) 9y

Thanks Samsara! That's a bit reassuring. Think I'll still enrol in a spanish school as it seems to be a great way of meeting people and learning the language.

I totally hear what ya saying. Things like what you experienced really does restore one's faith in human nature.

As I have said before bad things can happen anywhere. I have had my bag and my purse stolen in London. Both events happened in bars. You just learn to always have your wits about you.

Anyway back to the positives. I know that I am going to have fantastic time. Reading about everyones experiences makes it all the more exciting.

So Samsara if you manage to make it back to CA/SA between Aug 07 and Mar 08, may bump into you!!!:)

Post 26 was removed by a moderator
27. Posted by miromar (Respected Member 175 posts) 9y

Hi guys,

I really have enjoyed reading this thread, and I really appreciate all the comments you made!

I will be travelling to SA in June for three months by myself, and it is my first time doing so, im really excited! But also a little bit concern with the security issues. I was in Rio for three days last year alone and the experience was so good that reassured me when making my decision of going travelling.

I found it was really hard for my parents and friends to understand it though, Im originally from Spain, and it is not as common for a woman to travel solo as it is in some other countries. Like you said before, shit happens everywhere, so keeping few safety tips in mind and being responsible, I cant see why I shouldnt go! Also, I believe in what is meant to happen to you, it does happen wherever you are (besides I probably have more possibilities of being mugged here in London anyway...)

Thanks very much guys for sharing your experiences, they can be scary, but they help people like me that are new to the whole travelling solo thing to understand the whole picture ;)

x x Miromar x x

PS. Said that, I must confess I havent been able to tell my grandparent the truth just yet, so in their eyes Im going with a big group of people ( it is only a tiny white lie... )

28. Posted by CanadaKid (Full Member 71 posts) 9y

What most of the replies have said are absolutley right. As long you are aware, and use common sense. Many of the things we heard about south america before we left were very wrong in terms of safety in cities. Pay attention to the locals. If there are lot of locals out and about then it usually isn't a problem. But if the sun goes down, and everybody dissapears (which happens amazingly fast in a couple of places) you might want to do the same.

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