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A Kat's Tale: Keeping up with Katryna

Seven days until a Pisco Sour!

CANADA | Wednesday, 7 January 2015 | Views [352] | Comments [1]

Seven days.

Not “The Ring” creepy-dead-girl-crawling-out-of-a-well-to-haunt-you-and-kill-you version. You weirdos.

Seven days until I depart from Canada!

One week. I have one week to finish preparing for a massive life change.  Since the excitement of Christmas and New Years passed, I have been trying to figure out what I’ll actually bring with me. Now, I’m not one who would describe myself as particularly materialistic, but if there is anything that can get me to admit I have WAY too much stuff for one person…it’s attempting to pack only what I absolutely need into ONE bag.

I’ve looked at countless travel blogs: read seasoned backpackers’ explanations of their bag size, how they managed to fit everything they took with them for a round-the-world-trip in a 35 litre backpack, what they found the most useful items to be, what to leave behind, and so on. I’ve bookmarked and Pinterest-ed many “what to pack” lists, photos included. I’ve read Lonely Planet chapters. I even resorted to several forums of obscure backpacker/traveler websites that I didn’t know existed. I asked The Google Gods what to pack for teaching English overseas, what to pack for traveling South America, what to pack for hiking Machu Picchu, what to pack for visiting the Galapagos Islands, what to pack for checking out Patagonia, what the best kind of bag for backpacking is, if I should bring a sleeping bag or just a sleep sack, if it’s worth it to bring hiking boots and runners or if I should just pick one and get over it, and the list continues. I searched Amazon for items marked as critical by other backpackers. By this point it should be fairly obvious that the Internet swallowed me into its dark recesses for several days as I frantically searched for as much information as I could possibly lay my hands on. I thought I had it pretty figured out, after doing my due diligence in researching the topic…until I started pulling items out of their respective places in my room and piling them onto my bed.

Several lists told me that a scarf is an essential travel item. Well, okay, I have scarves- that should be easy enough.  I pulled out the box from under my bed that holds outdoor gear and started sorting through it. Well, what kind of scarf? A cozy, knit one? A lightweight one that could be used as a head scarf or shawl? A large, warm one? And what color? What pattern? Should I take two? I’ll be experiencing all seasons and all climates in my travels! How can I possibly pick one? I’m sure you can guess how the thought process went when I tried to pick one pair of gloves, one hat, only three pairs of footwear…in short, I believe this is the ultimate test of a true adventurer: leave behind damn near everything you own and go only with what you can carry on your back.

What complicates this whole process even more is that I’m not simply backpacking South America. While I will be doing the exciting, adventurous, tourist-type things, I’m also going to be spending a lot of time in the professional world. I need to bring school/work appropriate attire as well as the typical traveling and hiking gear. In much of South America, Peru especially, people don’t dress shabbily. Even the poorest still dress as nicely as they can. Class is much more prevalent than in our society; it would be absurd to purposefully walk around wearing ripped jeans or a t-shirt, for example. I’m the epitome of a slob when I don’t feel like putting effort in to appearance and I could usually care less about leaving my house in old jeans and a hoodie. I’m the girl who works out of town in remote locations for months on end, with a wardrobe containing nearly exclusively Carhartt-brand work clothes and steel-toed boots.  I love my sweatpants.

This will be a bit of a change for me.

Change is good, though! So while I am sitting here, reflecting on how I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to decide what to bring, I need to keep that in mind. Nothing is permanent, anyway. Mail exists. Stores exist. If something isn’t working out for me, I can ditch it on the road. If I really need something I don’t have, I can get it shipped from home (thanks in advance, Mom!) or buy it there.  It really isn’t as big of a deal as it seems to be at this point in time, and I think that as my adventures begin I will become more comfortable with my limited choices. Besides, if I don’t have something I need, that just means I get to buy it, right? Shopping!! Shopping in foreign countries!! Shopping in large artisan markets surrounded by new sights and smells and experiences!!

Once I have it figured out I’ll post a list (maybe even with a photo) of what made the cut, to quench your curiosity. I know you’re all dying to know just how many shirts I’ll manage to squeeze into my bag. One can never have too many cute tops…

I’ve managed to ramble on about packing for the majority of this entry (surprise), so I feel I should add a few more thoughts before closing. One thing I am really looking forward to is the food. Some of you may not know, but over the past five years or so Peruvian food has really made its way into the international food limelight. There are a multitude of restaurants run by world-famous chefs, with CHEAP prices compared to what North American and European countries charge.  The first three days of my trip will be spent in Lima before I fly to Cusco, and Lima is where a lot of these restaurants are. Guess what I’ll be doing! Besides the food, it’s been years since I’ve had a good Pisco Sour. Literally, the last time I had a good one was IN Peru, in 2011. Either bars don’t have Pisco in Canada or when they do, they really can’t make the drink properly. Either way it’s a disappointing experience to try and have Peru’s national drink in Canada. I think that will be one of the first stops I make while wandering around Lima! I can see it now: a nice restaurant patio, with an ocean view, sipping a delicious Pisco Sour while reading a novel. Heaven.

The other thing I am excited for is meeting my host family. I am doing a homestay in Cusco while I’m taking the TEFL program (it’s all arranged through the school) and this will be the first time I’ve ever done so. A whole month of living with complete strangers- I’m excited to adopt even more people into my family circle! One of my main goals is to become fluent in Spanish, so I am hoping that living with a Peruvian family will really help speed up the process through maximizing my immersion in the language.  Can’t wait!

Here I am, a week away from departing this beautiful home land of mine, and I can’t help but think of the places I’m going to see, the people I’m going to meet, the adventures I’m going to have, and the experiences I’ll never forget. I’m excited to be able to share it with you all.

¡Hasta la vista, amigos!

Tags: adventure, anticipation, excitement, food, packing, struggle

Comments

1

Yes-I really want to know what made the cut! You will have such wonderful adventures. 7-6-5-4...

  Susan Smith Jan 7, 2015 4:40 PM

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