Day one of a long trip in a brand new country can be kind of intimidating. I woke up thinking something along the lines of: “Oh s#!t what do I do now?!” This is one issue with unconventional travel – there’s no itinerary and no one to handle logistics for you. The up-side is that […]
Day one of a long trip in a brand new country can be kind of intimidating. I woke up thinking something along the lines of: “Oh s#!t what do I do now?!” This is one issue with unconventional travel – there’s no itinerary and no one to handle logistics for you. The up-side is that there’s no itinerary and no one handling your logistics for you.
My first logistical steps were to change my money, get a SIM card, and buy a bottle of Clorox.
Pro Tip for traveling in underdeveloped countries on an extreme budget: buy a bottle of Clorox, and an eyedropper.
Outdoor sports stores like REI will have a solid selection of water purifiers and filters, at different price points (REI is on the high end). Local stores will often sell bottled water. If you don’t pony up for a purifier and want to save money on bottled water, buy an eyedropper before you leave, and a small bottle of Clorox once you get to your destination.
Two drops per liter, shake, leave it for 15 minutes, and you have clean water (with one exception – a certain kind of parasite must also be filtered). I drank water purified this way for two years in the Peace Corps and only got amoebas once (that’s pretty good, for Peace Corps)! As I write this, I’m happily sipping from a liter of clean water that tastes much better than a swimming pool.
As far as phones go, most major local carriers now have SIM cards and plans that can be plugged into an unlocked smart phone, which appear to be ubiquitous among backpackers. I happened to keep my cheap-o phone from my service in Panama, so I just bought a new chip and was ready to rock in under 10 minutes.
Besides these fascinating logistical struggles (which are mentally and emotionally significant at the time), I also managed to eat a large amount of rice (welcome to Latin America!) and walk the Malecon La Reserva de Miraflores. Not much to say about it that these pictures can’t, so I’ll let them speak for me: