Ahhhh South America.
(Disclaimer: When I refer to South America, I refer to Peru & Bolivia. Unfortunately I’ve only explored this very small, but fantastic, portion of the larger continent.)

I begin again: Ahhhh South America. You are beautiful. You have SO MUCH CORN. You have wonderful people, and your little girls are awe-stricken by my blonde, curly hair to the point where they just stroke it and say things to me in Spanish that I do not understand. But hey, a smile is understood regardless of what language you’re speaking.

Yeah, big guy. It's nice to meet you too.

Yeah, big guy. It’s nice to meet you too.

Your views are magnificent. Your history is fascinating. Your people are friendly, and their smiles unwavering. Your meals, however, need more fresh vegetables.

I had been travelling in Peru & Bolivia for three weeks when my digestive system had finally had it. Something in Bolivia triggered sickness, and I have reason to believe it was a lack of fresh vegetables. Plentiness of corn aside, my body was aching for the nutrients I had been taking for granted in Australia. Huge meals of meat, quinoa, potato and corn had not been nourishing my body. Far from it, actually.

After the most amazing three-day tour of Salar de Uyuni and the desert in Bolivia’s south (Side-note: go to the Bolivian desert. It is absolutely magnificent.), I was feeling mentally refreshed. Having just experienced physical injury, my mental health had been in need of some clearer air and quieter spaces. Four-wheel driving through the Bolivian desert was just what the metaphorical doctor had ordered: spending time with new friends, checking out vast spaces, and experiencing the brilliance of stars in the sky untainted by city lights and pollution. (I suppose the high elevation didn’t hurt, either.)

Towards the end of that particular tour, I started feeling a bit queasy. My stomach was in knots. My roommate had just been sick and I felt as though I may be coming down with something, too. Boy, was I right!

In the next few days, I found out just how useful waterproof jackets with hoods are when one is on a packed bus being driven by a lunatic in South America that’s taking corners like they’re straights. Very useful. So useful, in fact, that they hold vomit rather well. I also found out that even though one can be quite attached to a pair of undies (or three), one may have no qualms in throwing them out.

RIP, wonderful jacket. You did the Inca Trail and you held vomit well. I hope you enjoy the Bolivian roadside.

RIP, wonderful jacket. You did the Inca Trail and you held vomit well. I hope you enjoy the Bolivian roadside.

That’s right. I vomited in my jacket and left it by the side of the road. And I crapped myself. Twice.

The first was in my sleep, so I feel as though I can be forgiven for that. It wasn’t even that bad – only a slight smear. The second was when I was in the hallway of a rather swanky-looking hotel.

I could only achieve a wifi connection out in the hallway. Luckily for me, there were some rather comfortable chairs right outside our door and I’d been travelling long enough for me not to care if anyone saw me in my pyjamas, socks and a new knitted jumper I’d recently acquired. I was in my comfy zone.

And that was my downfall.

I was so comfortable that I had forgotten I had just been rather sick. So, when the feeling came, I went with it. I let one rip. Only, it didn’t rip. It felt a bit odd. At first, I thought it was just a hot fart. Boy, was I wrong. I stood up, very slowly. I have no idea why, but instead of going straight to the bathroom, I decided that I would – there in the hallway – check. It was confirmed. I had sharted. I had literally just shat myself in a hallway of a hotel. And I had not even bothered to go into my room to check.

I feel like the story almost needs to end there. You know all you need to know. I shat myself in a hallway. In Bolivia. After weeks of not enough nutrients. The odd thing, though, is that as I reflect on my South American trip, all I can really think of is that that is one of my highlights. I’m just that sort of person: I think it’s hilarious.

Needless to say, those undies were thrown away quite quickly.

But how could I have been more prepared for it? Never trust a fart.

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Mate, who am i?

(I ask myself the same thing)

Travelling can be really hard when you never feel like you're prepared. But, the more I do it the more I realise that being unprepared is the best way to travel. I’m Rowena. I live with depression and an anxiety disorder, which inspires a lot of my writing. My first reaction is to over-pack, over-worry, freak out, and give myself a headache. I’m consciously rebelling against that.

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