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10 Jan


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My adventures in South America

10 January 2018 | By | No Comments

Bertrand has been travelling in South America for 1 year by bike and STD 100 trailer. We have asked him some questions about his experience.
bike trailer
What is your everyday budget for such a trip ?

“I don’t really have a daily spending limit. I left with a certain amount and it should last for about 3 years. It is quite difficult to imagine how much you will spend as each country has a different cost of living. After 1 year, I have spent about 500€ a month, knowing that I spent 90 days on the bike and the rest was surfing and climbing mountains.
This implies that for 8 to 9 months, my living cost was much higher as I had to pay for lodgings. On the bike I sleep outside or at the firemen, churches, etc… I only have to spend money on food.

For 2018, my living cost will be reduced as I will spend more time on the bike.”

When is the end of the trip planned ? Do you think you’ll go back to la Rochelle when your trip is over ?

“I think the end of the trip should be in Autumn 2019. And I don’t think I’ll go back to my place. When you leave like that, you make new experiences and meet new people everyday. You evolve and grow up all the time.
In what I call “the life before”, these experiences were rare, you don’t evolve so fast.

Coming back is always a shock, as you feel like nothing has changed around you, whereas you are totally different.

The rest of the trip is planned this way :

3 months in Peru enjoying the mountains with 2 big breaks at Huaraz and Cusco for hiking and climbing.

Then Bolivia for 2 months where I’ll climb Huayna Potosi and Illimnai (2 peaks at 6000m).

Finally 1 year in Argentina, stopping at El Chalten to work for 4 months during the summer. In February or March 2019, I will be in South Patagonia and will reach Ushuaia and the end of the famous Ruta 40. ”

What was your job before you left ?

“I had been working for 7 years in a little company of 25 people at Périgny (close to La Rochelle), specialized in the design of high and very high pressure equipment. I was an engineer in mechanical design. It was very interesting but the need to travel was stronger.”

Have you already thought about your next project ?

“During this trip I had the chance to travel by boat from Panama to Colombia and I must admit that a boat trip will be one of the projects in my life but I need some money for that.

When I’m going back, I’ll work for a few months in Switzerland and then I’ll go with my brother and his truck in East Europe, enjoying some skiing and hiking.”

What does travelling mean to you ?

“I’m living a life I chose, I enjoy new experiences every day, I see things in a more positive way, even in situations that might seem tricky, I meet beautiful people, I learn all the time, learn to communicate. I discover myself and my hidden skills.
Travelling makes you richer, opens your eyes, ears, frees your spirit, gives you energy !”

Which country did you enjoy the most so far ?

“It’s not really the country, it’s the experiences you lived there and the people you met.
I’m a big fan of Mexico. People are super cool and the country is rich with history, culture, landscapes, colours.
Guatemala is also rich with history and culture. My experience with the people there was different, I didn’t feel such energy when I crossed it.

Nicaragua is full of history, varied landscapes. I surfed a lot there.

Costa Rica is a holiday destination, life is more expensive there. But this country gathers 3 to 5% of the world bio-diversity, so it’s beautiful to see.

Colombia is very pleasant. I had the nicest bike experience there.

To sum up :

· Good atmosphere with the bike : Columbia

· Where I could easily stay for a long time : Mexico

· To chill and surf : Nicaragua & Mexico

· Tourism : Costa

· Tourism with history and cultural sites : Guatemala

· A little of everything (mountain, surf, kite) : Equador

· The people : Columbia & Mexico

Do you think the same trip could be made by a girl alone ?

“OBVIO !!!! (Obviously in Spanish)

Yes, I think a bike trip can be made by most of us. The bike is a means of transport but also helps to communicate. People on the road are curious and very positive. This helps to generate a situation of trust. And we’re far from what is being told about these countries.

As a man, I certainly meet less situations where I should be careful but girls have an easier contact with the local people.
You should always keep your eyes and ears open and communicate. Learning the language is one of the keys for a good trip.

I meet girls a lot on the road and seeing the smile on their faces, I’d say we’re all enjoying this a lot!”

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