It is decided

Just moments ago, I booked my flight out of the country.

I have decided to spend the first year or so in South America, where I can live cheaply while I build my revenue streams. In a year or so, I hope to better afford Europe.

I also decided to take my son on one last trip with me, for his sake and my own.

I know I want to be in Peru around September/October, to repeat my Andes trek to Macchu Pichu, but I’ll be on a 90 day visa there, so I need to be somewhere else for the summer. Logan and I wanted to see the Salt Flats of Uyuni in Bolivia, but the U.S. State Department has scared me off from travel there.

I searched high and low for discount fares to S. America, in all my usual places. TravelZoo was strangely quiet. TACA and LAN, my favorite S. American carriers, had no great bargains. I just traveled from Chicago to Quito last month for $300, but now I couldn’t find anything under $900!

Finally I thought to check Spirit. They fly to S. America from Ft. Lauderdale only, so I’ll still need to get us to Florida. I will freaking drive there if I have to, and sell my car in Florida. I pretty much hate Spirit. They make you pay $35 for a carry-on bag, or $30 to check one. It’s all part of ’empowering you to save.’ Bleh.

But the fares are cheap… and hey, I’m throwing away my return ticket, so no need to pay for baggage on the way back!

I found a flight to Cartagena, Columbia. Even with taxes, fees, two carry-on bags and a checked bag (one-way) for me, and an upgrade to bigger seats, the flight was still under $450 each. I booked it. We leave on May 14.

I like Colombia very much, and Cartagena is on the coast, a charming city rich with history. So I booked the fare.

Then I went to Usually I can find a bed for $10-15 a night, and I don’t mind sleeping in a mixed dorm room. I only sleep in the room anyway, and they always provide lockers for our luggage. But since this is a vacation with my son, I splurged.

For $40 per night ($20 each) I booked us a private, twin-bed room in the most beautiful hostel imaginable, the Casa de la Chicheria. Just blocks from the oceanfront.




Logan will return to the States on May 22, and I will probably move to less spendy digs in Cartagena for the rest of the summer, before I head to Peru. But… the hostel happens to own a sailboat, and offers passage to Panama. So maybe I’ll look into that?

Published by Lauren

I'm a nomadic freelance writer, out enjoying the world!


  • C

    March 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I wish you much luck with your journey. I don’t have the courage to sell up everything and go . . . but maybe when I retire, lol. But, darn, I have 4 cats and not sure I want to give them up to an unknown fate. sometimes being rooted to one spot isn’t so good . . . I’ll dream of going to some of the places you are going. or maybe I can visit šŸ™‚

  • Nicole Shanks

    March 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Sounds like you’ve got everything in order. Can’t wait to see the pictures. I will meet up with you somewhere…someday šŸ˜‰ Safe travels! May the wind be at your back and the sun upon your face as you sail into your future. – Nicki

  • Adornya

    March 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Lauren, I admire your adventurous free spirit! Isn’t Cartegena the city in the fantastic movie “Romancing the Stone?” In your journey may you discover truth: Most people are good, the world is infinitely beautiful, and the curious mind cannot never be quenched. Along the way, please offer practical tidbits on how to navigate through the rules of crossing national borders, language challenges and tools, and managing monetary transitions. Bohemian gypsy blood must be in your veins!

  • David Aye

    March 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I think this is so cool. I told Jasmine that I really want to visit wherever you’re at when we decide to travel next. I really envy what you’re doing. What a fucking cool adventure.

  • Lauren Zehara

    March 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Lauren Zehara

    March 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you, David! I was so jealous – and so happy for you! – when you guys chucked everything & took off across the country. But I knew my turn was coming. I would LOVE for you to come visit me, any place, any time! If I don’t have space, I’ll find you guys a lovely hostel nearby. All you need is airfare.

  • Lauren Zehara

    March 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you, Nicki!

  • Lauren Zehara

    March 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I will keep you updated on whatever I learn along the way! I hope to put lots of practical tidbits in the blog as I go.

  • Lauren Zehara

    March 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you!