Find out what lies on the road ahead for David Fegan. Discover where he’s going in South America and why.
Starting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I plan to backpack around South America in a somewhat circular path, encompassing other parts of Argentina as well as Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile, from which I have a return flight departing from Santiago in March of next year. This is the plan, but I’d love to be able to include Central America and North America and stretch the trip out as long as possible. So who knows how it will all pan out.
Money and time seem to be the obvious rulers and while I can’t see enjoyment being a problem, who knows, maybe I will even get homesick! Some good advice I received from a well traveled Argentinian friend was not to plan too much (not to say not at all) and just see where you go. He said generally a place will “kick you out” or maybe you will meet people who you wish to travel with for some length of time, and this will dictate your direction.
I decided to go on this trip because I was bored with the repetition of full time employment in a part time job I was not passionate about. I decided to marry this trip with the journalism work I had begun and have started to take more seriously since I graduated from studying the practice at university. So far, all indications have pointed to consistent learning providing a great sense of fulfillment and purpose. With my writing I have an added reason to learn, seeking information out and then processing it before distilling and sharing.
South America appealed to me because of its mystery and its natural beauty. I feel I will have no shortage of opportunities to gorge my senses at Iguazu Falls and Machu Picchu, in the Brazilian Amazon, Salar de Uyini, and Patagonia and on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. On the flip-side of this, I have already been overwhelmed by the rhythm and buzz of Buenos Aires city and look forward to discovering other South American metropolises.
I knew my desire to put myself out of my comfort zone combined with my writing ambitions and my travel goals would positively affect each other — although I’m learning more and more each day that this is continuously reinforcing the other in ways I could not have predicted. My writing will force me out of my comfort zone to meet people and discover things that will make my travelling experience richer and more worthwhile. Pushing myself to meet people and learn the language will also positively affect my writing, as I learn new things through these pursuits.
Before I left Australia I thought I would write about the social context of football in South America and maybe the contemporary music scenes and traditional music of the continent. While I have been following up the later to some degree for an Australian music publication I write for, I have had no shortage of material coming to hand for Vagabond Journey. My first post was about the shock of being so naive to come to a foreign country having not learnt any of their language. But from this and my current living with Europeans in Buenos Aires who are multilingual, a great chance to learn has arisen. There are traditions, history and cultural differences that I have learnt that demands reporting.
Lastly, on the plane ride over I finally took the chance to watch Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in its entirety. Given the nonchalant attitude to the issue of global warming from the Australian government and the fact I will be visiting cities and natural wonders in South America, I feel my writing could take an environmental slant. I will have the opportunity to examine a continent and what’s going on environmentally and learn about pressing current issues. I have already experienced bizarre weather in Buenos Aires: a week of summer weather in which the temperature reached 26°C before the loudest storm I have ever witnessed rocked the sky at 4am last weekend, signalling a significant drop in temperature and the onset of wind and rain. The storm itself is not the issue, but it is a very black and white contrast that I have been exploring in relation to global warming.
I aim to continue exploring environmental themes in the cities and natural wonders I visit, as well as delving into social issues that I discover as I feel I have a certain responsibility in this regard. But as I mentioned, with no shortage of material coming to hand, I will just continue writing about the people I meet, the experiences I have and the things I see. Basically, anything that I learn that is worth reporting, you will hear.