My Southamerica trip in numbers

I have a confession to make: I kind of like statistics. Not to the extend that I spend my free time calculating structural equation models for fun, but looking at numbers and visualising them in pretty charts is weirdly satisfying to me. Of course I know that most things can’t be measured in numbers and that is great – but I still thought it would be interesting to show what my time in Peru and Bolivia looks like in numbers and facts. So where and how did I spend my time? What story do the numbers tell?

First of all I would like to show you where I’ve been on an interactive map. All places I spent a night at (excluding hikes) have been marked and you can also see when I went from A to B:

As I have mentioned before the initial plan was to spend most of my time in Peru – that didn’t work out so well. Out of my five months (or 154 days) 85 days were spent in Bolivia and only 69 in Peru. Bolivia is amazing though and I don’t regret a single day I spent there. Ok maybe I do, the three days spent in Santa Cruz to extend my visa were pretty annoying and I lost my credit card not once but twice (!) in the exact same cash machine there, but that is another story.

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Figure 1: Where did I spend my time?

I also had some favourite places I spent a lot of time at. Here are my top three cities and villages measured by the time I spent there (I only included days if I spent the night in said place). Unsurprisingly I have written blogposts about three of the four places so I didn’t get stuck there by accident…

  1. La Paz (Bolivia), 14 days
  2. Samaipata (Bolivia), 13 days
  3. Pisac (Peru) & Cuzco (Peru), 11 days

Now you know where I spent my time. But what did I do with it? How did I spend my days?  I didn’t actually volunteer or couchsurf all that much as you can see – but my days hiking (including dayhikes) almost add up to a full month which I think is pretty impressive.

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Figure 2: How did I spend my time?

 I also thought quite a lot about if I should bring a sleeping bag and tent and ended up only bringing the sleeping bag. I used it quite a lot (couchsurfing, hiking, workaway…) and next time I’ll defnitely be bringing my tent too!

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Figure 3: Where did I sleep?

Lastly I would like to take a look at the people I met. I had a lot of brief encounters that were amazing. People I connected with a lot although we might have only spent a day or two together. But some people I ended up spending quite a lot of time with and that was great! Who were the people I spent most time with (in absolute days and percentage of my trip spent with them)? Last but not least, let me introduce you to:

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Melina at the train graveyard

  1. Melina – 32 days, 20.8%: I met Melina in Samaipata and we instantly bonded over having the same hiking guidebook. She tured out to be the most caring person, a great Macrame teacher and (like me) a bit of a planner. We ended up travelling together for 25 days filled with some of the most adventurous dayhikes and amazing guided tours through a salar, pampas and even the amazon djungle where we supported each other like a perfect team and had the most amazing personal conversations. At the end of my trip we met up again in Samaipata for a week and it was like meeting up with an old friend again. She also wrote a guestpost about our greatest challenge together and I am shure we will meet again as soon as we are both back in Germany.
  2. Marie – 25 days, 16.2%: I met Marie while volunteering near Samaipata. She lit up the days with her beautiful guitar music, made my infamous braid and was the start of a more hippe travelling style for me. Though my time in and around Samaipata involved many more wonderfull people, she was the person who intoduced me to the ‘hostal jardin’ and an everchanging group of amazing people that became like a temporal family. Samaipata was probably my favourite place on this trip and Marie was a big part of that.
  3. Camille, Daniel (& Thomas) – 22 days, 14.3%: I had already gone on a lot of dayhikes with Melina, but this international group of solo travellers took it to a whole other level. And even though Thomas left earlier the list would not be complete without him. The four of us hiked around Cuzco on the Salkantay and Ausangate treks and while doing so planned the amazing meals we would cook together when getting back (I kid you not). On our way to Machu Picchu Thomas (from Italy) and Daniel (from Germany) came up with the idea of making Rouladen (a typical german roast) with spinach dumplings and red cabbage. We spent about 5 hours in the hostel kitchen and Camille (from Canada) topped the meal off with a great salad. Let’s just say that we shared some of the best meals of my journey and I even convinced Daniel and Camille to stay in Cuzco a bit longer to go to the most insane pilgimage that is Quyllurit’i together. I didn’t think staying together with a group of people for that long would work well bit it did and it was great!
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Pedro teaching Marie how to make bread from scratch

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Daniel, Camille & Thomas (front to back) on our way to Machu Picchu

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