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Snippets of a Nomadic Year: From South America to the Balkans

Extremely excited to have my travel article published in the current Explorer issue of F*Shift Magazine about my adventure year exploring South America and the Balkans! Check out my story for F*Shift Magazine in the digital edition (pp.40-41), order in print, or view on the website! Thanks and I hope you enjoy the snippets!

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My travel article ‘Snippets of a Nomadic Year: From South America to the Balkans’ published in the current Explorer issue of F*Shift Magazine, pp. 40-41, digital edition and in print! (now also on the website).

Short excerpt from the article:

I breathed in the earthy humid air as I took another step deeper into the dense tangled jungle. As I trekked through knee-high swamps any sudden sound would conjure mirages of Cayman crocodiles known to roam these waters. Ancient watchful trees whispered stories across the mist threaded forest. An orchestra of squawking parrots and howling monkeys followed me as I explored this sensory maze. I will never forget the Amazon.

A backpack, scuba kit, and boarding pass – these have been my three survival essentials of this spontaneous nomadic year. The moment I passed my Ph.D., I knew I was seeking a complete shift in lifestyle. As an underwater archaeologist with a curious spirited mind, I had a yearning for a stimulating adventure away from academia. My childhood dream had been to explore South America, submerging myself in its captivating nature and culture. Though I love the incessant, vibrant creativity and rhythms that flow through London, I needed to escape life’s rush. Coincidentally, a friend told me about a possibility to work in Chile. That was all I needed to hear – so I seized the chance, jumped on a plane and set off! I was suddenly teleported to the charismatic, colourful port-town of Valparaiso, where this year’s journey began.

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Continue reading Snippets of a Nomadic Year: From South America to the Balkans

Deciphering the Jungle’s Language

I breathed in the earthy humid air as I took another step deeper into the dense tangled jungle. As I trekked through knee-high swamps any sudden sound would conjure mirages of Cayman crocodiles known to roam these waters. Ancient watchful trees whispered stories across the mist threaded forest. An orchestra of squawking parrots and howling monkeys followed me as I explored this sensory maze. I will never forget the Amazon.

THE AMAZON! Though often associated with unfamiliar perilous and venomous wildlife, the Amazon jungle had always been to me a much fantasised haven which I yearned to explore. Maybe it was growing up as a wild child by a forest pretending to be a jungle native, but that vision followed me, eventually transporting me into the heart of Pachamama (‘Mother Earth’ in Quechua), through which its main artery flows, the Amazon River. The deeper I ventured into the jungle, I noticed the increase in humidity and diversity of indigenous wildlife, ranging from 222 species of mammals, 99 species of reptiles, 140 species of amphibians, 1000 species of birds, 210 species of fish and 2500 species of insects. My guide had grown up in the Amazon, and it was as though he could feel every movement and call that nature shared with us. There is a co-existence between nature and the resilient locals. To decipher the jungle’s language requires local knowledge, patience and a perceptive mind. From being surprised by playful monkeys, to being the one to swing from vines, I felt in tune with nature’s beat. As dusk set in, and we wandered through the night-veiled jungle, my senses felt magnified, alert to any hints of shapes or sounds within the shadows. Furry-legged creatures formed silhouettes under the torch’s limelight to the soundtrack of the dancing foliage. With the rising sun, came rising currents. After an ‘OK’ from the guide, I leapt into the immense fast-flowing river, and momentarily surrendered myself to its will.  It was while journeying through the Amazon, with curious eyes, that a fresh peace of mind dawned upon me.

[excerpt from my ‘Snippets of a Nomadic Year: From South America to the Balkans‘ article published in F*Shift Magazine‘s Explorer issue, Oct 2016, pp. 40-41]


For a detailed low-down on how to plan your trip with tips on what to watch out for and things to not miss out, check out: Oh Snap! Adventures blog post!

Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez).

Misty Trail to Machu Picchu!

MACHU PICCHU! Rain cascaded down onto me, as fellow poncho-covered backpackers from around the world powered up precipitous trails, surrounded by floating misty mountains. It was the rainy season, which brought its own allure of mystery and enchantment. A sudden humbling realisation rushed through my body as I walked those same long-winding, narrow stone cobbled paths and steep slippery steps as the Incan empire once did, which took around 100 years to build. The legendary 4-day trail leading to the archaeological world wonder, Machu Picchu, or ‘Old Mountain’ in ancient Quechua, an oral language still spoken by native locals today! The journey started at the puma-shaped city of Cusco, the religious-administrative center of the Incan empire. The arduous hike underwent dramatic transformations from Andean alpine terrains to damp cloud forests, with the dissipating mist revealing river valleys and terraced Incan ruins along the way, forming connecting stories between nature and its past people. We camped in different remote havens along the way, gazing silently at the majestic views, a reminder of life’s serenity. Damp, sweat-covered and sleep deprived, but the thrill of the destination triggered my fully awakened senses. As I climbed the final steps, the rising sun dispelled the foggy curtains, uncovering the sought-after panoramic view of the Machu Picchu citadel, erected at 2,430m above sea level, where we were greeted by tourists and llamas.

[excerpt from my ‘Snippets of a Nomadic Year: From South America to the Balkans‘ article published in F*Shift Magazine‘s Explorer issue, Oct 2016, pp. 40-41]


For a detailed low-down on how to plan your trip with tips on what to watch out for and things to not miss out, check out: Oh Snap! Adventures blog post!

Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128).