Anton and Plamena are a couple to whom no matter how much you ask, they are not enough. 4 years ago, they both volunteered in remote and hot Zambia, where presentations on personal hygiene, HIV / AIDS, malaria, the importance of breastfeeding, agriculture, childcare, exercise, are actively started. They remain there for 6 months, during which curiosity from different cultures and people does not leave them, and therefore decide to travel beautiful South America in the wildest and most daring way. With tickets to Chile, two backpacks, healthy bodies, courage, of course, a little walking before and a thirst for adventure, which they quenched last summer.
Bulgarka Magazine has been able to track their fantastic adventure in places by publishing much of their journey. Together with Anton and Plamen, we were able to witness you the beautiful nature of South America, the cultural features and the huge diversity of individuals. In the next interview, we will return to their transition, what they bring with them, the emotions they experienced and ask perhaps one of the most exciting questions: Now where?
Where did it all come from? What is your story?
As always, it started with buying a plane ticket - in the case of Chile. But since we chose the cheaper option, making the transit to the US, of course, we weren't as profitable in the end. It turned out we needed a visa - for a stay of 5 hours. So all the plans and dreams for South America were overthrown - we didn't know if we were going to get a visa, but we already bought some expensive airline tickets. However, we risked everything, left work, returned to Bulgaria and appeared at the US Embassy for a tourist visa interview - because there is no transit visa for Bulgarian citizens. We cannot describe the tension that has been piling up on our shoulders in recent months - it all depended on a few minutes and on an employee, not us. Sweaty palms, nervous tingling, slightly frowning eyebrows and deep sincerity. That was what the embassy employee saw in us. We took a visa! That meant we were leaving for Chile in less than 3 weeks. Realize that it is impossible to organize such a large-scale trip in such a short time. We just left.
Why did you choose South America?
It was one of Anton's dreams - to "adventure" in South America. As he followed me into my biggest dream - Africa, it was my turn to return the gesture.
Tell us about your most extreme transition?
Our most extreme transition has actually been our last week in Latin America, and more specifically in Los Nevados Park, Colombia. Before we left, no one had accurate information about the condition of the park, or if anyone knew anything, he would tell us: - "Don't leave!"
However, we left. There was no map of the park. We knew that there were farms along the paths where we could buy food. From the very first day we encountered difficulties - impassable paths with mud to the knees, rain, cold, thick fog and signs for the presence of cougars. In such conditions we went around El Totumo volcano and spent 5 days in the park.
Did you plan your hikes in advance?
We only planned the first 10 days in Chile, then we wandered down the stream - meeting people, exchanging information, and leaving. Sometimes we just pinpointed a point on the map to make it more interesting to us without having any information about where we were headed.
What about the most memorable transition?
Definitely the Cordillera Blanca (White Mountain Range), in northern Peru, near the city of Huaraz. The moment you walk down the paths of the park you are surrounded by high white peaks (over 6000 m), as if you were in a fairy tale. We were extremely close to these elusive peaks. In this park we reached the maximum height for us - 5100 meters.
How did you get along with the local people? Usually people carry dictionaries. How did you deal with the language gaps?
We left for Chile without any knowledge of Spanish, we had a little phrasebook. The first day, I wanted to tell a boy, pointing at the map, "I want to go here!", And I actually said to him, "Te quiero aqui!" There were many similar situations. We learned Spanish, and during those 6 months we spoke no English to anyone, we only used Spanish. We drove to a stop, slept in the houses of the locals, and gradually began to make conversations on various topics, most notably travel.
Have you had any encounters with wild animals? Obviously you enjoyed it when you were still with us, but did something more extreme and dangerous happen to you?
We saw a green mamba, anaconda, caiman, pink dolphins, scorpion, tarantula, willow (wild llama), guanaco (another camel species), iguanas, monkeys, sloth, capybara (the largest mammal, rodent known in world) and many species of parrots. They were in their natural environment, except for the anaconda. Everyone was friendly, except for an early Macau Parrot (Ara) who was definitely annoying us, especially while we were eating.
In some of your stories, you told us about traveling on 12 hours in a truck or just hitchhiking with someone locally. How does one withstand such a soft, abstract journey?
We often rode in luggage racks, looking out into the deep blue sky, thinking of "nothing", falling into such a blissful state that had never before happened to us. We were traveling with a sheep in the trunk or with another 20 person in another trunk. There was a case where we spent TIR 21 hours at a stop, slept in the body with the driver and talked about something. This cannot be replaced by a bus trip. Thanks to these "awkward" trips, as most Europeans call them, we have discovered many things about ourselves, met many different people and learned a lot about the local culture. Sometimes waiting for a stop is tiring but not boring. So it's worth it!
If you could give one piece of advice regarding the equipment and equipment needed for such a trip, what would it be like?
Waterproof jacket, shoes, comfy backpack, tent, bedding, sleeping bag and gas stove! Do you have these things in your backpacks, comfort and independence tied in your towel.
How is life going on for you now? What does it feel like to return to your home country after such a long and exhausting journey through unknown parts of South America?
The journey didn't seem like a long time to us. On the contrary, it was not enough. Our life is now full of questions. We miss the dynamic, the different days full of unique experiences. The culture shock is very great. We are still adapting even though we are home.
What do you bring with you on this trip?
Crazy stories, the kindness of people, breathtaking views, confidence, the feeling of being richer as individuals. We realized that we needed very little to be truly free and happy.
Which of the countries you visited would you like to live in for a longer time?
Colombia! It's very colorful from the relief and the culture and the blood is boiling there! It's never boring!
What is your next destination? And now where?
After seeing part of Africa and South America, we now dream of Asia!