south america (and cuba), randomly

Trinidad, Cuba

*Warning: This is a photo heavy post 

It still feels strange to be home. The constant presence of friends and family. The absence of Spanish. Having space to toss my things around and not having to pack every few days. The comfort of familiar food. The emptiness of my days back here in Singapore, and learning to fill them again.

There's also the strangeness of feeling like you missed an entire chunk of life back home - when your friends refer to events that happened that you didn't know about. Missing birthdays and engagements. 

But already that "travelling" feeling is fading. As I back up and organise my photos in storage, I can't quite believe I was there. When people I befriended on the go text me, it feels like receiving a message from a parallel universe. 

I'm neither here nor there. 

I keep telling people I could have kept travelling through the South American continent all year, and it's true, I never even touched the Amazon areas of all the countries I visited, I didn't go to Brazil, and I only threaded through the north of Argentina briefly en route to Bolivia. Every country I visited surprised me in big and little ways - the beauty of its physical landscapes, the personalities of its peoples, the complexity of its society and history. I went to South America with one-dimensional impressions of a "Latin American" culture and came back, a tad embarrassed, realising how simplistic that was. 
I'm still working out what I want to say about the places I visited, but for now, some photos, in no particular order. 

Glacier Grey, Chile
French Valley, Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile
Torres del Paine, Chile
Santiago, Chile
Valparaiso, Chile
Southwestern Bolivia
Eduardo Avaroa National Park, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Ollantaytambo, Peru
Moray, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru
Cusco, Peru
Vinicunca, Peru
Trail around Vinicunca/Ausangate circuit, Peru
Huascaran National Park, Peru
Kuelap ruins, Peru
Gocta waterfall, Peru
Cabo de la Vela, Colombia
La Guajira, Colombia
Cabo de la Vela, Colombia
Rio Magdalena, Colombia
Mompos, Colombia
Medellin, Colombia
La Carbonera valley, Salento, Colombia
San Cristobal island, Galapagos, Ecuador
The Galapagos, Ecuador
The Galapagos, Ecuador
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Boca de Yumuri, Cuba
Playa Mangalito, Baracoa, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba


Joy said…
Ahhh so beautiful!
Anonymous said…
Loved following your Instagram while you' were traveling but also glad to see you posting on your blog again. Many questions regarding the logistics of your travel...did you travel with a group at any point? Or were you traveling completely solo? With (a) friend(s)? Did you arrange all of your own travel? In advance? Always on the fly? So so many questions. I'm getting ready to hit the road/sea/air and enjoy hearing from other women who also travel solo.
lin said…
Joy: Thanks! Better posts coming, I promise, haha

Anon: Thanks, feels good to be writing again here too. I travelled with a friend for the first 4 weeks of my trip as she wanted to visit some of the same places, and then I was alone for the rest of the trip until the last 2 weeks, when I met friends in Cuba.

Yes, I arranged my own travel, although there were times where I joined guided day tours, or treks, depending on which was the most expedient.

My rule was always to have a place to spend the night upon arriving in a new city or town, but apart from that I made most plans on the fly. The exceptions were trekking in Torres del Paine because we needed to rent gear and book campsites in advance and they get snapped up quickly, and doing the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu because that is wildly popular and sold out months in advance.

I met so many women travelling solo, and it made me feel safe haha. Actually I felt pretty safe throughout my trip regardless, but it felt nice to meet other women, and it felt a bit like sisterhood sometimes because you make a bit more of an effort to look out for each other.

Doing a post on travelling solo is on the cards, so I'll update again. If you have more questions, keep them coming!

johny said…
nice post
MC Bontemps said…
Thank you for posting these magnificent pictures. You are as accomplished a photographer as you are a writer !

In case you don't already know it, I highly recommend Sebastião Salgado's Genesis, a photography masterwork whose locations overlap with some of yours and in whose footsteps you might actually have unknowingly been at some points. One of your shots from Torres del Paine in the other post closely resembles the picture on the cover of the published book, although I don't have my copy handy to check its attribution.
lin said…
MC Bontemps: Thanks! Some of these places don't have a bad angle, and that really helps.

I saw the Genesis exhibition when it came to Singapore some years back, and it blew my mind. But I didn't recall the Patagonia connection until you mentioned it, and now I'm looking at those photos in a whole new light; thanks for the heads-up. As for the Genesis cover photo - it gives me something to work towards!
Finally have a bit of time to catch up on your SA adventure posts! The variety of terrain is truly amazing. Maybe if it's mandatory for politicians to go on trips like yours instead of hopping from one golf course to another, they might care more about the environment? Just looking at your pics is inspiring.

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