How Your Latin American Vacation Could Change Your Life by:Gary Sargent
With the global economy forcing us all to cut back on spending, it's often vacations that are the first thing on the chopping block. This is a huge shame - travel is a life changing experience, recognized as one of the best ways to spend your time. Especially if you are escaping from the doom and gloom of home!
If you need a little nudge to be convinced that booking that next Latin American vacation is a worthy investment, check out the following stories of some previous clients that I've arranged trips for.
Realizing what is really possible
David was a nervous person, but in a moment of madness his friends persuaded him to book a mountain biking tour on Bolivia's infamous 'Death Road', a couple of thousand meters descent around narrow perilous switchbacks overlooking sheer drops.
Egged on by his speedy companions and the reassurance of his bike guide, David actually ended up really pushing himself even though he was trembling like a leaf from the adrenaline. By the end of the ride he realized that the only thing holding him back was his own attitude.
I received an email from David after his return home, telling me that his trip had finally given him the boost he needed to quit his job and start a business - inspiring stuff!
Getting in touch with your spirituality
Sandra and Mark had both been struggling with their lives since their kids left home, and decided to book onto a spiritual retreat in the Sacred Valley near Cusco. The retreat was a challenging 10 day experience in an isolated setting, and both of them confronted tough personal issues as a result of the process.
However, it turned out to be worth the effort - they left the meditation centre with a much clearer idea of what they wanted from the next stage of their lives.
A journey that you finish as a different person
Pilgrimage has been around as a religious journey of self-discovery for thousands of years, but you don't have to commit to a religion to get the benefits.
Carlos and three of his friends booked a cycle tour around the vineyards of Argentina. They had a great time travelling between some of the best vineyards in South America, but also got to know much more about themselves as a result of reflective thinking time on the road.
Friends and family were quick to notice the difference when the guys got back, and the group has since booked onto another cycle tour to allow for time away in reflection every year.
Seeing another side of life
The favelas of Rio De Janiero are known as some of the worst areas of poverty in Latin America. Julie was determined to give her time and effort to help out some of the families in the slum areas, and I arranged for her to volunteer as an English teacher as part of her vacation to Brazil.
"It was incredible," she told me afterwards, "They were living in the worst conditions I've ever seen, and had nothing, but they were so happy and contented with life."
The experience changed her perspective dramatically. "Even though it was a challenging experience for me, it made me think hard about what is important to me in life, and to be more grateful for what I have."
What do you think is the common factor for life changing vacations? Do you remember a vacation that changed your life, and what happened?
About the author
Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies Escaped to Peru and Escaped to Latin America and has lived in South America for over 10 years. Gary is passionate about Latino life, people, customs and places. To learn more or to book your next adventure please visit http://www.escapedtolatinamerica.com