We will be spending time at a Volunteering Project in Chile: 'Save The Wild Chinchillas' - Habitat Re-establishment

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Chile - Glaciers for Christmas

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As we head along the coastline of Argentina towards Chile we will also be fast approaching Christmas! The other day I set Jack the task of looking for something special for us to do on the day, and he came up with Torres del Paine National Park, a national park encompassing mountains, a glacier, a lake, and river-rich areas in southern Chilean Patagonia. We'll be trekking, hiking, camping and on Christmas day we hope to visit the Glacier.

Considering the Argentinian sunshine will be confusing our 'Christmas brains' it will be the perfect place to go to feel the all-familiar chill of Christmas.

This area, an amazing natural wonder, is located in the area known as Austral Andes in Argentina, in the south west of Santa Cruz on the border with Chile. The national park, created in 1937, is the second largest in Argentina. Its name refers to the giant ice cap in the Andes range that feeds 47 large glaciers, of which only 13 flow towards the Atlantic Ocean. The ice cap is the largest outside of Antarctica and Greenland.

We will probably still be in this area for New Years Eve too, what a beautiful part of the world to be in while welcoming in the new year.
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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Argentina - Waterfalls and Eco-worlds

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Though our itinerary is not scratched in stone, and is of course subject to spontaneous new ideas as we stumble across them, one thing we do know is that our first port of call in Argentina will be the breath taking Iguazu Falls. We'll take a boat trip that actually takes you under the waterfalls, and yes, we'll get very wet! Thankfully temperatures in Argentina in December are at the higher end of the scale, so I imagine drying off shouldn't be too much of a problem :) We think starting here will set us off on a truly high note for the forth coming journey, how could it not?!

From Iguazu Falls we'll head down to our first volunteer project, the Eco-Yoga-Park :)

'The Park, created in 1996, is located 60 km from Buenos Aires in a beautiful and unique rural area, surrounded by the greenlands of La Pampa, Argentina. We are a community of diverse people who work together towards a holistic lifestlye in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. We aim to live in harmony with the environment, working with projects that focus on self-sustainability.'

Volunteers work for 4 1/2 hours a day in sustainable activities during the morning; the work consists of organic farming, eco-construction, eco tourism, helping in the kitchen, teaching English to members of the community, there's also a high emphasis on art and filming. In the afternoon they are free to take part in the Park´s activities (hatha yoga, meditation with tibetan bells, music theraphy with oriental instruments, pranayama program, movies, etc.), or simply relax, read a book, or take a walk through the surrounding rural environment. 

'All the year around, volunteers from all over the world come to the Park to discover their skills, get in contact with mother earth, help us improve our local community, get to know new people, learn Spanish and enjoy nature and the experience of living in our community.'

I can see myself getting into the Yoga, something I've always wanted to try. My sister got quite into it and raved about it's positive effects on the mind and body. I'd love to learn about it properly. I can see Jack getting his hands dirty in organic farming, and later lounging in a hammock, nose in book, soaking up the afternoon sunshine. 

Check out the PHOTOS, the place looks simply amazing. 
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Friday, 22 July 2011

In Brief: The Route, places and projects...

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I'll be writing about each place we're planning to visit in more depth as separate posts soon, but for a brief idea of the route we'll take, the places we'll visit and the projects we'll be working with, here they are :)

Click map to enlarge

December 2011 we fly into:


(Click on the links to see the websites of the projects)

We will be volunteering at an Eco-Yoga-Park

Sites to see (among many others!)

Iguazu Falls
Los Glaciares National Park
Peninsula Valdes (penguins, sea lions, wales etc)
El Chalten (Mountain village, best for trekking)

Chile – Jan

We'll be volunteering at a Chinchilla Habitat Restoration Project

Sites to see

Torres Del Paine (National Park)
Licancabur (volcano, hot springs)
Atacama Desert (night time astrology tours)

Bolivia - Feb/March

We'll be volunteering at Animal Rescue Centres Communidad Inti Wara Yassi and Sende Verde

Sites to see

Laguna Verde (Salt Lake)
Salar de Uyuni (Salt Plains)

Peru – March/April

We'll be volunteering at another Eco-Park 

Sites to see

Machu Picchu

Ecuador - April/May

Sites to see

Banos – small town (waterfalls, thermal springs)
Otavalo (small town and great textiles market)

Peru – End of May

A brief stint back in Peru to catch our flight back to UK
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Saturday, 9 July 2011


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SO, we've finally handed over all of our squirrelled away money-nuts and booked the flights!! I feel slightly sick, I've never spent so much money all at once before, argggggghh!!! It's a scary feeling.

We fly out in December 2011 and return at the end of May 2012!

Now it's serious, eeeeek! My diet of Morrison's value goods for the next five months is no longer such a jovial fact.

Every single penny has to be saved between now and the end of November, otherwise it'll all have been in vain, and what a sad story that would be.

Thank god I have a birthday not long before our departure, phew (breathes huge sigh of relief). Should anyone wish to to treat me for my birthday I think I'll have to ask for only essentials from loved ones this year; some hard-wearing flexible Gortex walking boots please :) or some travel insurance, or a water filter, or some quick drying socks and towel. Jeepers I've got quite the list. Looks like it's a case of 'beg, borrow and steal' for me :s Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, 7 July 2011

'Young, Gifted and Skint Fund'

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Just a note to remind myself that as exciting, exhilarating and totally worth-while this trip will be, it has not come without a price. With still another 5 months to go until we plan to take off, I'm already having to force myself to live off peanuts, literally (I admittedly often try to skip buying lunch at work and eat nibbles instead).

To put things into context I have £50 to live off this month, and £30 of that will have to go on transport to and from work, thus leaving me a grand £20 pounds to spend on food. How exciting. It seems socialising is out of the question, thank god for having a family and fella close by.

Instead of grumbling about it, which I know I'm clearly doing now, I'm going to try and embrace it (I say that about most things that at first glance seem all doom and gloom). 

Can I make £20 last the month? Can I make this a challenge instead of an obstacle? I don't think I really have a choice :/

Looks like Morrison's value crumpets and baked beans are the only things on my shopping list this month.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I know this is all my own choice. I'm just stating the fact that this wonderful trip (and indeed it will be a wonderful trip) is not coming easy.

I admit I'm very lucky to be able to live at home with my Mum or with my boyfriend, so I do get offered lots of free meals, which is actually a god send while trying to squirrel away every penny, and I'm ever so thankful! I know it may sound 'cheap' but if the offers there of course I'm not going to turn it down, that would be madness. Plus it's simply the only way I can live off such a small monthly budget and put away the target amount I need to make the trip possible.

Normally I would have £100 to spend per month on food, transport and anything extra. This month however has brought with it a cousins 30th birthday, my nephews 7th birthday, my sisters wedding is coming up and my other sister is soon to have her third kiddie..... Being one to plan in advance I've managed to half my monthly budget for myself to live off. Uh oh.

As I've said, I am fortunate enough to have a really lovely family and boyfriend who seem to want to feed me :) and I don't take any of it for granted.

So there you have it people. I'm skint, and welcoming handouts ;)

Please contact me to donate accordingly ;) 
(I'm joking of course.... well, kind of)

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Friday, 1 July 2011

Deforestation - We gotta sort it out!

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How can we sit by and watch as the Amazon Rainforest, the most bio-diverse tropical rainforest in the world, dissolves right before our eyes? Can people not see that the destruction of the Amazonian Rainforest will lead to the destruction of human life itself?! There is no time left to remain blinkered, it's no joke, this stuff is real and it's happening NOW. We all share this world, so the responsibility sits on all of our shoulders to turn things around.

'A common estimate is that over half of the species of animals live in the rain forests of the world. To say that many of these are threatened or endangered would be an understatement, especially in light of the many threats that rainforests as a whole face in the world today. These threats are outlined in the Crisis Overview section of Hope For The Rain Forests.'

There are millions of articles out there on the subject, here's one article I found to be pretty informative and straight to the point. It explains how deforestation is not a 'sport' but that it is due to a variety of factors such as over-population. It's easy to say that deforestation must stop, but this can only begin to happen if alternative and efficient solutions are employed, by each and every one of us. The links at the bottom of the page are really good too.

I also recently came across a really great environmental awareness campaign by the Born Free Foundation.

'Using the spectacular photography of George Logan and the skills of Steve Hawthorne and Katy Hopkins at advertising company WCRS Limited, these images of wild animals placed within an urban setting aim to provide a shocking reminder that wildlife is losing its habitat at an alarming rate.'

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