E-mail Update

2009-05-22 - Trip 7 - South Americas

Hey Everyone,

There have been a lot of people asking about what my travel plans are for this summer, so I decided to just send a quick message letting people know what is going on. Of course as everyone knows my plans rarely go exactly as planned and I really prefer being flexible so everything is subject to change.

First off Becky and I fly out for Bolivia this Monday (May 25). It is quite exciting especially for her because this is the first international trip of her adult life (she went on a short class trip in 2003 to Europe). Not only that but we have purchased the necessary camping equipment so we will be doing several multiday hikes at altitude assuming we can both acclimatize. Bolivia is in the Andes Mountains, which are the world's longest exposed mountain range. They lie as a continuous chain of highland along the western coast of South America. The range is over 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, 200 km (120 mi) to 700 km (430 mi) wide, and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The capital of Bolivia, La Paz where we fly into, is at 3640 meters (11,942 ft), so from the start we will be at altitude. This will continue during our hikes as we hope to hike to places like El Choro, Takesi & Huayna Potosi, which in certain areas will get to be above 6000 meters (around 20,000 feet). We would also like to visit the world's largest salt flats (Salar de Uyuni) and the rainforest (near Rurrenabaque). Plus along with other activities, we hope to be able to ride bicycle in the mountains and to visit ruins of the Inca and other ancient cultures. In all we will likely be in Bolivia until around June 25, when we hope to fly to Lima, Peru. From Lima we would like to visit the oasis of Huacachina to go sand boarding and see the sand dunes in a dune buggy and to visit Isla Ballestas to see the wildlife which includes seals and various birds. Then on June 30 Becky will fly home from Lima (Peru's Capital).

After Becky leaves I may be traveling with some people I have known from previous trips, but it all breaks down to schedules and timing really. Either way my I plan to leave Lima, July 1, heading north along the coast. I might stop at the historical sights of Caral and Paramonga, but either way I would see myself in Huaraz no later than July 3. I plan to do a lot of camping/hiking there, including the Santa Cruz Trek, plus other activities and could be there up to 2 weeks. I still haven't had a chance to read about that area fully. After that I am tentatively planning to head north back along the Peruvian coast again to see sites in and around Trujillo, Chicayo and Mancora. I can easily see being in Peru for a minimum of 3 weeks, and at the most a month. I plan to pretty much just move through Ecuador without seeing much, as I plan to dive the Galapagos on another trip when I have more money. I would like to go up through the coast stopping a few places, but overall I am thinking about 4-5 days. Last will be Colombia and how much time there would obviously be determined by the amount of time spent in Peru and Ecuador, but I want a minimum of 2 weeks there. I guess overall I wish I had another couple of weeks for Colombia, but hey I have the August 20 flight home bought so that is how it goes!

I wanted to do a proper update about the last part of my time in Mexico and being back home, but won't have time before I go. Either way I thought some pictures would be interesting and here is the abbreviated story behind them:

My friend Matt Marron, who I had originally met while on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand in 2005, came to visit me when he was starting his trip in Mexico. He ended up staying for almost 2 weeks and we had a great time. The program I was in was almost all girls, which is cool, but it was nice to have a guy to hang out with who had traveled before. Matt and I are quite a lot alike in some ways and all this made the time really great, him being there was actually my favorite part of the time in Mexico. I was sad when he left, although he did stay like 4-5 days more than he had planned, so he must have enjoyed it too! Anyway while he was there we, along with Jocelyn, a friend from school rented a car and went to the coast for a 4 day weekend. Below are pictures from that time: 2009_05_22_Laguna_Santa_Maria_del_Oro - beautiful lake on the drive to the coast 2009_05_22_Matt_Jocelyn_Nacho_the_Nissan - Matt and Jocelyn with our car Nacho the Nissan 2009_05_22_Puerto_Vallarta_Sunset - Puerto Vallarta is a city on the beach with beautiful sunsets, very touristy, but still a great place 2009_05_22_Woman_Going_to_Altar_on_Her Knees - Some people take their religion quite seriously, Mexican Catholics obviously included

The last picture was taken yesterday and is from Becky and I's visit to my brother's house. We had so much fun, it is really hard to get John in a picture normally, let alone one with him, his sister, Becky and I so I was quite happy about this one: 2009_05_22_Brock_Shelby_Becky_John.

I also put on my web site all the information, including the video from the NBC 15 Interview when I came home from Mexico, a document talking about Financial Literacy, which discusses the current state of credit cards among other things that directly relate to the law that Obama has asked Congress for to help credit card users, and updated our summer flights, plus some email updates.

As for communications while I am traveling I will not being taking my laptop and will be away from the Internet for long periods. As on previous trips my first priority in communications is my mom. The next priority is trying to send out email updates to the group. Then will be Facebook because numerous people who can see that and last will be individual emails. Not saying that I don't want emails from people because it is always nice to get emails, just saying don't be offended if it takes me several weeks or up to a month to respond. If it is something really important email is still the best way to get in touch. As always I will do my best but when it comes to responding, but I would rather be sightseeing than sitting in an Internet caf´┐Ż all day.

If you want off of this list just let me know and of course if you know other people who want to be added just send me their name & email.

Love & Peace!