Backpacking in South America isn’t easy at the best of times. Long bus rides, limited food options, lack of readily available information, logic defying systems and rapid fire Spanish. Add small children to the mix and a whole lot of other issues emerge; can we access food that they like? How do we cope with Jet lag? Will they be safe? Will they get sick? Will we get sick? How will they go on the buses? Can we carry all the stuff including camping gear? Will we get robbed?
These concerns (and more) probably contribute to very few families choosing to backpack South America. In 8 weeks of travelling we didn’t meet any other foreign families with children as young as ours (1 and 4).
So is it all worth it? Worth the difficulties, the expense, the risk, the opportunity costs? What qualifies as “worth it”? Worth it for whom? The adults or the children?
Really, this question is impossible to answer… There have certainly been some intensely stressful moments, but these have been offset by moments of pure joy. Amaya and Sebastian have been exposed to different places, cultures, languages and people. For a time they have become nomads – roaming the lakes and mountains of Patagonia. They are on their way to becoming truly global citizens, with an amplified outlook, comfortable with different viewpoints and ways of life.
And while there were tough moments, there are tough moments at home too. Parenting is challenging! For us it is about choosing to really grasp hold of those magical moments and let them form our narrative of this experience.