10 Lessons Learned While Traveling

| by Aracely | 54 Comments » | Reflections, Travel Tips

Travel Jumping at Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flats

Jason Jumping Over a Land Cruiser on the Uyuni, Bolivia Salt Flats

It is hard to believe it has been 270 days (9 whole months) that we have been on the road.  Nine months of moving around, nine months of living out of our backpacks, nine months of not seeing family and friends, of hostels, of street food, of meeting strangers, of making friends, nine whole months of travel.  The worst for me has been the nine months of worrying about where I last left my passport.

We have definitely traveled further, taken more pictures, and had many more adventures and mishaps since our 6 Month Summary.  This time around we would like to share a few pictures that you would normally not get to see, and with them some important lessons learned while on the road.

1. Never Pass Up Once in Lifetime Opportunities

When you are presented with a once in a life time opportunity, take it, even if you do get motion sickness.  On my Nazca Lines flight I only got to see 4 out of 12 figures because I got sick on the plane, as I knew I would.  It was a miserable 30min flight that I would do all over again if it were my only opportunity to see the famous Nazca Lines.

Nazca Lines Flight

Aracely Feeling Ill During Nazca Lines Flight

2. Always Carry Toilette Paper

Some hostels don’t provide toilet paper and neither do some public restrooms.  And when you are doing your business in nature, remember to take your toilette paper back with you.  You would not want to see other people’s TP flying around during your trek.

Men Peeing

It is so easy for guys to pee. Volcano Pichincha near Quito, Ecuador

3. Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

You will find some strange and usually sexual things on some vendor market stands.  We didn’t buy this, it was too big for the backpacks and Jason felt intimidated.

Penis Sculpture

This Penis Sculpture Was For Sale In Mancora, Peru. Um, Yeah.

4. Be Flexible and Patient

Expect the unexpected, because things will go wrong.  In Costa Rica our bus broke down, in Chile our rental vehicle almost got stuck in 2 feet of mud (that was really scary) and in Bolivia our jeep got a flat tire and the fuel pump broke.  We also lost out on $135USD worth of bus tickets when, after 9 months of reading military time, we understood 20:00 hours as 10pm.

Uyuni Tours

Flat Tire During Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

5. Document Your Journey, But Don’t Risk Your Life

Capturing the great photo or video footage is part of the excitement during your travels, but be sure to take calculated risks when doing so.  Jason has fallen endless times while filming during a trek, almost breaking the camera and his face.  In Bolivia, it’s often considered rude to take photos of people and you might get rocks thrown at you.

Lake Chungara Chile

Jason standing barefoot in poop to get a closer shot of flamingos. Chile Northern Altiplano

6. Backpacking Isn’t Always Exercise

We initially thought that this trip would really get us into shape.  In reality, it is hard to get exercise while you are on the road.  Our treks are often weeks apart, creating new breaking in pains each time.  And in Latin America it takes great effort to eat healthy on the cheap.

Hiking Torres del Paine

Jason after 6 hours of hiking Torres del Paine, Chile

7. Always Have Fun

Be sure to leave room for fun and silliness and don’t take yourself too seriously.  We meet travelers that have forbidden technology, are the authority of good music, know the solutions for developing countries, feel as though they are always getting scammed, negotiate everything and truly hate all Americans.  Please, everyone, relax, have fun and enjoy life.

Scary Suspension Bridge Quilotoa Loop Hike

Jason hanging through a hole in a suspension bridge. The people in the back probably thought he was crazy. Quilotoa Loop Hike, Ecuador

8. Never Under Estimate the Power of Nature

The wind in Patagonia can blow you over.  Your backpack goes first and you follow.  You can’t climb on ice with regular boots.  Rain can create flash floods in minutes.  And glacier water is naturally delicious.

Torres del Paine Weather

Aracely being blown away in the Patagonia wind. Torres del Paine, Chile

9. Your Body is Different Abroad

I got an allergic reaction to ceviche while in Peru.  I’ve eaten ceviche all my life and I have never reacted to it.  Perhaps I ate to much of it in a short period of time or maybe there was a high concentration of pollution in it.  I won’t ever know.  Just be careful with what you eat and drink when you travel.

Pictures of Allergic Reactions to Seafood


10. Be Patient With Your Partner

There will be good days and bad days.  You are with them 24/7, all the time, night and day and the next morning.  Okay, you get the picture.  Just be sure to have fun together and share the experiences you both want to have.

Hiking Sucre Bolivia

Aracely carrying Jason. Maragua, Bolivia

And now for some more fun pictures just because we are celebrating our 9th month of travel!  And to think we were only considering timeshare rentals.  Read about our 6th month travel summary here.

Hiking Sleeping Bag

Jason In His Sleeping Bag. Torres del Paine, Chile

Sleeping in a Mosquito Net

Aracely sleeping In mosquito net. Mancora, Peru

Fun on Salt Flats

Jason Spining Aracely (He obviously forgot what happened in Nazca.) Northern, Argentina

Sand boarding at San Pedro de Atacama

Jason running down huge hill with camera. San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Volcano Boarding Leon Nicaragua

Aracely In volcano sand boarding suit. Leon, Nicaragua

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Written by Aracely

Co-founder of TwoBackpackers.com. Aracely has been traveling, writing and taking photos since 2024, when she departed on his first year long travel backpacking journey. When she isn't seeking new adventures, Aracely is usually building Excel models as a financial analyst professional. Visit my website

54 Responses to “10 Lessons Learned While Traveling”

  1. Wendy says:

    Awesome post! And I love the photos!

  2. Rob says:

    Great post and pictures!

  3. Carole levinger says:

    I guess I can say I am related by marriage to you guys and wow am I lucky because you are so talented and cute and fun! Another great Story told in a charming and interesting way. next to the castellani clan I am your # 1 fan!

  4. Erica says:

    Thank you for this awesome advice and great pictures! Hubby and I are heading to Central/South America at the end of the year and you have been such an inspiration. I always check on your blog for your beautiful pictures and updates. Cheers!

    • Aracely says:

      Erica, Congratulations on your up coming adventure! You will have a great time I am sure. We are happy to hear we that we inspire people, it’s part of what makes us tick. Best of luck with your planning and let us know if you have any questions or need anything.

  5. Betsy Talbot says:

    Loved seeing the more personal side to your adventure. We’ll be in South America in October and your posts have made the waiting almost unbearable!

    • Aracely says:

      Thanks Betsy, we enjoy connecting with our readers on a personal level and enjoyed putting this post together for that reason. We are happy that others enjoy it as much as we do.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I love this post! You managed to hit on some really good advice without sounding cliche.

  7. Michael says:

    LOL I remember seeing those in Mancora as well. Sounds like you guys are having a great time. Keep it up!

  8. Cam says:

    Thanks for the update. It’s amazing how quickly the time goes…
    embrace every moment!

  9. Sarah says:

    I can’t believe it has been 9 months already. I am so proud of you and the pics and videos are great. Love following :)

  10. Dave says:

    Congrats on hitting the 9-month mark and still enjoying each other’s company!

    “We meet travelers that have forbidden technology” — this went over my head, unless you’re being facetious?

    PS – I really like these wrap-up style posts, it’s a great way to catch up from time to time. :)

    • Aracely says:


      Not being facetious, we’ve actually met people that are extreme about many things or are trying to make a point by staying away from technology such as internet or even cameras. We respect if that’s what they choose to do but often it seems as though they are people who just want to say they are better than you or have more discipline than you. So our message is, relax. It’s really not that serious. You don’t like technology, we do, there shouldn’t be much else to it.

  11. Cris Campos says:

    Great post! I so agree with all of it, specially the first one “Never pass up a once in lifetime opportunity”.. sometimes when travelling on a budget we end up not doing some stuff because they’re expensive… but later on we surely regret!
    Happy 9 month celebrations!

  12. Max says:

    This is the greatest post I have come across so far.I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog .I love your blog by the way, I am gonna have to add you to my list of watched blogs .Thank you for this very useful information. stored it.Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  13. JR Riel says:

    Great tips. #7 is so important. Just smile, laugh things off and have a good time. Especially while bargaining, so many times I’ve seen travelers getting frustrated and raising their voices, when this only makes the other party refuse to back down. Just smile and have fun. And #10 is great, too. I went on a backpacking trip through southeast asia and stayed in very close quarters with my sister, but fortunately she was a morning girl and i was a night owl and so she would leave early to explore while i stayed in, we’d meet up for lunch and catch up, then she’d head back to the room while i partied all night. it worked out great because we are both very solitary travelers, but the company helped and of course splitting the costs was great. I’ve also traveled with the wrong person before, or maybe i was the wrong person in the pair. either way, this tip is important. and thanks for the great pictures!

  14. Tom Volpe says:

    Some great tips in there! Love the photos, especially hanging through the hole in the bridge, awesome!

  15. Andreas says:

    Hey great post again, thanks for the tips again, you are really having a great time right? keep bakcpakcing and having fun guys.
    Happines is only real when is shared

  16. Dina says:

    I love this post, very entertaining!
    #3, we saw them a lot in shops in Crete :)
    #9, I got allergic to lobster/shrimp/crab during (and until now) our trip to Florida. Is it a coincidence, or that’s because of the many lobster buffets?! A mystery…

  17. Ara says:

    Nice article, guys. Very easy to read and entertaining.
    And congratulations on reaching 9 months.
    I just got over the 25 month mark… and I’m feeling it. It’s great to see you guys are still having a ball.
    much peace, love and light to you both. :)

  18. Megan says:

    Some really great tips here. Am still only in the first month but am already wondering what i will know by month 9!!

  19. Daniel says:

    Crazy xeviche reaction! But, yum, my favourite Peruvian dish. And so many to choose from! Scary though.

  20. jhie says:

    Very lovely photos. I like it! Thanks for sharing your amazing trip. Keep it up guys!

  21. Melanie says:

    Sounds like a great travel. I am just wondering if you got that (the one you are holding in the photo #3) as your souvenir? Ha! Ha! That is so funny. Great choice.

  22. Great tips, great photos. Couldn’t agree more with all of what you wrote (although I’ve yet to meet a traveller who doesn’t have all the mod cons, so your technology-forbidders would be an oddity!).

    I’ve been travelling with my wife for 8 months so far (out of 11 total) and what you wrote really rang true.

    Glad we missed the statue in Mancora when we were there, I’m afraid I’d have felt terribly inadequate!

  23. Summer says:

    I love to travel and I enjoyed reading your article especially the photos perfectly captured your moments during the trip. It is so nice to share such travel stories to the net. I appreciate you for that.

  24. these are some great shots — really telling a tale through your camera

  25. Nancie says:

    Wonderful photos. You two are on one great adventure!

  26. Laura says:

    I love the first photo! I always wanted to take this kind of pics…

  27. Globester says:


    This is great blog with cool photograph . I really enjoyed this.. Thanks for sharing with us and other


  28. Jim says:

    Glad to find this site. Exciting stuff. Sth America looks good has is on our not too distant horizon. Might just steer clear of the cerviche though.

    • Jason says:

      Cerviche is one of our favorites, but this was just one instance where Aracely had a reaction. A quick visit to the pharmacy that resulted in a shot took care of it quickly. Yes, they will administer shots right at the pharmacy.

  29. Awesome post! Its crazy how your body changes over time and it did find it hilarious that he was holding on through the whole. I thought he was trying to make the whole bridge shake and do the snake! lol

  30. That picture of Uyuni is sooo sick, post is great, but that picture is epic

  31. Marlene says:

    re: it is so easy for men to pee…..God had just finished the creation of Adam and Eve and was having a chat with them concerning the physical aspects of there bodies. After explaining many things, God asked, ” which one of you would like to pee standing up?”. Adam started yelling, “I do, I do”. God asked Eve why she didn’t yell, and Eve replied that , “Adam seemed so eager, she thought she would be gracious and let him have his way”. God was so impressed with Eve’s generosity and thoughtfulness, that He decided to reward her with a gift. “Eve, God said, for being so kind, you will be able to have multiple orgasms!”

  32. I am soooo jealous. Jealous of this beautiful blog, jealous of your travels, jealous that I can’t be there now instead of here freezing in DC. Jealous, jealous, jealous!

    Yeah I said it! :-)

    • Jason says:

      Hey Rohan, there is always time, no worries. And before you know it, DC will have beautiful Spring upon it. Thanks for the compliments.

      • rohan says:

        Oh I just realized you guys take guest posts. Really? You mean that if I come up with an awesome idea for a guest post it would be considered.


        I’m so on it! Expect an email from me shortly. Woot!

  33. Marlene says:

    Jason…………………I apologize for the comment……..I hope I did not offend anyone……………….Marlene

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