Travel to South America – How to Start

You set your mind and you’re ready to travel to South America, a magical place of immense beauty where myth and legend continue to walk hand in hand. I’ve traveled 18 months in South America and can give you some tips on how to prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure.

Common Sense

We all hear the unpleasant stories and South America has a fame of being dangerous. I traveled thousands of miles traversing cities, jungles, islands and mountains. I survived 6 weeks in a street child care center in the favelas of Salvador da Bahía (Brazil) and had the party of a lifetime during carnival. Nothing, I repeat, nothing happened. Use your common sense. Avoid badly lit streets at night and if your sixth sense is giving you the “something is wrong” sign then take a taxi to your destination.

Travel Guide Book

The first thing that you will need is a travel guide book. It will be your best companion in your search for adventure. I can highly recommend Lonely Planet´s South America on a Shoestring
to get you started. The book covers all you need to know to get the most out of your trip and is ideal to plan your journey ahead. I’ve used the guide extensively during my 18 month adventure. They offer excellent separate travel guides of all the countries (besides using the Lonely Planet Shoestring I’ve used their separate travel guides of Peru and Brazil). Their guides are the most popular among backpackers.

Other popular guides are The Rough Guide to South America and the South American Handbook. Ideal, but not practical because you want to travel light, would be to enjoy the adventure with a Lonely Planet and either the Rough Guide or the Handbook.

Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese

The most rewarding thing for me was the fact that you can travel in a huge continent like South America with only 2 languages. Spanish and Portuguese. If you plan to travel just for a few weeks you can invest in a Spanish and/or Brazilian Portuguese Phrase Book. English is not widely spoken and even a basic knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese makes the trip so much more rewarding (they’re extremely willing to help you, so don’t worry, be happy).

If on the other hand you’re planning to travel for a few months I can highly recommend taking a language course. Ideal would be in a school in South America (I took lessons in Quito, Ecuador, and had a private teacher for $2.50/h).

Walking Shoes

South America’s nature is overwhelming. You’ll walk for many hours day after day. It would be a shame to walk in the footsteps of the Incas with blisters on your feet. My biggest recommendation is to invest in high quality walking shoes with Gore-Tex.

Health Vaccinations

Yellow Fever (if you plan to go to the Amazon Basin), Typhoid (consists of two injections taken 4 weeks apart), Diphtheria-Tetanus, Polio, Cholera (only when necessary), Smallpox
Medical Kit:

Depending on what you plan to do you can include the following:

Antiseptic cream, aspirin, lomotil for diarrhea, antibiotics, throat lozenges, ear and eye drops, antacid tablets, motion sickness medication, alcohol swabs, water purifier, lip salve, foot and groin powder, thermometer (in a case), surgical tape, assorted sticky plasters, gauze, bandages, butterfly closures, scissors and last but not least, first-aid booklet
Note: malaria pills are required in the amazon basin, please be aware that those pills are very strong and you should check with your doctor before departure

Traveling Gear


Obviously a high quality backpack is a must. Choose the type that has different compartments that can be opened separately. Very handy if you need something quickly. Travel as light as possible. A heavy backpack is destined to undermine your traveling pleasure.


Depends on where you go. If it’s the mountains and the jungle, get some quality clothing from home. If it’s the beach, buy your t-shirts there (cheap).
Camping and Climbing Gear:

You can rent camping and climbing material in South America but the quality may be questionable. Always check the material. Bring your own gear if possible. I traveled 18 months with my own tent and various camping utensils.


Pictures are something personal. Some people just want some snap shots, others want to publish in the National Geographic. All my pictures were taken with a cheap Nikon F50 camera.
I had two zoom lenses, a 35-80 mm. and a 70-210mm. I also dragged a tripod and an excellent flash with me. I used FUJI slides (100 ASA) but you definitely need 200 to 400 ASA if you plan to go to the jungle. A polarize filter enhances the colours tremendously on sunny days.


South America will embrace you with open arms. It’s nature, people and history are overwhelming. With the right preparation and set of mind you’re ready to travel South America and enjoy an unforgettable adventure.

Simple Tips to Get the Perfect Snaps For the Pet Portrait

There are ample of ways by which you can make your pet feel special at your home. One of them is by getting the portrait for your pet. Some tips which you must always remember before you are headed for making any pet portrait are enlisted below.

1. Patience

The very first thing which we must never forget is that if you want to get the awesome snaps of your beloved pet then you must keep the patience. This is the main virtue which is required for getting a good snap and decorating the walls of your home. You must wait for the right masquerade or pose that can avail you with the best portrait. If you are looking for the finest portrait at your home then you must keep patience and wait for the best pose that can provide you with a great snap.

2. Shoot Often

Getting the shots continuously can accomplish a couple of things. This will make your pet get used to the sound of camera. The second advantage of this activity is that it can allow captivating the candid shots amid the formal poses. You can get surprised at some snaps which you have captured when you were trying to get the final portrait.

3. You Must Utilize Different Angles

You are well aware about the fact that eyes are most important organs which can draw the viewer at any snap. The soul and the character of your four legged friend can be more radically captivated by getting down till the level of your eye. Apart from all this, you can experiment with ample of angles to generate an outstanding portrait of your pet. You must never forget that the eyes are the main attraction in any portrait. So, you must always keep your eyes focused. This can provide you with the perfect and awe-inspiring snap for your pet portrait.

If you are getting a snap in a short space then you must remember many things which are required for getting a good and eye-catching snap with your four legged friend. Getting the portraits of the pets is quite challenging and this is quite certain in the case the case of people who owe an energetic this is a tricky way to reward your pet, but believe me that this effort will not go in vain.

This is the best way to reward your pet and make it feel special at your home.

How Does Smoking Affect the Respiratory System? A Snap Shot

The effects of smoking on the respiratory system is broad, causing immediate damage that persists over a long period of time. This damage occurs each time smoking occurs, and will stack with any previous harm done.

There are many toxins in tobacco smoke, all these chemicals are deposited into the lungs. The first stage of damage occurs when the toxins travel down to the lungs where they leave small burns to critical parts of the respiratory system. This affects everything from the voice box to the tiny hairs that filter the air we breathe.

The next stage of damage occurs to the parts of the lung that uses the air. Smoking harms the ability of these little systems from allowing air into the blood. This is the main reason why smokers find it difficult to exercise. Many years of this damage will lead to emphysema.

The final stage of damage occurs from the long term exposure to the toxic smoke. The chemicals that sit in the lungs will begin to damage the genetic code of each cell. Eventually the cell will mutate into a form that grows uncontrollably and is difficult to destroy. This is commonly known as Cancer, and essentially is runaway growth of cells that our body cannot fight.

When smoking stops not only can the damage be stopped, but the amazing human body can slowly repair the damage. Eventually most of the negative affects can be repaired, so it is important to quit smoking before a line is crossed where cancer and emphysema is likely to develop. Unfortunately, we cannot know for certain when the line of no return has been crossed. So it is critical we stop smoking sooner than later.