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ewu5191
I'm trying to get advice! I've never traveled anywhere by myself before, I'm only 19 years old. I am extremely eager to travel and see the world, yet I am nervous about going to a strange country where I am not fluent in the language. I'm trying to travel to a wildlife refuge near Cochabamba, but I would have to go into the city of Cochabamba and take a bus to where I want to go. Is this safe? Is this stupid? I would go with someone else, I just have no idea how I would get in touch with someone that would be interested
starlagurl
OK...if you have never traveled by yourself before, I wouldn't recommend going so far for your first time.

I'm not saying don't go to this refuge, I'm saying take a few mini weekend trips somewhere new before you go. Just so you get used to going it alone.
exploreamerica
yes go and have a great time
aopaq
I would check the "Find a Travelmate" thread as there was a post recently of a woman headed to South America (including Bolivia) in July/August. I think she also posted in the "Introduce Yourself" thread as well. Hopefully, you can find someone to travel with you all the way to Cochabamba.

I think you said in another post that you would have to purchase an airticket to Cochabamba once you arrive in La Paz. However, you should also be able to buy this ticket beforehand if you check out the AeroSur website AeroSur which accepts payment by Visa. That would save you a bit of worry and possible hassle trying to do this at the airport.

As for getting to the volunteer site once you arrive, I would try to see if someone from the refuge will be in Cochambamba at about the same time so they can help you get the right bus and to the site. Otherwise, I am sure you can pre-arrange a travel agency person to meet you at the airport and help you get going as well.

I think you would be fine on your own but it all depends on your level of confidence. If you are still determined to go but want some assistance along the way, as I have said, I am sure you could arrange with a travel agency to help you navigate some of the details once you are in the country.

You definitely would have a unique and incredible experience and I wouldn't let the negative stories deter you. Just use your common sense and intuition, always be aware of your surroundings and don't be afraid to ask for help.

wakingdream
QUOTE
I am extremely eager to travel and see the world, yet I am nervous about going to a strange country where I am not fluent in the language. I'm trying to travel to a wildlife refuge near Cochabamba, but I would have to go into the city of Cochabamba and take a bus to where I want to go. Is this safe? Is this stupid?


If you have an ounce of common sense, which it sounds like you do, I think you can make it to the refuge okay. Sometimes, when you're volunteering, the center or facility will help you get there, be it someone meeting you or arranging travel for you or just helping you break it down to exactly what you need to do to get there.

It always helps to at least have a conversational dictionary. Being nervous is normal and you'll easily get over your initial nervousness. Most people are nervous their first trip but as you move along in your journey you'll just keep gaining more and more confidence.

QUOTE
I wouldn't let the negative stories deter you. Just use your common sense and intuition, always be aware of your surroundings and don't be afraid to ask for help.


This is good advice. And remember, there is danger all over the world, everywhere. You do have to use your common sense, maybe more so in some places then in others, but all you can do in life is take care in what you do and make informed decisions. smile.gif Oh, and remember, you definitely will not be the only English speaking person in Cochabamaba.

Where is the refuge?
exploreamerica
[quote name='wakingdream' date='Mar 4 2009, 10:52 PM' post='91776']
[quote]
This is good advice. And remember, there is danger all over the world, everywhere. You do have to use your common sense, maybe more so in some places then in others, but all you can do in life is be take care in what you do and make informed decisions. smile.gif
[/quote]

Exactly, Susie. Once you accept the fact that everywhere has danger then it is time to decide if you want to live yourl ife inside of your home and see the world "intelligently". You only have one life so I choose see the world.
wakingdream
[quote name='exploreamerica' date='Mar 4 2009, 11:57 PM' post='91778']
[quote name='wakingdream' date='Mar 4 2009, 10:52 PM' post='91776']
[quote]
This is good advice. And remember, there is danger all over the world, everywhere. You do have to use your common sense, maybe more so in some places then in others, but all you can do in life is be take care in what you do and make informed decisions. smile.gif
[/quote]

Exactly, Susie. Once you accept the fact that everywhere has danger then it is time to decide if you want to live yourl ife inside of your home and see the world "intelligently". You only have one life so I choose see the world.
[/quote]
That's it. You can either be scared to do things and wonder what it's like to do them, or you can do them and forget about the wondering and just enjoy doing.

Listen ewu, do you want to look back at your life and wonder why you missed out on an incredible experience because you were nervous about finding your way? No way! You will get along great. And to make yourself feel better, why not learn a tad bit of Spanish before you head off. It will likely make your volunteer experience that much better too. I say go for it! And if there's anything we can help you with, we'll help!
mmbcross
What a dilemma. Starlagurl is right in that Bolivia seems a poor choice for a first ever overseas trip. Usually novices go to Cancun or somewhere closer by for their first expedition abroad.

So much depends on your own attitude in this case. Bolivia is no more inherently dangerous than anywhere else in South America, just a little more exotic.

Nevertheless a young single girl travelling alone is always a wake-up call for the local Latin lotharios to comment in no uncertain terms in respect to their beauty. This is known as the "piropo. Many Latin girls consider piropos a complement and would be dismayed if they didn't get one. The majority of men mean it to be a complement too, but of course there are always boors. Ignore them or enjoy them, but never make eye contact unless you are planning on a deeper relationship.

In the end, if you are nervous about the trip, you should seriously think about finding a friend to accompany you. For goodness sake don't just pick up someone from a web site without a good background check (even from Travelpod). You may end up worse than travelling alone.

findingnine
Not the biggest fan of danger myself; I wouldn't put it automatically on the no list though.

Recognizing risk is the key. It exists everywhere btw, (as mentioned). You're doing the right thing by using the resources you have to check it out. Make an informed decision and plan accordingly. Thinking something is safer than it is will make it more dangerous.
wakingdream
QUOTE
In the end, if you are nervous about the trip, you should seriously think about finding a friend to accompany you. For goodness sake don't just pick up someone from a web site without a good background check (even from Travelpod). You may end up worse than travelling alone.


This is excellent advice. I always hesitate to mention it but I should. You never know who the hek is on the receiving end when you're searching for a travel mate online. personally I think it's a dangerous thing to do. I'd prefer to find a travel agent I can trust and have someone escort me to where I need to go rather than taking a chance on a total stranger.

Martin (mmbcross) is an invaluable resource for South America. Truly. If you have questions he's always more than happy to help you out and his answers are always in depth and specific. Ask away. Don't hesitate to ask all the questions you have. That's why we're all here. To ease your nervousness and help you along your way if you need it hug.gif
ewu5191
Hey everyone- I sent that out in the beginning of march, nervous and confused about my trip. Now it's almost june, and after all my research I feel a hell of a lot more confident. I head out to Bolivia in two weeks with another girl my age. Thanks for all the advice
aopaq
Hope you will be posting a blog with lots of pics! Have a great time!! speak_cool.gif
wakingdream
QUOTE(ewu5191 @ May 29 2009, 05:19 PM) *

Hey everyone- I sent that out in the beginning of march, nervous and confused about my trip. Now it's almost june, and after all my research I feel a hell of a lot more confident. I head out to Bolivia in two weeks with another girl my age. Thanks for all the advice

Hey! Glad to hear you're feeling geared up and excited! You're going to have a fantastic time, I know it. Happy trails friend! Have fun discovering a whole new world smile.gif I bet the travel bug bites hard!
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