Published on November 11th, 2011 | by Latin America For Less1
South America is a nature lover’s paradise: Interview with Nellie Huang of WildJunket.com
Traveling the world for a living
Nellie Huang has the job we all dream of: she’s a travel writer who gets to live out her passion, travelling the world. Her blog, Wild Junket, covers all the experiences and lessons she has learnt from time spent in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. It is regarded as one of the best travel blogs and she is even a new Wanderer in Residence for G Adventures.
Interview: A full-time traveler’s view of Latin America
Nellie and her husband spent 4 months traveling in South America with nothing but backpacks, starting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, making their way to Ecuador before crossing over to Central America, during which Nellie absolutely fell in love with everything nature had to offer in Latin America.
Here’ she shares her thoughts on how the unparalleled charisma of South America helped her discover nature’s consistent ability to surprise and delight even the hardiest city girl.
Q: You have traveled extensively around the world. What are some things that differentiated your travel experiences in South America from your visits to other countries or continents?
A: The main element that differentiates my travels in South America to other places I visited is its raw wilderness. There might be places like Australia or Madagascar that offer such unspoiled nature, but in South America, you feel an extreme immensity of such wilderness. Mountains and fields run for miles without a single human or construction in sight. Here, you feel like a tiny being in a massive world.
Q: Did you spend any time staying put and living in any South American location?
A: As I wanted to explore as much as I could of South America, I didn’t really spend too much time living in each location. I did, however, take a guidebook writing course in Antigua, Guatemala, and I was selected to work on the guidebook, so I spent a few weeks there researching and working on it after the course.
Q: You seem to enjoy photographing nature. What is one top South American destination you would suggest to a traveler who wants to see unbelievable natural beauty?
A: True, I’m a big fan of nature and wildlife—they are the elements I look for when I travel. Growing up in a big city, I’d always been used to lifeless concrete and urban rushes. When I started exploring the world, I fell in love with the bounty of nature in on the planet, and since then, I’ve always been attracted to places that offer plenty of natural landscapes. For travelers seeking raw, untouched natural beauty, the South American destination I’d recommend would be Bolivia. Its massive and sparse areas of unexplored terrain are mind-blowing even to the most hardened travelers. A jeep tour through the Andean Nature Reserve to the Salar de Uyuni brings you close to spectacular mountainscapes and out-of-this-world lagoons and plains. I’ve never seen anything like that elsewhere—Bolivia truly is one of a kind.
Q: Of the countries you’ve been in South America—Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina—which would you return to first if given the chance, and why?
A: Ecuador. It’s a country that’s relatively small but packed with so much diversity. In Ecuador alone, you can surf from golden beaches, climb snow-peaked mountains, experience culture in quaint villages, and come face-to-face with unique wildlife. The Galapagos is my favorite place in the world—nowhere else offers such unique, endemic animals that are completely fearless of humans and are as equally curious about us as we are of them. I definitely want to return someday and hope to get the same touching experience with the wildlife as I did previously.
Q: What tips do you have for someone who is anxious about traveling to an exotic country for the first time?
A: Don’t let your fear get in your way. It’s natural to be anxious, but once you’re there, you’ll find that there’s nothing to be afraid of, and if you have enough faith in yourself, you’ll know that you can do it.