Going Vagabond: Anne tells us about her two-year Peru travel tale

Anne, from Going Vagabond travel blog, explains how a short-term volunteer experience in Peru turned into a long-term adventure!
Anne, a German travel blogger, gets some llama love in Peru. Original photo from Going Vagabond

Our friend and German travel blogger, Anne Prinz de Serván, embarked on a once-in-a lifetime South American adventure in 2011. A short-term volunteer position brought her to Peru, but as Anne explains, she fell in love with the country, a man, and a street dog and ended up staying much longer.

“I always wanted to see South America,” says Anne. “I love the Spanish language and I think I imagined it kind of wild, filled with a lot of natural diversity – jungle, deserts, beaches, palm trees and volcanoes.”

The Peruvian coast, sierra, and jungleCoast, mountains, and jungle of Peru
Original photos from Going Vagabond

Travel has always been apart of Anne’s life. Growing up in Germany, she and her family ventured to destinations throughout Europe in their camper van. These early road trips endowed Anne with an incurable case of the “travel bug” and she’s been on a mission to explore as many countries as possible ever since.

Anne, at 16, went on her first big trip with friends across France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In more recent years, she has traveled to Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Italy, and the United States.

“My whole Peru story started about four years ago, just after I finished my studies in graphic design,” she explains. “I planned to volunteer with an NGO in Trujillo called Fairmail, travel for a bit and then continue studying because I didn’t want to start a 9 to 5 job at the age of 22.”

But plans don’t always go exactly as expected.

Anne fell in love with the pura vida lifestyle she experienced as a volunteer living along the northern coast of Peru. She took a quick trip back to Germany to visit family and friends and then returned to Peru on a one-way ticket.

Photo collage of Cusco pictures from Going VagabondCusco, Peru
Original photos from Going Vagabond

“I stayed in Cusco for a month or two and then headed back to the northern coast where I had all my friends from my time volunteering there. My boyfriend and I moved into a nice flat, I adopted a little puppy I found on the street and we started publishing a local cultural magazine called Wachaque,” says Anne. “We lived there two more years until I started missing some aspects of my German life. That’s when we decided to move to Germany for a while.”

Anne documents her travel tales from Peru and beyond in her blog, Going Vagabond (www.goingvagabond.de, written in German). She has a knack for taking great photos, which she so kindly shared with us.

Going Vagabond to PunoLake Titicaca, Puno, Peru
Original photo from Going Vagabond

“I traveled a lot in the time I lived in Peru. I did two big round trips and several smaller trips and saw a lot of northern and southern Peru.”

Machu Picchu, of course, was on Anne’s bucket list!

“I had seen so many pictures of Machu Picchu and people kept telling me that it’s such a magical place. I was really skeptical though when I first traveled there because it is a really touristic place and there are so many people there everyday. I really wondered how magical can a place that is so touristic really be,” Anne admits, “but it was incredible!”

Going Vagabond - Jungle Trek to Machu PicchuMachu Picchu Jungle trek, Peru
Original photo from Going Vagabond

“The first time I went to Machu Picchu was in July 2011 and I did the so called Inca Jungle Trail with some friends of mine. It was a three-day tour, including some hiking and downhill mountain biking. It’s a cheaper version of the Inca Trail, but it’s also shorter. The last night we spent in Aguas Calientes, the little town on the foot of the mountains. At 4 a.m. or so, we started walking all the way up to Machu Picchu without lights, so be sure to bring flashlights if you go.

Going Vagabond to Machu PicchuMachu Picchu (round 2 for Anne)
Original photos from Going Vagabond

The second time I went with my parents, we did it all by bus, but made sure to be one of the first ones in the morning to get to see Machu Picchu before sunrise.

I also traveled to Ecuador and Argentina. I spent one day in Paraguay to go to market and one day in Brazil to see the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls.”

Anne left Peru with many wonderful memories. She saw impressive places, made really good friends, and even fell in love.

“I think the craziest thing I experienced were the two weeks when I flew back to Peru in December 2012 and married my boyfriend in Huanchaco, Trujillo, in the north of Peru where I had lived before. We didn’t know if it would really work out, because of all the paperwork and bureaucracy. We had to get a lot of papers translated and legalized in a very short time, it was like a marathon around Lima from embassy to ministries, to translators and back to other institutions again. I don’t think I have ever spent so much time in taxis as in those three crazy weeks!” says Anne. “It was just a few days before the actual marriage that we realized it was really going to happen. It was a funny and improvised wedding day.”

The typical Spanish phrase “todo es possible, nada es seguro” (everything is possible, nothing is sure) has become a life motto for Anne.

Going Vagabond in a planeWhere to next?
Original photo from Going Vagabond

“If someone would have told me the first time I boarded a plane to Peru in 2011, that just 3 years later I would be married to a Peruvian and have an adopted street dog, living and working in Berlin with my German-Peruvian-family, I wouldn’t have believed it.” She adds, “And I probably wouldn’t have gotten on that plane. But that’s the wonderful thing about journeys, that you never know when or how they will end.”

Anne and her husband currently live in Berlin, Germany, where they are finishing their studies. South America is, once again, pulling at their wanderlust heartstrings. What countries are at the top of their travel wish list? Brazil and Colombia.

Your own South American adventure is calling your name. Let our travel experts at Latin America for Less help you customize your prefect vacation! Give us a call.