This week we catch up with our audio production assistant Shalini Kulkarni, who has been on the road backpacking in South America since July of 2017. Shalini knew she wanted to do a longer term trip since graduating university, and decided the time was right when she finished paying off her student loan after working for a few years. Paring down an initially ambitious travel plan, Shalini landed in Cartagena and has been having a great time learning the travel ropes (and Spanish!) and getting comfortable in South America, allowing some of the initial cautiousness she arrived with to relax.
Working for a few years before taking off has allowed Shalini to put some of her trip saving towards developing new hobbies, like a new love for trekking in Peru which has led to her visiting some great lesser known places like the Inca site of Choquequirao and the Guaviare region in Colombia. In addition, Shalini took some measures before the trip that allowed her to save a little extra like downsizing her apartment and getting an travel points credit card which is now allowing her to fly to Asia for only the taxes. On this episode we talk to Shalini about some of the other things she did to budget for her trip before she left, how her travel expectations have lived up to the reality of her day to day travel, some of her trip highlights so far and more.