Valparaiso, Chile

Travel photos that belong somewhere.

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When I began my ’round the world trip in 2011, I shared everything. I blogged almost daily, documenting nearly every move I made. Every country. Every city. Every meal. Every day.

Actually, that’s how I blogged in general before I ever even started traveling. I’d post updates nearly daily. Sometimes I’d post a blog post, drunk, in the middle of the night, because I couldn’t go to sleep without updating my non-existent audience about my day. Sometimes I’d post a blog post without photos, because I needed to wait for my film to be developed (because this was before digital cameras), and then weeks later would post a second blog post with the photos. Sometimes I’d just post a link to an article or video I came across that day (because this was before Twitter). Sometimes I’d just post a random, cryptic, thought, that today I read and go, “I wonder what that was about?”

The longer I traveled, and, I suppose, the longer time went on, the more my blogging changed. Near the end of my trip, as I was traveling in South America, I no longer felt the need to update every move I made, every meal I ate, every single day. Days, cities, were often combined into one long-form story. Some stories or non stories went untold altogether.

Now, a couple of years later, I sometimes go months without blogging. Part of it, maybe, is that social media has replaced those day to day updates. I don’t need to post about what I did that day because I have Facebook. I don’t need to post random photos because I have Instagram. I don’t have to post random cryptic thoughts because I have Twitter.

But part of it, I think, is that I’ve just been kind of boring lately. Even when I really want to write, I can’t think of anything worth writing about. I realized this last week when I went on a pizza tour, went home, and had a blog post done three hours later.

So, I suppose, the moral here is that I just need to leave my apartment more often…


I’ve been working on some projects that had me going through my photos and going through old blog posts. At one point, I was looking through those posts searching for what I wrote about Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and couldn’t find anything. I apparently never wrote anything about my days there at all.

Granted, I didn’t do much in Santa Cruz. But still, I felt like it was weird for me not to have written a word. And then I found this blog post buried in my drafts. This one right here, partially started, not much more than a list of countries in South America that I never wrote about. That I never shared photos from.

Granted, most of these towns were merely jumping off points for tours or other excursions. In most of those towns I didn’t do much. Or I did one big thing that I blogged about but neglected everything else. But I was there. And I took some photos. And I wanted to share those photos.

And since I had nothing else to write about this week I figured I’d dig up those photos, try to remember anything I could about these lost towns, write a little, and share.

So, here are some travel photos that belong…somewhere…


Aguas Calientes, Peru

The only reason anyone goes to Aguas Calientes, Peru, is to go to Machu Picchu. Sure, there’s a market. And there is a hot spring pool (hence the name). But you don’t go to Aguas Calientes for that market. You don’t go to Aguas Calientes for that hot spring. You go to Aguas Calientes for Machu Picchu.

That’s why I went to Aguas Calientes, on a beautiful train ride (skipping the days-long Inka Trail trek). I went. I went to the market. I went to the hot springs. I spent a night in a hostel. I woke up ridiculously early. I went to Machu Picchu. I ate some pizza. And then I went back to Cusco.


Puno, Peru

I did little in Puno itself minus making copious amounts of photo copies and securing American dollars for the Bolivian border. I took a day trip from Puno to Sillustani when I had nothing better to do one afternoon. But the real reason anyone goes to Puno in the first place is as a jumping off point to take a trip to the floating islands and Lake Titicaca.

Puno, Peru


Rurrenebaque, Bolivia

According to my copy of Lonely Planet’s South America on a Shoestring, Rurrenebaque, Bolivia, is a place where people come and get lost for days, never wanting to leave. According to Val, it’s a place where people come for only a night and leave on an Amazon tour as soon as possible. The town had its charms but was mostly pretty dead.

The most interesting part about Rurrenebaque was the flight there and back, which involved the tiniest airplane I’ve ever been on. In which I had to crouch down to get to my seat. In which I had to keep all my bags on my lap. In which I could see the pilot the whole time. That dropped us off in the middle of who knows where. Whose airport was nothing more than an empty room with a desk and a sleepy dog who wandered freely back and forth across “security.”


Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Santa Cruz was a pretty little town. I really only went though as a starting point to get to Samaipata. Still, I spent a day roaming some of the parks and going to the top of Catedral de Santa Cruz…which apparently is THE PLACE TO BE if you’re a teenager looking to make out. I had to climb over many young couples to get to the top…


Sucre, Bolivia

Everyone raves about Sucre, Bolivia. But, I didn’t get it. I mean, it was nice and all, but that’s all I can say. I have learnt, though, that I tend not to like the places most people rave about and love the places most people don’t. If it wasn’t for the epic three-day parade of Virgen de Guadalupe, I’m not sure what I would have done with my time there.


Potosi, Bolivia

I only went to Potosi to take a tour of the mines and, quite honestly, I don’t remember anything about the town itself…


San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

There are two options when taking a salt flat tour of Salar de Uyuni: you either end the trip back in Bolivia or you can end the trip across the border in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Since Chile was my next destination, I chose the latter option. I took, and wrote about, a few amazing tours in the area: the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) Tour and the SPACE stargazing tour. Between those, I relaxed in the town and, mostly, enjoyed a few delicious and cheap three-course meals. I apparently didn’t take too many photos outside of the tours…


Valparaiso, Chile

I once wrote about the street art in Valparaiso, but didn’t share anything else about the city. Granted, all I really did there walk around and check out that street art. Because the entire city is covered in street art. But there are other monuments to see. Other buildings to see. Dogs to pet. Ascensores to ride. Craft beer to drink. And Chorrillana (a Chilean dish consisting of a plate of french fries topped with different types of sliced meat, sausages, and egg) to devour.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • E Meister
    May 18, 2018at1:27 pm

    1) You didn’t have a non-existent audience in 2011. I read all about Thailand and loved it!
    2) You perfectly described Aguas Calientes (and Puno). I hated so much about Peru because of A.C., but Puno was decent. I was disappointed by the floating islands.
    3) Thanks for sharing the pics!

  • Stella Wilson
    June 28, 2020at10:43 pm

    Beautiful photos. I love them all. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    December 27, 2022at3:39 am

    amazing photos thanks for sharing with us

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