It’s very easy, while traveling in South America, to be lazy. Yeah, sure, you can be lazy and sit in hammocks all day and not do a lot for very cheap – that much is true. But what I’m referring to is learning spanish. Travelers down here stay in hostels with other travelers, and whether you like it or not, 90% of the time the common language is English. We’ve even met a bunch of people (usually Aussies and Kiwis) who speak about 5 words of spanish, and they can get along OK on this continent. So unless you go out of your way, as a backpacker it is very common to only have your spanish barely improve over a long period of time.
In order to boost our productivity, while also allowing us to camp out for a while in the ballin’ city of Cusco, Peru, we decided to go back to school. We are now enrolled in intensive spanish class with Excel Language School, 4 hours straight a day, 5 days a week, with special extra-curricular trips on the weekends. Starting at the level ‘Basico Intermedio,’ we are attempting to really improve our grammar and vocab, and move out of speaking almost exclusively in the present. It would really be a shame to travel for ~ 9 months in South America and not come back being halfway decent in spanish. At least, that is our plan.
We got our pens, our notebooks, our trapper keepers and learning caps. And yes, we still count the minutes til recess. Some things never really change.