Just moments ago, I booked my flight out of the country to begin my nomadic life.

I have decided to spend the first year or so in South America, where I can live cheaply while I build my revenue streams. In a year or so, I hope to better afford Europe.

I also decided to take my son on one last trip with me, for his sake and my own.

I know I want to be in Peru around September/October, to repeat my Andes trek to Macchu Pichu, but I’ll be on a 90 day visa there, so I need to be somewhere else for the summer.

I searched high and low for discount fares to South America, in all my usual places. TravelZoo was strangely quiet. TACA and LAN, my favorite S. American carriers, had no great bargains. I just traveled from Chicago to Quito last month for $300, but now I couldn’t find anything under $900!

Finally I thought to check Spirit. They fly to S. America from Ft. Lauderdale only, so I’ll still need to get us to Florida. I will freaking drive there if I have to, and sell my car in Florida. I pretty much hate Spirit. They make you pay $35 for a carry-on bag, or $30 to check one. It’s all part of ’empowering you to save.’ Bleh.

But the fares are cheap… and hey, I’ll be throwing away my return ticket, so no need to pay for baggage on the way back!

I found a flight to Cartagena, Columbia. Even with taxes, fees, two carry-on bags and a checked bag (one-way) for me, and an upgrade to bigger seats, the flight was still under $450 each. I booked it. We leave on May 14.

I like Colombia very much, and Cartagena is on the coast, a charming city rich with history. So I booked the fare.

Then I went to Hostelworld.com. Usually I can find a bed for $10-15 a night, and I don’t mind sleeping in a mixed dorm room. I only sleep in the room anyway, and they always provide lockers for our luggage. But since this is a vacation with my son, I splurged.

For $40 per night ($20 each) I booked us a private, twin-bed room in the most beautiful hostel imaginable, the Casa de la Chicheria. Just blocks from the oceanfront.the oceanfront.

Logan will return to the States on May 22, and I will probably move to less spendy digs in Cartagena for the rest of the summer, before I head to Peru. But… the hostel happens to own a sailboat, and offers passage to Panama. So maybe I’ll look into that?

Author

Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer. She has been traveling the world, living out of a backpack, since May of 2013. Lauren has written regularly for CBS Local, WebPsychology, Hipmunk, and Hotelplanner, and has also been published in The Culture-ist, Matador, and other online and print publications.

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