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Travel Confessions: Dan Blumberg on his gap year in the Americas

Published November 25th, 2014

It's been said that travel is the best education and you don't always have to volunteer or work to get some worldly experience on a gap year abroad. After finishing university, Dan Blumberg spent six months backpacking with G Adventures around the world, including North, Central and South America. We caught up with Dan in Cusco, Peru after  he completed the Inca Trail tour with G Adventures, which he says everyone should do it at some stage of their lives, no matter how old!

 

Dan in the Sacred Valley in Peru.

 

What sparked your decision to take a gap year and go backpacking?

Having just finished university, the decision to take gap before starting full-time work was a no-brainer. I don’t think I will ever get an opportunity like this to travel for a long time.

 

Iguassu Falls in South America.

 

Why did you choose to head to the Americas instead of the typical London or Canada gap year options?

The Americas offers adventures of every kind and is well suited to the intrepid traveller. For me, there was so much unknown about Central America and South America, which is why I chose to travel there. Central America has everything to offer; from the heights, climbing some of the highest volcanos in Central America; to the depths, scuba diving off the islands of Belize and Honduras; and everything in between including ziplining and bungee jumping in Costa Rica, jumping off waterfalls in Guatemala and natural hot springs in Nicaragua.

 

Local women in Cusco, Peru.

 

What trips have you done with G Adventures?
I’ve done a 32-day trip through Central America, a 10-day cruise through the Galapagos Islands, a 12-day trip through Peru including Lima, the Amazon, Cusco, the Inca Trail, an Iguazu Falls tour and a Buenos Aires tour with G Adventures.

 

Dan under the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

 

What was one of the biggest lessons you learnt from your time away?

Try the delicious street food, but be willing to pay for it later.

 

Dan Blumberg and his father, Michael, in the Galapagos Islands.

 

What was the highlight of your trip?

The Galapagos Islands, each island so different with wildlife in abundance and the best snorkelling I have ever done. You see things you will never see again in your lifetime.

 

Dan ziplining in Monte Verde in Costa Rica.

 

What was the most challenging part of your trip?

Transport through Central America is by public buses - some so cramped you can't move for hours (often in sweltering heat with no air-conditioning), some with street vendors waving local products in your face, and some with drivers taking turns twice as fast as they should.

 

Dan at Machu Picchu in Peru.

 

What was the most rewarding part of your trip?

Hiking the Inca Trail in the rainy season to reach the Sun Gate and catch the first glimpse of Machu Picchu. The four-day hike is made much easier by porters who set up and pack your tent and mattress, carry your duffel bag filled with clothes, and cook your food.

 

Dan on the summit of Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala.

 

Favourite country you've travelled to so far?

Guatemala. It should be top of everyone's list – from its 'New York City' of Mayan ruins in Tikal to one of the highest volcanos of Central America and the most magical city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.

Rachel Surgeoner

A self-confessed 'food-tourist', I take hunting for the world's greatest sandwich very seriously, my quest has taken me from Berlin to Hoboken. Stopping off only for vintage shopping, craft beers and Mediterranean sunsets.