The 5 most important things I learnt as a backpacker…#4 When all else fails, cry!

Published August 9th, 2011

Meet Lizzy, our Resident Backpacker Extraordinaire! Her passion in life is backpacking, amongst other things, but the others aren’t nearly as interesting! She has travelled on and off for the past 10 years, lived in 5 different countries, and been to over 35 countries across South, Central, and North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. She now lives in Montreal, Canada with her partner where she constantly confuses the French word for ‘maybe ’for the word for ‘potato’ and is planing her next big trip.


I backpacked around South America as a 20 year old and fell in love with the people almost straight away

This is Lizzy's fourth blog post from the series “The 5 most important things I learnt as a backpacker”.  You can also check out her other blogs #1 Travel Light,  #2 I can sleep anywhere! & #3 There is always a job, it just depends what you are willing to do!....

I backpacked around South America as a 20 year old and fell in love with the people almost straight away. After a brief stop in Brazil, I made my way to Bolivia, still to this date my favourite country of all those I’ve been to.

While travelling around South America I realised pretty quickly that for some reason my bank card would not work in Bolivia and while I had gone to the trouble of getting Visa travellers cheques, I could not find a single bank that would accept anything except American Express cheques.

So after going to three different banks where no one could help me I was reaching the end of my tether. I had no money to pay for my hotel and had used the last of my cash at an internet café looking for banks, so when I entered the last bank on my list I was about to lose it.

I was told to go upstairs to the Visa office where someone may be able to help me, so up I headed up, fingers and toes crossed. But when the gentlemen upstairs told me they also didn’t accept Visa traveller’s cheques, I lost it! To his complete surprise I burst into tears and started balling. Next thing I knew I was throwing my travellers cheques at him yelling – "it’s just paper, it’s just paper, I’m the richest person in this town but its just paper”.

What surprised me most was his response. This lovely man gave me a hug and told me everything would be all right, 'if I would please just stop crying'. He gathered up my travellers cheques, took me to his office and started making some phone calls. He called every single bank in the town until he found one that would help me out. He then took me down stairs, put me in a cab, paid for it, and told the driver if I came out of the next building crying to bring me back and he would pay again...

As he put me in the cab, I turned to him and asked, why he helped me so much, he replied,  "because I want you to love my country, and I couldn’t think of any other way to make you stop crying"!

Make a comment below and tell us if you have had a local go out of their way for you on your travels!!

You can also check out the South America holiday options via our website  www.studentflights.com.au.

Student Flights' Consultants

At Student Flights, our consultants have travelled along those well-worn routes before diverting from the beaten path to explore the real side of foreign countries. These blog posts shine a light on just some of the experiences our consultants have had on recent adventures. We hope you enjoy reading the blog articles written by the Student Flights' Consultants.