Why it’s Unnecessary to Always Have a Travel Plan | Getting Lost in the Andes

Updated on January 14th, 2019 at 11:37 pm

Sometimes you’re supposed to be writing an essay but instead you end up blogging. And sometimes when you travel things don’t go according to plan either. Perhaps these are the times where the best adventures are born. Without further ado, let me tell you about how I got lost in the Andes and why it’s unnecessary to always have a travel plan.

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The Original Travel Plan: Skiing in the Andes

Today was quite the adventure. I planned for a whole bunch of exchange students to go to Lagunillas for a day trip of skiing. We had three different legs of the journey and I was really nervous about things not working out. I mean, if things didn’t work out, it would end up being my fault because I planned how we would get to the mountain.

The first part was easy. We all arrived at the right Metro stop and met up. A little lost afterwards, the second part of our trip was more difficult. We asked around to see how we could get to San Jose de Maipo but after some searching and suggestions from kind strangers we figured it out. We needed a taxi.

However taking a taxi to Lagunillas did not work because one of the roads was closed. I kept thinking, “Oh no, our day is ruined… I hope nobody is mad at me for things not working out..” It wasn’t my fault, I know that, but I still felt bad. How was I supposed to know a road would randomly get closed because of too much traffic?

San Jose de Maipo

San Jose De Maipo, Chile

However I was really happy that everyone was, albeit a little disappointed, up for adventuring. I mean isn’t getting a little lost what travelling is all about? If everything always went according to plan, life would be easier, but it would also be boring.

Luckily, my friend Rebecca had a travel guide in her bag which gave us a few options. We decided to hop on a micro (a small bus) to San Alfonso and go horseback riding and/or zip-lining. The bus was packed, to say the absolute least but it turned out to be a great adventure. 

Horseback Riding and Waterfalls

San Jose De Maipo, Chile


We found a farm that wasn’t in the travel guide by chance and the man offered us an hour long horseback ride up the mountain for $6,000 Chilean Pesos (about $12 Canadian). First we all walked together down the street to the zip-lining/hiking/adventure/campground place and went on a hike to a gorgeous waterfall on another mountain. It felt so incredible to be up there. Everybody was thrilled and I realized that I couldn’t believe that any of this was happening. I can’t believe that I have been so blessed to be able to travel the world and drink from waterfalls and climb mountains. We are so blessed to be here and it absolutely astounds me. If this is all a dream, I really don’t want to wake up.

After the waterfall the first group went to go zip-lining and my group went horse-back riding. My horse (along with most others) had attitude problems. Not to mention there was no girdle on most of the saddles (part of the saddle that wraps around the horse’s belly to make it stay in place). Quite a few times we would be climbing up or down steep slopes and one of the horses would start running and that would scare the other horses and then we would all be running and trying not to fall off.

Horse in the Andes

At one point my horse walked up to an electricity pole. You know how electricity poles have those wires that come down and are secured to the ground and wrapped in a plastic layer? Well my horse decided to run right under that, meaning I hit the wire, fell backwards nearly off the horse but managed at the last second to pull myself up and grab the reigns. I am still so shocked that I didn’t fall off and break an arm.


Why it's Unnecessary to Always Have a Travel Plan

Why it’s Unnecessary to Always Have a Travel Plan: Go with the Flow

Our group came back really late from horse-back riding and actually missed the chance to go on the zip-lines. Instead, my friends and I went to a restaurant that was at the campground and had a delicious meal right on the side of the mountain. However, since I missed out on zip-lining, I’m planning to go back there and hopefully camp overnight at some point. Maybe we will even go white-water rafting too!

Today was absolutely wonderfully perfect. Or “perfecto” as some may say. I love having a plan, but I also love it when plans fall through and you get the opportunity to be spontaneous. I’ve learned today that I don’t need to have a plan at all, that’s not what travel, or life for that matter, is about. This is about experiencing life to its absolute fullest, letting yourself go with the flow and being excited about getting lost.

Area of Protection Sign in the Forest

Why it's Unnecessary to Always Have a Travel Plan


Dreamcatcher at ranch in Chile

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About The Author

April Thompson

Updated on January 14th, 2019 at 11:37 pm

April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies for Sustainable Travel. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.

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