I had originally planned to take a bus directly from Dallas to Mexico City and then backpack all the way through Central and South America. I quickly realized that this wasnt very feasible with my budget and the sheer size of South America. Having already been all through Mexico with friends and having taken a trip to Costa Rica, I decide to completely skip all of Central America. I am sure one day I will get back to it, I would love to see Guatemala and explore all the Maya history it has.
After a ton of research and reading I decided to book a flight to Medellin, Colombia. This will be the starting point of my trip and should be a city that I spend a few months in. I wanted a city that was not loaded down with your classic tourist (the US govenment spewing bs and Pablo Escobar have helped with this) and also somewhere that had established itself as one of the better places to study Spanish.
As a bonafide gringo in almost every sense of the word, I do not really speak a drop of Spanish and can barely understand any as well. So I will be throwing myself right into the culture and hopefully grasping the language as quickly as possible. I will be studying at a local university there, EAFIT.
From there I plan to make my way down the west coast of the continent and explore every country that I can. A few highlights that I would like to experience? Taking a boat up the Amazon to the largest city in the world that is not accessible by road, Iquitos Peru. Hike the Inca trail up to Machu Picchu. Visit Lake Titicaca and La Paz which both hold the title of highest (elevation!) lake and capital city in the world. Buenos Aires is also on the list, along with Patagonia, which I will be a dream come true if I can make it down that far.
Wish me luck!