When you sign up to volunteer in South America, you should probably expect a certain amount of personal stretching. But when, like TP member Brian Chu, you're asked to don a lab coat and carry a stethoscope, you have to start wondering exactly what you're in for.
A month-long stint volunteering for a medical centre in Huancayo, Peru is the latest adventure in five months of trekking across South America for Brian. Pre-departure, Brian wrote:
Leaving in half a day. It's about freaking time. Didn't intend to wait this long to leave but plans change quickly, as I'm sure they will along my travels. That's why I've only got a plane ticket with an open return date and one night's accomodation booked. Other than that, just a loose plan and general direction in my head that I'm secretly hoping won't come to reality. Spontaneity's the key this time round.
So far, Brian's wish for a journey guided by spontaneity has been pretty well rewarded, albeit with a fair share of bad luck: in Potosí, he took a tumble, landed unconscious and relied on Bolivia's dirt-cheap health system to restore him to order; a couple weeks later and still in Bolivia, a horse-ride gone wrong warranted another fall; and in the ever-expanding theme of things falling over, Brian's bus toppled sideways as it attempted to make the 8 hour trip from Ayacucho to Huancayo. Talk about bad luck.
Despite all these rather dangerous experiences, Brian keeps the complaints to a minimum and the humour to a maximum. Witty writing and photos carry his blog, which seems to be guided by the same principle of spontaneity as his travels. As a reader, you never really know what's next. Then again, it doesn't seem Brian does either.