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Wandering the World

Stories and tips from around the world.


Trip Preparation

The history of South America has interested me for a long time. With TV shows such as The Mysterious Cities of Gold covering pre-Columbian civilisation in the Americas it was something which seemed fascinating. Previous trips have taken me to Peru and Ecuador to see sights such as Machu Picchu, and even earlier examples of civilisation such as the Nazca.

Where Machu Picchu offered a glimpse of what Incan building was like, Mexico would be different. From various documentaries and books I had seen, I knew that places such as Chichen Itza and Palenque would provide a glimpse of Mayan culture and architecture. There is also Teotihuacan – a place we still know very little about, not even the name of the civilisation that built it, though it was once suspected to be Tolmec (this was later disproved). One thing that is known about it though is that when the Aztec civilisation found it, they were inspired by it. My hope was that in addition to Mayan ruins we would also get to see some from the Aztec.

Since the trip to Antarctica, the friend I often travel with had emigrated to Canada which meant this trip would be a little different. We’d meet up in an airport in Toronto and then fly down to Mexico City from there. This meant that whatever tour we booked we’d have to ensure the flights weren’t included so we could allow for this. It also meant communication and decisions took longer due to reading emails in different timezones and trying to deal with companies that were in other timezones also.

As is often the case, it took a while to look at the different options available for the trip but eventually we settled on one that had a good balance in what we’d get to see. In the lead up to the trip I needed to also look at what scuba diving options would be available in the hope of doing Cenote diving, and to also look at replacing my underwater camera.

In terms of packing, this was a little tricky. At the end of this trip I’d be spending a week in Canada, with some of that time being planned as working remotely which meant I’d need my laptop with me. This meant there was no need for me to take my iPad as I usually would. I also planned on taking my scuba gear and running kit with me, and needed to take my friend’s camera lens back to him (he’d had it repaired in the UK before he left). This meant both my suitcase and camera bag would need every careful consideration of what would be packed. From what I’d heard it’s not uncommon for luggage to go missing, so I had to ensure anything of value would be hand luggage.

In terms of equipment I went with:

  • Canon EOS 5D mk3
  • Canon EOS 5D mk2
  • Canon Powershot SX220 HS w\WP-DC49 Underwater Housing
  • Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens
  • Sigma APO 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens
  • MacBook Pro (Retina 15-inch, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM)
  • Suunto Vyper Dive Computer
  • Garmin ForeRunner 220
  • CompactFlash Cards
  • SD Cards
  • 4 batteries for Canon EOS 5D (one of higher capacity)
  • 2 batteries for Canon Powershot SX220 HS
  • Lenspen, air blower, and cloth for cleaning equipment
  • Chargers for MacBook Pro, iPhone, cameras, and watches

A lot of equipment, but the diversity of the three weeks it would be for would make this a necessity.