The Favourites of Lillie Echevarria
Lillie is a Peruvian traveller that has visited more than 160 countries. Africa has a special place in her heart. She has visited the continent at least 12 times.
What are three of your favourite countries and why?
United States of America
The USA is one of my favourite countries because it provided me with the opportunity to obtain a career until retirement a few years ago. I have visited 49 States (out of 50) and 52 of its National Parks (out of 63) with its diversity of landscapes, cultural scenes and epicurean delights.
My homeland. In January 2021, I completed a 2-month road trip visiting all 24 states. I left when I was 17, and this opportunity provided me to see my country through a traveller’s lens. Peru offers fantastic landscapes with coastal desert, Andes mountains and Amazon all wrapped up in so much history and let’s not forget the culinary scene is well-known worldwide.
Mamá mía – what’s not to like in Italy! The people, the food, the wine, the countryside. I’ve been there over 10 times, and I’m not done. I’m due for a slow, exploratory road trip to find those hidden gems.
What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?
Motorcycling from Río de Janeiro to Buenos Aires
Inspired by Jim Rogers book “Investment Biker”, I travelled as a passenger on a BMW RGS1100 motorcycle from Río de Janeiro to Buenos Aires. Four countries, 2800 miles, 2 weeks and I learnt to pack lightly.
I had travelled to Rio for Carnival and brought a large suitcase. A friend from California contacted me and proposed to travel together on his motorcycle. No second thoughts, I accepted immediately – little did I know, a small saddlebag was given to me upon meeting: “it’s non-negotiable”, he said with a smirk on his face.
Volunteering at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Having travelled to Africa a handful of times, I decided to add a new experience to my next trip. I enrolled at the Oakland Zoo docent programme, a 6-month course on wildlife and conservation. After graduation, I was accepted as a volunteer to caretake chimpanzees in Uganda. The experience was incredibly rewarding not only because of the animals but also the people I met at the sanctuary.
Siberia to Mongolia Expedition
Being a city girl gave me little exposure to camping; this trip allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. A month camping from Altai through Tuva regions in Siberia and across Mongolia. Whew. I survived – I could pitch a tent, wash in the river, squat in the bush, and live happily in the tundra.
What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?
Mother died in a bus accident in Peru
Having to go to the morgue and recognize my mom, who died in a bus accident while travelling in Peru. She lived in Sweden.
After 30, I have developed motion sickness thus, any bumpy plane ride or curvy road makes my stomach churn making any ride unbearable. Sleeping or taking medicine helps.
The border with Cameroon was closed, and thus we had to cross the river to enter the country on a longboat. We then had to take a police motorcycle ride to our lodge. The gorilla guide stole my money, but thankfully we were able to recuperate it. Bribes everywhere.
What are three of your best travel tips?
Do your research beforehand so you know if you are getting a deal or not
Your average traveller books group tours, and I am always amazed when I asked for details that they don’t know where they will go or see in general – mind blowing!
It’s not a fashion show! Well unless you are in Paris for the week.
Cellphone camera instead of DSLR
My cellphone camera has replaced my 30 pound DSLR camera bag unless shooting wildlife.