18 MAY 16 | 91 days

let the adventure begin

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough – to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” — Anthony Bourdain

Today I arrive in Asunción, Paraguay. For the next 3 months I will be traveling throughout South America, both for personal and professional growth. I will be living out the last months of my 20s exploring, researching, drinking wine and meeting new people. My love for travel is as great as my love for design and architecture. Traveling forever changes our understanding of the world. It allows us to experience a place, people, and culture while developing our own opinions and understanding of that place. It opens our eyes to the vast world beyond, yet also acts as a mirror in which we can self-reflect on our own cultures and customs. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun.


The 2016 adventure.

We (my boyfriend and I) will start the trip in Paraguay and then head south to Patagonia moving north the rest of the way until Columbia; spending time in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

South America icons

A few places of travel from left to right: Iguazu Falls, Torres del Paine National Park, Cathedral of LimaPerito Moreno Glacier, Buenos AiresBasilica of the National Vow in Quito, the Galapagos Islands.

Torres del Paine

We will be staying in the lodge to the left while in Patagonia. Kind of unbelievable.

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls in Argentina. 

Cartagena, Columbia

Cartagena, Columbia.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu in Peru.

For about a month of the trip, I will be studying disaster recovery/reconstruction and social housing in Chile, focused on the work of Alejandro Aravena of Elemental, recent Pritzker Prize winner. In March, I was awarded an AIA Traveling Scholarship, specifically the Arthur A. & Florence G. Fisher Traveling Scholarship. Below is my proposal:

Proposal 1

Proposal 2

Proposal 3

Proposal 4

Well folks, the sand in the hour glass is running out and it’s time for me to sign off for a bit.



Follow me on my blog this summer @ https://emilyaxtman.wordpress.com

Ciao for now!

Emily Axtman
18 May 2016