Here's an article I wrote on Wild Camping in Developing Countries from my experiences in Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina. Guest post on RubberonRoad.com Also posted at BikerCamps.com Wild Camping in Developing Countries As I journeyed through Latin America on my Suzuki DR650 motorcycle, with all the possessions that I would need to survive on the back of my bike, I was anticipating the experience that completes motorcycle travel: camping. Arriving at a place chosen to be home for the night and then setting up that shelter, perhaps getting a campfire going and being a part of the nocturnal outdoors is to me a quintessential experience of overland travel. It also completes that feeling of freedom that comes with traveling on a bike; a freedom to choose where to spend your night. I know that camping isnt for everyone, but since I wanted to extend my budget (by staying in fewer hotels) and simply wanted to get to know the nomadic lifestyle, I made wild camping an integral part of my trip. I have comfortable-enough minimalist camping gear that doesnt burden my luggage and allows me to enjoy the experience when camping becomes an option. And just to be clear, camping in the wild or the bush refers to not staying in established campgrounds. High-altitude camping at Laguna Canapa, 14,000 ft in the Andes of Southwest Bolivia. I started camping from Peru onwards and after a few nights of sleeping in my one-man Catoma Twist tent, I formulated a strategy to help me in deciding where it was safe to camp. Although rural areas of developing countries are generally safe at night, there are some countries where it isnt advisable to wild camp in a fabric tent, but by taking a few pre-cautions, I managed to do it with no issues. When I was traveling across the Pampas (savannahs) of remote northern Bolivia, as a part of my journey through the TransAmazonica in Brazil, camping was the only option due to the lack of urban areas and their hotels. I was riding through the worlds largest rainforest, which is located in the Amazon Basin, an area as large as Australia but with a population density lower than that of Mongolias. That meant there were a lot of wild animals about and just making camp in the bush would not have been prudent. So, I opted for pitching my tent in front of rural houses. Camping with piglets on a farm in the remote pampas (savannahs) of northern Bolivia. Two to three hours before darkness, I would start paying attention to farm houses that I rode across and marking them as a waypoint on my GPS so that I could come back there if needed. As Im riding along, I usually wave to most locals that I make eye contact with, to immediately establish a friendly relationship. In this same way, I like to stop at a ranch where I can see the owners outside their house, giving me information of the security situation. In hot climates, most people are lounging outside, so this information is my primary decision maker. That can also be read as, Dont stop at houses with no one around! I broke this rule within a few days since there was no other house around and the owners, a young caretaker couple had gone into town to buy groceries. So, you can have hard-fast rules, but should still know when to break them. Upon approaching the head of the household, I first introduced myself: where I am from and where I am going on this trip (I usually give a far enough known location so that they understand that Im a traveler and not just a lost tourist). Then I ask them if I can put my tent here for the night and most everyone accepts. For Brazil, I memorized how to say these basic phrases in Portuguese using Google Translator and that got me through the Amazon. With rural people being as polite as they are, besides welcoming this impromptu guest, they also offered me a warm meal and a bath. Camping next to a horse shed along the TransAmazonica in Brazil. Even though I was now camped in someones compound, there were still always dangers lurking. Someone could rob my bike at night or assault me in my tent and rob me. Most likely this wont happen and it hasnt, so far, but I like to always just be prepared, because you never know. My strategy is to put the tent as close as possible to the bike and tie a cable between the bike cover and a tent peg. I bought a 15 inch machete in Bolivia for $3 and slept with that by my side, wrapped in a sweatshirt. The plan was that if someone tried to lift the bike cover at night, it would disturb my tent and I would spring out wielding the machete. I still havent had the chance, but Im ready. These tactics might not be effective in real situations, but at least thinking this way increases my situational awareness and that is the basis for surviving. With urban development accelerating in the developing world, there are very few places where a hotel cant be found for the night. But whats the fun in traveling from one concrete abode to another? I encourage you to add more camping in your next travel and get closer to nature and the people who live with it. A roaring campfire in Northwest Argentina on Ruta 40.