Travel: I lost my virginity in... Tierra del Fuego

Wanker bankers and designer clothes do not happiness bring - that had become my drunken mantra at the tender age of 23 after a year of debauched, yet strangely chaste, London life and sexual encounters of the unsatisfactory kind with a series of commitment-phobic city slickers.

I needed to find a real man - a man who deserved my carefully protected virginity. I wanted a man with big hands and stubble who would throw me over his shoulder, stride off into the big blue yonder and ravish me under canvas beneath the stars.

The nearest I'd ever come to a tent, however, was the marquee at London Fashion Week. But now I'd booked myself on an overland expedition around South America.

It had all seemed so romantic as I'd flicked through the brochures in Battersea. But, waddling sideways, pants around my ankles, to escape the torrential jet of my tent-mate Anna's pee rebounding from the tarmac as we squatted behind our truck, the reality was more prosaic. Fifteen white arses pointed into the oncoming traffic as a horn blasted in the darkness and we were caught in the headlights of a passing juggernaut.

We were on the road in Patagonia, the dry, withered breast of South America, heading down to Tierra del Fuego. With mile upon mile of flat, dusty plain and not a bush in sight, it was "boys to the front, girls to the back".

I had started to yearn for a stray tree or small hillock - fantasising about my en suite bathroom, the heady scent of pine disinfectant and the soft, velvety texture of Andrex toilet tissue.

Hurtling south with a group of decidedly dangerous Antipodeans and peeing in the middle of the road, things were not going entirely to plan. But at least I had got as far as lusting after a big, hairy tour guide called Moose.

We were doing an all-nighter, trying to cover the vast distance down to Ushuaia, the most southerly town in the world. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was blaring out of the loudspeakers and the smell of Bacardi wafted towards me. I hadn't had a rum and coke since I was 16. "It's a Cuba Libre," belched Sharky as he passed me a chipped tin mug.

Stopping for breakfast at seven, a pale sun yawned beside the Chilean border. Staggering off the truck, stiff and bleary eyed, no make-up, hair scraped back, shorts, socks and sandals, I gagged at my newly acquired traveller chic.

Sarah, my flatmate, had given me a present before I left - a bottle of homesickness pills, which tasted suspiciously like mint imperials, and a copy of Vogue. "I rely on your wardrobe," she'd moaned as she watched me pack my rucksack. "I don't want you coming back a dreadlocked hippy". But the downward path was obviously more slippery than I'd thought.

After another long day of border familiarities, ferry crossings and watching the landscape gradually change to snow-capped mountains, turquoise falls and pine forests, we arrived on the set of Northern Exposure as a blood orange exploded over the Beagle Channel.

Anna and I raced to put up our tent faster than the Aussies, tired of being viewed as the dippy blondes, only to discover that we'd left our tent poles at the last campsite. "We were using them as a washing line to dry our knickers," I explained sheepishly to a horrified Moose.

Huddled round the campfire we downed large quantities of mulled wine and Anna started singing rugby songs that made even the Aussies blush, breaking into a sterling rendition of "Sit on My Face and Tell Me that You Love Me".

Gazing across the flames at Moose's big hands, stubble and checked shirt I gave him my best smouldering "come hither big guy" glance which turned into a cross-eyed leer - luckily, Aussie for "come hither big guy".

Later, lying tangled in his arms as he snored and snuffled lovingly in my ear, while Anna crawled around outside the tent puking up a vivid concoction of Argentinian roast and clove balls, I sighed contentedly.

I'd been ravaged by a man who called me Sheila, on the diamond-studded nipple of South America. And with any luck I'd be off cooking duty too.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor