South America

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El Chalten

The Fitzroy Massif, outside of El Chalten in Argentina, offers what is probably my favorite mountain skyline on earth. The world’s high places have always captivated me and the desire to see them has led to many strange corners of our planet. Southern Patagonia is home to such wild and iconic peaks. The golden granite…

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Torres del Paine

The 120 kilometer (75 mile) trail around Torres del Paine in southern Patagonia is one of the world’s best treks. It attracts all types. For those seeking comfort there are lodges, guides, restaurants, and even horses. That’s not really our style though and, as usual, we skipped having a guide and carried all of the…

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Puerto Natales

Once again we were back in Chile. This time near the famous Torres del Paine National Park. It was the final stop for my parents. We drank great wine, ate succulent seafood, and enjoyed friendly Chilean hospitality. We rented a car and drove through the park. Valerie and I were preparing to trek the 9-day…

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El Chalten

I have been dreaming about Patagonia since I was a boy. It has always held a mythical power in my imagination. It is a place of scoured earth, wind, and stone. My parents never thought they would go there. Even for me it took nearly thirty years of whispers before I put foot to ground….

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Valparaiso

Valparaiso is Santiago’s bohemian cousin on the coast. It is a beautiful, crumbling bastion of contrasts. Rickety funiculars rise up steep hills and ancient busses ply down clogged arterials. The architecture is beautiful, but the true star of the city is street art.

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Santiago

Santiago is an eminently livable city. It’s full of great food, the public tansportation is fast and efficient, and the people love to have a good time. It was a short stopover for us, but we reveled in the view from our high-rise apartment. My mother, father, Val, and I did our best to immitate…

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Arequipa

We came to Arequipa, Peru’s white city, to eat.  We wanted find out what Peruvian food was all about. We ate ceviche, grilled lamb, soups of all kind, and roasted chicken accompanied. We particularly loved a restaurant called Tupac – a seafood focuses Peruvian-Thai fusion restaurants. The epicurean delights didn’t stop with the food. We…

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Lake Titicaca

Homestays are always an interesting experience. It can be awkward, it can be transcendent, and it sometimes dizzily sways between the two. My parents, Dan and Terri, had recently joined us in Peru. We spent a comfortable week in and around Cusco, Peru’s frenetic and beautiful tourist city. We had eaten international food, shopped, had…

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Machu Picchu

It’s not easy to find a traveler, or anyone really, that hasn’t dreamed of visiting Machu Picchu. I had the pleasure of sharing my visit with my parents and Valerie. My father was not blessed with a strong ability to pronounce unfamiliar words, (in fact listening to his attempts is one of the greatest sources of…

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Cuenca

Cuenca is an exceedingly comfortable city in southern Ecuador. After spending a few weeks with the predominantly indigenous populations of the central part of the country we immediately notices a difference when we arrived. People were taller, had lighter skin, and dressed in western clothing. We met up with our friend Elliot and Stephanie who…

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Guamote Market

As the weather in Ecuador continued to spoil our trekking and climbing plans we shifted course and focused on humans. There is a small town about an hour away from Riobamba, it is called Guamote. It is not a puebla that is commonly found on the itinerary of travelers. That is exactly why we wanted…

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Riobamba

We had come to see mountains and trek through hillsides. Clouds, rain, and stomach problems kept our wanderings contained to the urban aspect of the Riobamba. We saw few other visitors and instead spent our time with the locals, it turned out to be a fascinating and nuanced few days.

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Cuyabeno

A highlight to any trip to South America is visiting the Amazon. It touches 11 countries and varies widely from part to part, so it is difficult to decide where to visit. We chose the Cuyabeno reserve because it is primary forest, inexpensive, and easy to visit from Quito. We were lucky to have a…

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Quito

After a wonderful time in the Galapagos we headed for Quito. As the oldest city in the Americas Quito is full of colonial charm. It sits some 10,000ft above sea level, quite a change from our lazy beach days. We arrived at the airport without any semblance of a plan. It was raining and the…

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Galapagos: Above Water

The Galapagos Islands are an almost mythical travel destination. When the naturalist Charles Darwin visited the flora and fauna prompted him to develop the theory of evolution. The landscape varies from barren wastelands to lush highlands, and all manner of steps in between. To say that islands are “otherworldly” is an understatement. Valerie and I…

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On the Road Again

Our lives are a repeating cycle of feverish work and long-term travel. Since returning to the USA in 2013 it has taken us three years of double shifts, penny-pinching, and austerity to be ready to travel again – but that time has finally come. I’m writing this from a guesthouse in Quito, Ecuador. Last week…

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