The Andes

I was a couple of years along in university. The shine of new adulthood was fading. I went through a hard breakup. My band kicked me out. I was struggling at school. I felt alone, sad, and tired. I found solace in the mountains. The insignificance I felt among them was liberating. They had stood for millennia….

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…

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…

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…

El Calafate – Perito Moreno

Most glaciers in the world are getting smaller. The Perito Moreno Glacier is a rare exception and continues to grow each year. It is an inspiring site and the scale of it is difficult to comprehend. A comfortable bus brought us from town to the glacier. A bottle of rum kept us warm and happy….

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….

Buenos Aires

Steak, wine, cinema, tango, history, and sausage. Buenos Aires is a sprawling metropolis of over 10 million people, we only saw a fraction but is was mesmerizing.

Mendoza

Mendoza is all about one thing:  Wine. We toured through many vineyards and wineries. We drank a lot of wine. We paired it with delicious food.

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.

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…

San Pedro de Atacama

Our romp around South America with my parents continued as we crossed the border into Chile. We had been spoiled by Peru. It may have jaded my father a bit, his response when we told him we were going to the driest place on earth was a curt, “I hope it is only for one…

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…

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…

The Sacred Valley

After Machu Picchu we began making our way back to Cusco. Along the way we visited Ollantaytambo, a weaving center, and stopped at miradors (viewpoints) in our private taxi – oh what luxury!

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…

Parque Nacional Podocarpus

Our final stop in Ecuador brought us to Loja. A modern city surrounded by beautiful nature and a massive national park. Try as we might we never fell in love with Loja. Food was our biggest problem, fast food seems to have taken hold here so strongly that finding a healthy and home cooked meal…

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…

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…

Baños and Quilatoa

From the jungles of Cuyabeno we were ready for the cool weather of the mountains. We took an overnight bus to Banos. It’s a relaxed town with a ton of adventure sports on offer and a smattering of good restaurants. The setting is beautiful and we happily lazed a few days away before we started…

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.

The Amazon

The Amazon touches 11 countries and is the defining feature of South America. By its very nature jungle is difficult to access. Rivers are the highways of the amazon and usually the only means of reliable transportation. We knew that we would visit the Amazon at some point on our trip through South America. The…

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…

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…

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…