T minus 22 days...
Trip Start Jan 30, 2010
43Trip End Sep 12, 2010
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The first step of the journey takes place early in the morning of January 30, when we board our first flight, via LAN airlines: San Francisco, California to Santiago, Chile, with a brief stop in Lima, Peru
Ahhh, and then there's money. Unfortunately, we didn't come into a big inheritance or win the lottery. Instead, we're using a chunk of our savings and a charitable donation - thanks, Mom! - to cover trip costs and the loss of six month's salary - one month is paid vacation - for Michael's leave of absence. Leasing our house will cover the mortgage; a huge financial help. Even so, the only way we can afford to travel for this length of time is by sticking to "budget" countries, which are mostly in the southern hemisphere. We've budgeted a few splurges; i.e. the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and Torres del Paine. But as the dollar continues to sink in value, we're worried about whether or not South America is a still a cheap destination, as touted in Lonely Planet's iconic "South America on A Shoestring". So stay tuned! We'll be reporting on costs and all sorts of practical details, and many .. hopefully far more interesting!..observations in the posts that follow.
To summarize the plan: Over the next seven months - January 30 through September 11, 2010 - we'll spend four months traveling in South America, return to Palo Alto for five days before flying to Asia - Denpassar via Singapore from San Francisco
Still to do: Fit three large, overflowing boxes of clothing and gear into three dauntingly small backpacks; obtain Brazilian visas - not presently on the itinerary, but a possibility for the Pantanal region in the south; purchase travel insurance - to insure that we never need it; store our car with Dad and our crotchety 16-year old cat with Mom; confirm our flights to Santiago for January 30. Our "To Do List" is in a constant state of flux, though gradually diminishing, Over the past six months, It has kept us organized and on track, when we can find it, that is!
Planning and preparations are almost done. We must remember that the difference between a fabulous trip and a so-so one depends on the attitude of the traveler. Flexibility, an optimistic spirit and sense of humor make travel challenges easier to handle and/or accept. With this in mind, in 22 days we recycle "The List", and say "hasta luego" to family, friends, job, school, cat, NPR, Safeway, Whole Foods, the suburbs and life as we know it.
Welcome to tales of our 7-month travel adventure!