Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, random passersby on the internet…I have come here today to tell you all that I have a horrible, incurable disease. The symptoms are not pretty. They include an unstoppable compulsion to memorize airline routes, timetables, and hubs, a constant desire to sample any food being sold on a street corner from a cart or a cooler, a love for luggage bordering on fetish, and the absolutely insatiable yearning to see what’s around the next corner, only to get there and immediately want to see what’s around the next one. Medical science has yet to put a name to it, but I long ago gave this awful scourge my own label. I suffer from a devastating affliction known to me and others as…wanderlust.
It all started out innocently enough. Various trips to Europe with my mother as a
child, random road trips with friends in college, and the occasional trip to
Mexico or the Caribbean after that. But over time, as the trips became longer,
more frequent, and more complex, I began to realize that what began as a casual
flirtation with travel was slowly evolving into a full-blown love affair. Then something happened that would push me right over the edge forever. I met Kelly, a
wonderful woman and the supreme love of my life, who was willing to not only
indulge my globetrotting passion, but more importantly encourage and support it. I had
found my very own Sancho Panza, and the whole world was our windmill.
Our first major trip together was a three-week jaunt behind the Iron Curtain anchored around the ancient cities of Moscow, Budapest, and Prague. This was a whole new experience for me and a sublime departure from my usual comfort zone. For the first time in my life, I was visiting countries where I could neither speak nor read the language as none of them had their foundations in Latin. Russian didn’t even use the same alphabet for pete’s sake. Do you know what happened though? I loved every minute of it! It was like being in some giant, living puzzle for three weeks where even the most pedestrian of activities required you to gather and digest minute clues from your surroundings, to put together mental pieces in whole new ways. It was a challenge I accepted and loved, and it only served to increase my hunger for more.
Fast forward a couple of years. A few smaller trips have occurred in the interim, but I’m still yearning for that big pay-off because, once you get locked into a serious travel addiction, the tendency is to push it as far as it will go. My inner travel junky was in desperate need of a larger dose. Sitting in a cube inside the office of a megacorporation staring at a monitor all day was fine for paying the bills, but I couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that there were dreams being left on the table unfulfilled. So, Kelly and I began to plot and scheme. I had always wanted to go abroad to live and work somewhere for a year. Total immersion into a new world was what I craved, along with all the daily opportunities for exploration that came with it. The more we thought about it, though, the more a significant conclusion dawned on us. How much exploration could be had when you’re working full-time? Could you really see as much as you wanted to while tied to one place with a job? We thought not. So, in the end, we decided to trade a year living and working in one place for six months of roaming freely unencumbered by the shackles of employment.
And that, gentle reader, brings us to where we are today. After months and months of planning and saving, we decided to put our careers on hold and take a giant leap into the unknown. It was both terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Our research eventually led us to settle on South America as our destination of choice due to its wide variety of fascinating locales and the fact that it’s relatively inexpensive as world destinations go. In a few weeks, on July 11th to be exact, we will depart for an epic six-month journey through that continent. We’ll begin in Quito, Ecuador, and follow the spine of the Andes south through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina until we simply run out of land at Tierra del Fuego. When that happens we’ll turn our attention northeast and head back up the other side, passing through Uruguay and into Brazil, finally departing from Rio de Janeiro in mid-January.
We created this website to help keep our friends and family abreast of our travels and hope you’ll check in often to follow along. Our plan is to provide regular updates from the trail, and we’ll do our best given the vagaries of securing an internet connection in foreign lands. In the meantime, please feel free to leave any comments on this site, or drop us the random email, or even give us a shout on Skype.
Take care and we’ll see you in a few months,
Keith and Kelly