Introduction

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

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23 Responses to Introduction

  1. DWack says:

    Have fun! I patiently await the first BBQed guinea pig post.

  2. Janet Callister says:

    Bien Viaje Amigos! So jealous, but I may be meeting you down there in a few months. Keep your eyes open for a decent English school nearby a good beach that I can apply to!

  3. Head says:

    Looking forward to living vicariously through your words, pictures, and descriptions of South American penal institutions. Enjoy!

  4. Nicolas Estatopulos says:

    Dear Kelly and Keith, nice to meet you, I’m Mark Woltkamp’s friend and I’m from Antofagasta, Chile. Mark told me about you and your trip. So, hope to see you when you get to my city and we colud share some time and show you some sights of Antofagasta. I was reading your introduction and will follow your journey as I feel so identified with your thoughts and this is something that I would like to do in my life, maybe when I’m retired.
    I understand that Mark gave you my phone numbers so I will await for your call.
    In the meantime, I wish you the best, may God go with you all the time and take much care.
    My best friendly regards.

  5. Bushman says:

    Hola, looking forward to the next post. I have to agree total immersion is the way to go. I have only spent thirty days at a time out of country (Thailand, Panama 3x, Germany, and Haiti as for long stints) and it is great. The food carts are the best, my cat is giving me a funny look ( I know you rate cats one step above cock roaches in the animals you like category). Thailand was challenging, but the Karaoke is amazing, lol.

    “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” — Lao Tzu

    “I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” — Caskie Stinnett

    Adios!

  6. Hendo says:

    So excited for you two!

    As I sit at my desk, quickly eating my lunch and half-breathing in anticipation of the back half, I realize my monitor and I spend many hours together. Actually, I have two so its even more special. I call them MoniTori and we have decided to visit you at least two days a week to keep abreast of your journeys and splendor. But not without one last hoorah before departure.

  7. Stefany says:

    I cannot wait to read your posts and see your pictures. What an awesome experience. Thank you for sharing it with all of us! Take care and have a safe adventure!

  8. Janet Pogar says:

    Well, Keith and Kelly (the K&K show) …. I am so jealous but yet excited that you guys both have ventured down this path. Your introduction to your ultimate decision was very cool Keith (you could become an author and I might read your gibberish);-)! Nonetheless, I look forward to following your travels and know that your lifes will forever be blessed with the new friends, experiences, food (no cat please), food carts along the road and just the abundance of blessings you will receive seeing South America and getting a real feel for the culture. I KNOW our paths will cross upon your return! Peace, love and (((hugs))) to you both!

  9. Karen says:

    I’m so happy for you both. To go on the described excursion together will be awesome. Cheers for a life altering experience!

  10. Rich says:

    All those who wander are not lost. Carpe diem.

  11. Brian Henry says:

    Please let us know who you meet on your trip. I always found the meeting of new people to be one of the most fascinating aspects in my traveling days.

  12. Helen says:

    Good luck and well wishes. I found the books at home and then forgot to bring them in on Friday. Sorry Kelly, but I hope you can find them on iTunes and can down load it to your iPad. It would be fun to read The Celestine Prophesy while you wander among the beautiful country of Peru and those mystical places. Enjoy your time and keep us posted on the highlights of your trip.

  13. Joe & Carla Henry says:

    We wish you the best during your venture in South America. But we will really miss the both of you. All our love!!

  14. Monica, Josh and Tiffany says:

    We wish you all the best during your travels!! So glad you are following your dream. Please be safe and we look forward to hearing all of your exciting stories when you return! We love you!

  15. barb & terry hock says:

    Wishing you Love & Safety We will be watching your tour and keeping in touch!!!Hugs & kisses

  16. Erin says:

    Bienvenidos amigos! Best wishes for safe and fulfilling unbridled adventure!

  17. Nate Klatt says:

    hasta luego! Via Con Dios!

  18. Amy Bigham says:

    I am thrilled to bits for the two of you. As I type you are probably getting last minute items together and will hardly be able to sleep this evening. Safe travels, big love and prayers all you want it to be and more.

  19. Have fun guys! We’ll take good care of your house!

  20. Ron & Debra Waters says:

    You two should be at your destination now. Engulf all that knowledge and fun, but be extremely careful. We love you both.

  21. Gayle Jones says:

    I’m so glad you are doing this website! We did one when we drove to Alaska. It turned out to be as much fun for us as it was for those reading it. Prayers for your safe travel. Gayle & Chuck

  22. Luci Aandahl says:

    I did post a comment this A.M. I am so excited and so happy for you. I am writing this message mostly to make sure that you know how important you are to me and how I am following your trip.

    Luci, the neighbor

  23. Luci Aandahl says:

    Keith and Kelly,
    Your comments are wonderful. Your attention to detail and your descriptions of the places you visit are delightful. I particularly enjoyed your itroduction regarding the affliction you are “suffering.” What a fantastic opportunity to discover more not only about each other, but to learn about other lands and peoples as well. You both are amazing! I so look forward to reading more about your Fantastic Voyage.

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