There are so many places to travel, explore and revisit that every year I turn to spouse Marine Steve and say, “You know, we’ve never really explored (fill in the blanks).” It’s not necessary to tune-up the world’s smallest violin but winter is a particularly difficult time to arrange a reasonably priced escape from Chicago’s winter, to “somewhere”; preferably, a semi-unfamiliar “somewhere.” Dubai? Nope, primarily beaches. A small ship cruise to New Guinea? With a least expensive cabin rate of $12,470 a person, we would have to sell the house and move into the car.
Thinking South America, I contacted several different tour operators. My initial planning was unrealistic, and too ambitious; fly to Buenos Aires, fly up to Mendoza, spend time in Salta, cross mountains into Bolivia, work our way down to Atacama Desert, throw in Easter Island and finish in Santiago. Piece by piece, that itinerary fell apart.
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