I found a travel agency that specializes in Latin America, especially multi-city or multi-country flights. We're booking an air-pass package with several internal flights. Unless you have the time and patience to spend days and days on buses, this is the way to travel in mountainous countries. We learned this when we traveled through Mexico. Let's see, do we want a 21-hour bus ride, or a 45-minute flight...? A long bus ride or two will be unavoidable, but a few flights within Peru will allow us see so much more.
Yesterday in comments, teflonjedi asked me:
This is a year to pluck a place from my "top places I want to go" list, something big and very special.T-jedi, I remember you saying "I'd trade it all in to be Rick Steves," and I knew you were a kindred spirit.
I am curious, what else is on that list?
I am a big travel nut myself, but can't offer any support in this case because I've never been to South America.
So, The List.
First, I want to go everywhere, and there's really no place on earth I wouldn't like to see and experience. There are probable future trips, places that are easily accessible, that I very much want to see, and that I'm sure - random-chance willing - we'll get to. That would include many places in Canada (the Maritimes, BC, the Alberta Rockies), Spain, Greece, and the southwestern US (which I saw as a child, but not since, and Allan's never been). I loved the Mayan ruins in Mexico, and would like to go to Guatemala and Belize to see more. And there are places I've been to more than once, but hope to return again and again: London, Paris, Italy.
The places I think of as "big trips" are generally far-off and expensive, and can only be managed when we have enough time and money. The one of those we've done is Alaska. Machu Picchu and Peru is another. Some others: Egypt, the Galapagos, New Zealand, a safari in Kenya or Tanganyika, Angkor Wat.
As I list these, and I feel like I haven't been anywhere! But I'm very appreciative of the travel Allan and I have done. Memorable trips include a month in France and Italy, Mexico, Alaska, the US Pacific Coast from Canada to Mexico, Ireland and parts of England.
Many of our trips would sound mundane or even ridiculous to some people, but were incredibly fun. We did a midwest-rust-belt baseball drive, seeing games in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit (the old Tiger Stadium - the original purpose of the trip, to see it before it went out of circulation), Chicago (both parks) and Milwaukee. We saw great things in every city we went to, like Detroit's Museum of African American History, Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry Frescos" and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. Our Pacific Coast trip was also a baseball trip. We saw a game in every west-coast park, had amazing wildlife and nature experiences (giant sand dunes in Oregon, a rainforest in Washington State), plus ran around San Francisco and Seattle.
I absolutely love our baseball road trips. I can never quite get enough: when we get the final park, I always say, "Where're we going next?" It's also been a way to see cities and sights we wouldn't otherwise get to. Chances are slim anyone's going to plan a vacation in Detroit or Pittsburgh - but there were fascinating things to do in or near every stop.
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My family likes to say that travel is in our genes. My grandmother traveled all over the world, before travel was accessible or typical. The only question was, Where is Nana going next? She went on group tours, and she clung to her status as an indomitable American, but she saw the world, and kept seeing it as long as she possibly could.
Her daughter - my mom - adores travel. My parents took us on great travel vacations when we were kids, and when my mother became single, she started ticking off all the places my father hadn't wanted to go: Russia, Alaska, China. Now my brother clearly has The Bug; he and his family have taken many a drool-worthy trip. And of course I have infected Allan, who discovered the joys of travel through me.
When I made my first trip to Europe, with my great friend NN after we graduated from college (university), I announced my plans to my grandmother. I expected her to disapprove, as she was a disapproving kind of person. To my surprise, she lit up. She said, "It's so wonderful, what young girls can do on their own these days. I had to wait until I was married to see the world, but you can just go." For the rest of her coherent days, she always wanted to hear about my travels, and always wanted to know that I was planning another trip. I think of her a lot when I travel.
I already know that every comment to this thread is going to leave me drooling, and saying "Ooo, I want to go there, I want to go there..."