March – and the Traveling was Easy

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King Penguins – Bluff Cove, Falkland Islands

I have to say it.  Travel is humbling.

We just got back from a bucket list trip, a cruise around Cape Horn in South America with days in major cities added at either end.  It was amazing, enlightening, and befuddling, all at the same time.  And yes, rounding Cape Horn was as wild and crazy as everyone says – and we have the certificate to prove it!

The amazing part followed us everywhere.  Romantic architecture that is preserved, not torn down to be replaced by a minimart or shopping mall, lined the streets.  Friendly people put up with our poor Spanish.  Food options (despite being in a foodie capital of the US) we just won’t find at home tempted us.  Penguins – lots and lots of penguins – as well as other wildlife kept our cameras busy.  Global warming, evident in retreating glaciers and shifting temperatures and starving whales, is a fact these folks understand because it impacts their daily lives.

Enlightenment came in the form of observations about life in South America.  Did you know there is a massive drought in the southern (closer to Antarctica) end of the continent?  What we consider poverty level here at home might be middle class in some of these countries.  And people know how to make everything count – from making a wading pool for kids out of metal pipe and a tarp to leveraging every aspect of a ranch for profit.

Why were we befuddled?  As Dear Hubby and I said to each other frequently, we weren’t sure what we expected, but we were constantly surprised.  I think it’s because we had such a visceral reaction to many things we experienced.  The Falkland Islands are a conglomerate of rocks – and yet a war was fought over it in 1982 that still impacts lives today (still digging out those landmines).  In Buenos Aires, the lane markers on wide streets were merely a suggestion, as drivers squeezed in two additional vehicles across at high speeds – while texting.  The Andes towering over Santiago, Chile, are taller than any mountains we’ve ever seen in any of our travels.  The plains of southern Argentina are broad deserts with those same mountains not even appearing on the horizon from the coastline.

It was – indescribable.  Two weeks back, and I still struggle to explain how it was when people ask me.  Where to begin?  What to feature?  Why are certain things important?  I’ll be posting blogs about specific experiences over the next few weeks on my blogs at www.GooseYourMuse.com and www.YvonneKohano.com.

Bottom line – this trip left me with a greater appreciation for what we have in our country, and how much we take for granted.  It reminded me to be kinder and gentler with others and more respectful of our environment.  Most of all, it whetted a renewed appetite in me to see more of the world, the parts off the beaten path, before they are gone.

What trips changed your life, and why?  I’d love to hear from you!  Yvonne@yvonnekohano.com

(Want to hear more about my adventures?  Make sure you follow this blog – I’ll be posting more insights over the next few weeks.)