This Adventurous Life

A young couple exploring the world…and their 30's

Posts from the ‘South America’ category

Cayle recently introduced me to Gunnar Garfors website,, which I also ran into over at Business Insider when I could not help but click on the article titled“The 25 Least Visited Countries in the World.”   If like me, you have traveled somewhere and unexpectedly were assaulted by the CRAZY amount of tourism you encountered, then read his article in Business Insider and get ideas for your next trip.  Sorry for using the word “assaulted” but really, that is how it can feel.

Cayle and I have said before that some of our favorite trips and destinations have been the hardest ones to get to.  We have relatives that will ask us, “Why are you going THERE?” (with a “that’s so weird” tone in their voice)… and being asked this question will actually reaffirm our decision to be a great one.  The two 747’s to the taxi ride and then on the little propeller pane, to the bus, to the sketchy taxi ride… gets us away from exactly what we are trying to escape in order to find a more natural world and a place that hasn’t yet been assaulted by the human race.  Don’t get me wrong, Paris is my favorite city, but … you know.

Garfors bases his list on these factors:


Visa regulations


Available information

Number of visitors

Some of the countries on this list I am really considering.  A few of them would be potential destinations except that at this point in our lives I’m feeling less inclined to hire a security detail and/or armored vehicle for traveling.  Here are the countries on his list of least traveled places that are now higher on our travel wish list:


Sierra Leone

Equatorial Guinea


East Timor

Marshall Islands

Kiribati (Ever read Sex lives of Cannibals?  If so, you probably want to go here too.)


We leave in two days heading to Chile.  While Santiago will be exciting and awesome, it is the land of Chilean Patagonia that we have dreamt of visiting for years.  3 plane rides, a bus and taxi ride later we will arrive in Puerto Natales to prepare for hiking the “W” in Torres del Paine.  While this is not the least traveled destination, it is definitely the land of the less traveled… you could say it is the anti-Rajasthan.  Here we come.

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It is camera upgrade season in our household.  With multiple new contraptions arriving, I am inspired to think about some of my most favorite captured moments.  Some of the photographs I take carry sentimental meaning, some are (frankly) tough shots I’m proud of, and some are great surprises.  Since there are too many to include in one post, I will stick to a gallery posting of “strength in subjects.”  You will get my drift, I hope.  Here are some of my favorites (minus a few I snapped in Cuzco, Peru that may or may not be included in Cayle’s upcoming post).

Try shooting out of the window of a moving matatu while also attempting to hide your camera.  It’s not easy, but not as hard as pulling all of that produce. I like that the trailer has a vibrating look to it, appropriate for the location and the action taking place.

The camera is held down at my side as if it isn’t on, my thumb resting the button.  They are looking up at our faces.  Beautiful, enduring children.

A solitary Acacia, winding and well trodden path, ray of light casting onto a Sub-Saharan plain and vast horizon… interpretations and representations are all too many to list.  I cherish moments while traveling where at an exact moment in time you know you are right where you should be.  There is unparalleled strength in such a feeling.

An icon of Mayan civilization, Temple of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza circa 2008.  On the spring and summer equinox, shadows are casted revealing a serpent’s body down the staircase.  If visited now, the pyramid is fenced off and the land is quite barren.  

Whatever camera I had in 2007 (Kodak maybe?), I can’t fault it much because it gave me this.

On one very hot, very sunny day I fought to ignore the chorus of “Jump Around” repeating in my mind while trying to absorb the cultural significance of a tribe’s deep tradition.

A great blue heron looking dignified.  What I like most about this photo is the trifecta of landscapes ranging from the foreground and into the farthest distance with the green vegetation contrasting the detail of the bird.

If only this llama new it was so hip!  The “greenest” way to mow your lawn.  And the Andes, oh the Andes.  Is there a better mountain range?  P.S. it really was that green.

A moss covered Buddha surrounded by the tallest and brightest colored bamboo I have ever seen.  Allerton Garden, Kauai, Hawaii.

What I love about this photo (other than the man in it), was a complete accident.  A raindrop hit the lens of our waterproof digital right before I took this photo creating a motion effect at the rear of the kayak.  How speedy Cayle looks!

A director’s chair.  How many amazing people have sat in it taking in a view of the Ugandan hillside? Or, should the emptiness of this director’s chair be a metaphor for the political leadership of a country?

Some detail is lost in the highlights of the petals, but I still love the reflection of the waterlilly.

Another iPhone shot, which is forever the lock screen on my phone. We can’t get enough of our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and are very lucky he is so welcomed and loved by his grandparents while we travel.

Can’t wait for our new cameras to come in!  We have some major photography candy coming up finishing 2011 in Paris and starting 2012 off in Rome.

What about a photograph of yours qualifies it as one of your favorites?

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Tracy and I spent two weeks earlier this summer in Ecuador and after a relaxing week in the Galapagos Islands we headed for the Andes Mountains with our friends NI and BB. Before our big Cotopaxi peak climb(subject of a previous post), we needed to acclimate to the altitude. We spent a few days in the high sierra hiking to progressively higher elevations and our first big hike in this process was a circuit of the Quilatoa Crater(elevation 12841ft). This crater and lake is the top of a huge volcano and was formed when is last erupted around 1280 AD.

The trail travels along the crater ridge including the many ascents and descents of the peaks along the rim. 
This 6 hour hike was great for training but certainly harder on the legs and lungs than anticipated.
Throughout the day the fog would occasionally pour in and fill the crater, creating an eerie but beautiful landscape.
For me at least, beautiful spots are always made a little more special if they are very hard to get to.
This fellow seemed to be rather enjoying his time by the lake despite the awkward contraption he was left holding.
When the sun peaked through a couple of times throughout the day we were able to get a few glimpses of the true stunning colors of the lake.

Here are the four of us at the highest point of the trail. Happy to have made the climb up and momentarily forgetting how painful a 2000ft descent can be.

We had to debate after the trip which of our three Andes Mountain hikes was the most strenuous. Each had their own unique challenge. Cotopaxi had a lot of ice and very little air(my vote for most strenuous). This Quilatoa hike had so many small, steep, quadriceps burning climbs that our legs never fully recovered the rest of the week. Our third hike was up the the peak of VolcáRumiñahui…this terrifying adventure will be the subject of a future post.

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