Category Archives: Travel

Miscellaneous travel articles

Confession Time

Call me crazy, but I think some of you may have noticed I haven’t posted much since Raeski and I returned from Chile. In all honesty, I miss Chile much more than Raeski and have been at a loss for a solution for what I’ve been missing since we’ve been back.

Recently I read a clarifying question asking expats returning home what they missed. “Was it the place, people, or the challenges you faced?” After giving it much thought I came to the conclusion that the challenge of living in Chile was invigorating. For a good sense of the challenges, read the ‘El Diario’ posts.

In Chile, boredom was banished from our lives and replaced with constant challenges to overcome. One article I found explains four stages of expat life. I made it through the first two and struggled with the third. Armed with the knowledge I have now, stage three would be a lot easier. In stage four there is a warning for returning expats I live with almost every day – feeling out of place and struggling to cope.

Do you think it’s strange to feel homesick for a place you only lived in for a year? I get teary eyed when I think of the generosity of the people and how they help their countrymen when disaster strikes. I smile when thinking of how much we did and saw in a year. Hiking in Patagonia, visiting Easter Island on Easter, Machu Picchu, Zapallar, the Andes, active volcanoes, lakes, glaciers, the marvelous street art of Valparaiso and much, much more. I miss the challenges and the people. I also felt safer there than here.

So, is there a solution to this malaise, Wooly? One that could fill my need of challenges, be affordable and expose me to the great outdoors while a bit closer to home to keep Raeski happy?

The good news is there is life after Chile. In January I placed an order for a 17’ Freedom Deluxe Casita travel trailer and we are picking it up in Rice TX at the end of June. A travel trailer checks all the boxes I need.

  • Exposure to new environments at a much lower cost – Check.
  • New challenges to overcome – Check.
  • Travel, travel, travel – Check.

I know I have a lot to learn about travel trailer life which will be part of the fun and anguish. Does this make us trailer trash???

One of my dreams is to find a place you like and stay as long as you want until you feel a need to move on. Taking time seeing all the sites, hiking the trails, visiting museums and taking lots of pictures.

It’s also good to know a Casita, much like an Airstream, doesn’t lose its value as fast as other travel trailers. In fact, I was going to buy used until I discovered I could buy a brand new Casita cheaper than the few of the 5-year-old trailers I had looked at. And there aren’t a lot of them listed for sale and people seem to really love them.

In hindsight, my decision to buy a diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes even better now. I won’t have any problem towing the trailer, I already have the tow package on the Jeep and a huge list of places to go. I’m ready!

This means changes are coming to WoolyandRaeski to accommodate our new lifestyle. The main page will be the blog and new tabs will appear for photography and travel articles. All of our South American adventures will be archived under a new South America tab.

I hope you like the changes and thanks for your patience waiting for me to write something.

I love comments so please let me know what you think.

Cheers, Wooly.


A Photo a Week Challenge: Tender Moments

Penguins, a girl feeding pigeons in Arequipa, Wooly and Raeski in Lima, llamas in San Pedro de Atacama, and a young mountain goat sticking close to mom in Rocky Mountain Natl. Park.


Where the Hat is King

Once you get away from the big city almost everyone wears one.   You are not fully dressed without one.  For those “in the know” the hat even identifies where you are from.  Whether at work, shopping or play, the hat is ever-present.  In Peru the hat is king.

In Chivay you can sit on a hat or even play on one.

Of course most hats are worn.

Even statues have hats!

And occasionally even Wooly and Raeski – especially when it’s cold.  Brrr!

(Extra)ordinary Winding Roads

I love winding roads.  From the Moki Dugway (see what the heck is a Moki Dugway), to crossing the Andes, descending toward Cerro Castillo and finally ascending to Machu Picchu.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I loved riding on the roads.

Out and About Chivay

In South American small towns invariably have a square in the middle.  Even in the most modest of towns the square is an important place.  There will be a church, some restaurants and streets radiating out from the square where commerce takes place.

The hat is very important in Peru.  Each region has distinctive hats.  In Chivay they take it to another level with hat sculptures.  They are irresistible  to children and sometimes accidents happen.  Some child may have spilled ice cream on the last hat.  The sculptures are designed so you can sit on them and rest weary legs and feet.

If you’ve had a tiring day you can always take a taxi.  However don’t look for the standard black taxi or collectivo here.  Each taxi owner personalizes their ‘cab’.  It’s quite the creative use of a motorcycle.

Chivay’s marketplace is quite orderly.  In Chivay each area of the marketplace has a purpose.  If you want groceries you go to one area and for other items you find the area where it’s being sold.

We also went on a hike outside of town that took us up on a hill that overlooked the town.  We highly recommend taking that walk.  The views are great at the edge of town.

Those views get even better outside of town.  And if you go you may even see someone walking to town with child in tow and their llama.  We really liked the bridge and appreciate the amount of work that must have gone into building it.

Chivay Surprise

I believe surprises can be placed in two categories – ones that are pleasant and ones that are not.  After the ride to Chivay there was still a lot of daylight left so we walked to the town square.  We knew the square is where all the action is found in small South American towns and Chivay is small.  On the way to the square we were pleasantly surprised.  The road to the square was lined with statues of folklore characters.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Torres del Paine’s Andean Condors

We knew the Andean Condor could be spotted at the tip of South America but we never expected to see them up close while hiking in Torres del Paine (TDP).  When TDP went on the bucket list we didn’t even know the condors were down there.  When we learned they were there we ‘hoped’ we would see one or two.

This wasn’t our first encounter with the Andean Condor but we think this one’s the best.  It happened in the wild.  In Peru we went to Colca Canyon and saw about 50.  This made us think that someone must be tossing dead animals over the cliffs of the canyon to keep the birds all bunched up there.  Here in TDP we only saw them in pairs flying many miles apart from each other.

But anyway, it was on our second day in the park when we saw them – first at a distance and further up the trail.  We kept our eyes peeled for them and Wooly had his camera ready as we hiked.  The spectacular moment happened just after we reached the high point on the trail and got settled in for lunch.

Soon we heard some people up on the hill cry out so we knew what was about to happen.  Wooly was able to turn around and snap off three shots as the condor closed in on us.  The condor had his eye on us as he flew directly over – no more than 20 feet (3 meters).  Then Wooly spun around and got the final shot.  Of the four pictures three turned out well. 

And with that we finished our lunch with Wooly hoping the pictures turned out okay.  Now it’s your turn to enjoy the experience.