Torres del Paine Trek: 6 Days, 6 Lessons, Many Photos

Most articles we read about Torres del Paine National Park in Chile focus on Patagonian meadows, turquoise lakes, and rose-tinted granite towers in sunrise.

We’ll allow our photos to do that bit for us.

Instead, we’ll take a different tack and share some of the lessons –- about yourself, your marriage (if you have one), Patagonia, expectations, life, and travel – you might learn from trekking in Torres del Paine.

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Unspoken Patagonia

There we were at the end of the trail in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. We had completed the “W” – 60 miles, fully laden – and were basking in the warmth of the Patagonian sun. In the process we had become proficient at assembling our tent in strong winds, cooking wondrous meals with packaged pasta, and securing our stuff from mice at night. We appreciated nature in full: not only the beauty of its rainbows, glaciers, condors and granite towers, but also the wrath of its hurricane-strength winds.

At the end of our journey, the feeling of camaraderie amongst our fellow trekkers was palpable. We all shared an accomplishment. In the soft grass at the trailhead kiosk, we indulged in overpriced potato chips and cracked open celebratory beers.

But something was missing.

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Why Paraguay?

Paraguay Travel, Terere

Despite all the itinerary changes we made during our Latin American journey, we never took Paraguay off the table. Maybe that’s because we knew virtually nothing about it. We hadn’t met anyone who’d been. That few others traveled there was an indication that we should.

So why visit Paraguay?

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Vilcabamba, Ecuador: Conspiracy Theories in the Valley of Longevity

“All the best stories are but one story in reality – the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.” — A. C. Benson

It had never occurred to us to ask, “Where do conspiracy theorists go for early retirement?”

Then we visited Vilcabamba, a little town in southern Ecuador.

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Keep Peru on Your Bucket List: Here’s Why

Maybe you’ve seen the photos coming out of Peru over the last week or two: raging rivers, washed-out bridges, mud-buckled railroad lines, and tourists being airlifted from under the shadow of Machu Picchu in the town of Aguas Calientes.

We’re here to suggest — despite it all — that you keep Peru on (or consider adding it to) your travel bucket list.

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Ecuador Travel, More Than Just the Galapagos: What to Do, See and Eat

Sure, we enjoyed our time in the Galapagos Islands. It’s difficult not to when you are surrounded by blue-footed boobies dancing their way to marriage and penguins torpedoing their way through the water.

But when travelers fly in and out of Ecuador only to see the Galapagos, they are missing out.

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Potosi, Through Children’s Eyes (Where Were You When You Were Twelve?)

We eat the mountain…and the mountain eats us.

— David, a mine guide and former miner in Potosi, echoes a decades-old sentiment about the city's lifeblood, its world-famous silver mines.

It was late morning and the sun was bright, the sky crystal at 13,400 feet in Potosi, Bolivia. We were being tended to by a group of schoolgirls dressed as nurses at a hygiene fair; they sought to teach us the methods and benefits of properly washing our hands.

The mood: uplifting and hopeful.

Contrast this with just the day before.

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The Trip That Was a Bitch: Scratching the Curiosity Itch in Paraguay

Have you ever been thankful for an experience that you wouldn't choose to repeat?

You go somewhere not because it will deliver comfort. You take a trip not because it's going to get you quickly from A to B. You don't do it simply because it's inexpensive. You stand in the face of logic and reason; you deliberately endure an ounce or two of pain. Your journey's aim: to satisfy your curiosity.

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