6 p.m. October 15th – Santiago

After changing from the red to the green line we emerge from the subterranean cavern of one of the subway’s final stops in Santiago’s outskirts. No longer are there trendy coffee shops with well-dressed businessman chatting over smart dishes. The road is sparse on cars, heavy on loiterers wearing tattered clothes and stern stares. Unoccupied warehouses loom. The sharp contrast reflecting the wide gap between Chile’s emerging middle class and the still large impoverished sector is immediate.

Tara and I have trapsed across the city and checked out myriad used cars, still waiting to find the one, this the first time I wish I’d made the trip without my blond, Scandanavian featured wife.

After some searching we find the address of the automotriz and are let in the gate by the guard. The seven passenger behemouth we’ve come to check out is pretty easy to find amongst the smattering of compact cars common to South American cities. I peer into the Hyundai noticing the interior is in good shape and turn to find a saleslady.

“How is the engine?”

“Impecable.”

“Has it been crashed?”

“Never, it’s a great automobile that’s very well taken care of.”

“And what about the oil on the chasis and the ground below?”

“That’s just some mud. The car has no problems.”

She hurries off for the keys at my request. It starts sluggishly and sugary tasting liquid streams from the tail pipe. At least it’s in our price range and has low kilometers I remind myself feeling frustrated for making the trip already.

“Why is there so much water coming from the tail pipe?”

“Eso es normal,” she asserts. The engine is just cold. She hails over the mechanic, who also happens to be her husband, and as an objective party he reaffirms her diagnosis.

Under the hood I notice there’s no radiator fluid. I point it out and ask for her to get some water so we can see that there are no leaks when it has fluid.

“No tenemos agua por aca,” she says.

“You don’t have water here? What about in the toilet?”

The toilet is broken, but I shouldn’t worry, the engine is impeccable assert both her sons from behind there father.
Tara’s eyes tell me to stay calm.

“Would you like to test drive it?” the saleslady asks.

“Sure.”

“We must stay in the lot though, it’s too late in the day to go on the highway,” she reasons.

“How about you just give me your card and I’ll call you.”

2 a.m. October 11th (night before departure)

We’re fifteen pounds over weight. Tara’s distraught and adamant that she’s got nothing left that isn’t absolutely necessary.

“What about all the paper samples and the silver boxes full of your design stuff?” I grumble before quickly retreating into my own bag after getting a more than energetic rant about needing everything to continue her graphic and web design business. My leg to stand on is gimpy in light of her previous sleepless nights getting our marketing collateral and web page together, not to mention we’re going to need every penny her freelance projects will provide while we’re in Chile.

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2016 Knowmad Adventures Annual Travel Photography Contest

Travel Photography - South America

For the past couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of living vicariously through our travelers while sifting through hundreds of photos taken in every nook and cranny of South America. What I love most about this process is seeing the world through another’s perspective, learning travelers’ stories through each image and in a little way, sharing in their joy. Throughout the selection process Krista and I commented several times just how difficult it was to pick only three top photos for each category, but, albeit challenging, we managed to pick this year’s Knowmad Adventures Annual Travel Photography Contest winners!

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Reflecting On A Year of South America Travel: Travelers’ Reviews + Stories From Their South American Adventures

Travelers' Reviews

From the white sand beaches and wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, to the ancient Incan ruins of Peru, stunning mountain peaks of Patagonia, and the vibrant culture of Buenos Aires, Knowmad Travelers experienced a lot in 2016.

They snorkeled with sea lions and kayaked next glaciers. They hiked the Inca Trail, and camped under the stars at nearly unknown ruins. They shared stories with gauchos and savored a meal with indigenous leaders. They connected with different cultures, communities and people throughout South America.

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