"Every start upon an untrodden path is a venture which only in unusual
looks sensible and likely to be successful" -- Albert Schweitzer
My first trip outside the United States was to the Philippines in 1993 as a high school member of an Operation Smile medical mission. Since that trip I have visited Mexico, Jamaica, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and, on a post-college 3-month backpacking excursion, I went to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Traveling is truly the best way to learn about yourself and other cultures.
WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends. -- Shel Silverstein
Photo above: Machu Picchu, Peru. Taken as we descended from Inti Punku (Sun Gate) along the Inca Trail
Photo at left: Punta Tombo Penguin Colony, Argentina
If you are planning a trip to South America, here are some must-see spots: Perito Moreno Glacier, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Argentina (hike around Cerro Fitzroy and Cerro Torre, too); Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Chile (hike The Circuit -- 6 days); Aconcagua (even if you can't climb the mountian, the views are amazing, and so is the city of Mendoza, Argentina); Machu Picchu (hike the Inca Trail -- 3 days); Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil. Pretty much every place in Ecuador was awesome.
Links to help you research or plan a trip:
GORP (Great Outdoor Recreation Pages)
National Geographic Adventure
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