Reflections … and preparations

It’s now three years ago since we returned from our 5 month adventure around South America.  We set out when the children were 3, 5 and 7. Planning the trip seemed to elicit one of two opinions, either concerns of safety or sheer incomprehensibility, although a few adventurous friends could see the light and were genuinely envious.

Many people said we were mad. Many worried that there’d be no point as the kids wouldn’t remember anything,

But the children all still remember what they studied when we were on the road. 

In their geology lessons they climbed volcanoes, ate dinner sheltering from the furious fifties in nooks of frozen lava, stood one foot each side of a fault line and bathed in thermal springs in sub zero temperatures.

In geography they camAND_4021.jpgped in deserts that haven’t seen rain for decades, walked on glaciers with crampons, watched the flora change out the window dropping 5000m from the altiplano to the Amazon basin and licked the largest salt flats in the world.

In biology they saw three different penguin species, stayed close to us in puma country out of fear, caught piranhas, saw all four camelids in one day, three species of flamingo, poisonous frogs, capybaras and wild tarantulas and dissected a dead Humboldt penguin to prove that they do have knees.

In astronomy they saw the million star sky from the tent and visited one of the largest observatories on the planet.AND_5850.jpg

In history they explored popular and lesser known Inca ruins, discovered an Inca skeleton, marvelled at ancient Patagonian cave paintings, gazed into the face of a preserved Inca girl who was sacrificed to the gods and marvelled at feats of prehistoric water management.

In language, today our lexicon is still peppered with Spanish phrases they picked up, and they have a thirst for other languages now. Holly learned to write several letters using the mummified head of a penguin as a pen in the white sandy beach in the Atacama
In maths, we calculated the kilometres travelled, and worked out the time we’d arrive if we’d kept the same speed, or kept an eye on the altimeter to see the highest points.

AND_3322.jpgAnd last but not least, socially they would go into panaderias alone to buy bread for lunch – armed with pesos and rudimentary Spanish.

They ate animals their friends at home keep as pets.

They also made friends at various times with local kids, and discovered that you do not need possessions to be happy.

It is the school of the road. But not just for them, but also for us. Travel is not just important for the physical and cultural adventure. It’s about how it changes you. They changed, we changed. They have a better understanding of the big world out there and we’re lucky we can give them that.

A couple of weeks after we got home we bought a little puppy dog. And we called him Chile. It’s yet another daily reminder of our incredible adventure.image.png

He’s now three and has met the house sitter who’ll be living here during our next adventure to some big mountains later this year………




One response to “Reflections … and preparations

  1. What a wonderful reflection…definitely something you will all cherish and remember as a family. Look forward to reading the next chapter in The Dan and Sarah’s Take on Kathmandu!


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