Naming Rights

Strange names from a wide range of sources are common in the Patagonia. Next to the Baker, you see Bertrand and Cochrane. Further down, you find an O’Higgins, and of course Fitzroy, for whom the most famous granite tower of the Patagonia is named: an English ship captain who never even saw the peak.

The Friendly Frog

I’m certain a child draws her ability to invent stories from real experience. These make-believe moments show us how our daily lives stimulate their brains, and should give us pause when considering the actions we would not want our children to emulate.

The Incredible Lightness of Penguin

Elisa saw a different scene though. She saw penguin after penguin getting ready for that night’s wedding celebration. The tuxedoed birds and non-stop grooming made her think something was afoot. It was a celebration of love, yes, but first, the new couple had to talk about what each bird wanted out of the relationship.

What food is on your deserted island?

The domestication of edible plants is the energetic core of progress, but being satisfied goes deeper than potatoes and corn. There are the plants with attributes and values that exceed caloric intake. For these we make special ceremonies; and instead of composing who we are, they define who we are.

Friends Forever (or Today)

It was getting late. The night had already swallowed Purmamarca’s famous montañas coloradas, and a cool wind—which blew over the Salinas Grandes, Argentina’s largest salt flat—came down the canyon. We sat in the campground’s kitchen with another family, contemplating the meaning of travel over a few liters of beer.  Then, two cyclists, with their headlights twinkling in […]

The Bus Stop

Love is also geographical. It flourishes where you flourish. We connected in the desert where spaces are exposed, where the horizons are endless. In the desert, there are few secrets. Its contours speak in truths, those of stone realities and prickly candor. In the desert, the past is told through fossils and the hardy ones endure extreme temperatures. Somewhere in that naked bedrock lies a metaphor for a successful relationship, as genuine as the red rock, and as honest as the wind shaping the landscape.

Blind Love

Thirteen is pretty old for a dog, but Igna and I did not hesitate to put him on the leash and take him on one of his most memorable hikes to date: through the ruins of Pisaq. After all, how many dogs get the chance to wander through a mountain fortress and fallen temple built over 700 years ago?

Papa, Pipi

The process of un-training the potty-trained brain probably has a lot to do with life on the move, with the uncertainty of it all, and the constantly changing scenery. Lucia is experiencing the same travel shock as the rest of us, only she is manifesting it in the way a two or three year old would.

Insta Altitude

Before the days of Internet, before Instagram literally changed the way you viewed traveling, and before the bucket list was a list or a bucket, there were very few ways to visualize exactly what you were going to see on your next vacation. Let’s say you were heading to Costa Rica or Turkey; you had […]

Impeccable Timing

I asked my daughter Elisa what time meant to her. She’s just five years old, so I wondered how she approaches time, having spent so little of it alive. She said time is minutes, because for a kid, time is immediate and the future is abstract art. As parents, we are always saying “wait a […]

The Element of Travel

I missed out on the humpbacks. It’s whale-watching season along the shores of Ecuador. The humpback whales, creatures in perpetual migration, meet every year near Puerto López to attend to intimate whale affairs like birthing and mating. For the latter, the machos blast into each other like cetaceous rockets, slashing the skin with bristly barnacles […]

Lucía, the Copycat

The flags identified each girl as a sovereign country, two queens who are best friends but constantly bicker. Allies who share a common border but throw up walls during tantrums. Trade is free market (when mami and papi are not looking) otherwise manipulated by the older sister. After all, she calls the shots in the diplomacy of sisterhood. To Queen Elisa goes the seniority, the experience, and knowledge; to Queen Lucia, the leftovers. Now and again, Queen Lucia oversteps her borders, and the two face off, alighting little-fist punches and entangled hair-pulling. Sometimes there is war, but usually just a war of screaming and tears.

Habits of Disgust

We recently visited a Kamsá curandero, or medicine man, in Putumayo (Colombia). Through conversation and a quick revision, Taita Juan made a few general diagnoses for each of us. I have a nerve issue in my right leg causing discomfort; Ignacia has stomach problems fed by stress; Lucía, digestion. Elisa?  “She’s perfect,” I say. As […]

GPS, I lost my mind

It happens again and again. I’m driving down the road, down a highway, up a mountain, and I miss the turn. I get all worked up, blame Ignacia for looking at the phone, and wonder how and why Maps failed me. A quick fit of rage, I pull over to cool down and reassess my […]

Adios Felicidad

When day-to-day life turns into a nomadic adventure with no end in sight, the rules of the game change. In a world where TV and toys no longer exist, there must be other ways of entertaining children.