Our First Hundred Days

Today our new president took office. He’ll have four years to accomplish his goals, but first of all, he’ll have a hundred days. The famous “First 100 Days” is the inital judgment period for a president. And today as Barack Obama begins his term and his first hundred days, we complete our own first hundred days. That’s right, as of today, we’ve been on the road for one hundred days. So without further ado, here’s a review of what we’ve done in the past hundred days.

We have spent time in five countries: Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador.

We have ridden on over 75 buses, both local and long-distance, from over-crowded school bus to comfortable nearly fully reclining cama-class overnight buses.

We have been on 8 airplanes—seven for transport between locations (Seattle to Houston; Houston to Managua; Managua to Panama City; Panama City to Santiago; Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas; Lima to Cusco; Cusco to Lima) and one for a tour (Nazca).

We have hiked the 100-km extended version of the W at Torres del Paine and the 46-kilometer Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, along with many other kilometers on less well-known trails.

We have stayed at 43 different hostels, hostals, hosterias, hospedajes, and hotels.

We have lost one item: a headlamp on day one.

We have missed the announcement of two engagements and three pregnancies of friends.

We have eaten ice cream 17 times, the majority of these in Argentina.

We have eaten the best steak of our lives, a tenderloin so tender that our server cut it with a spoon at Viejo Jack in Salta.

We have eaten all things they tell you not to eat—unpeeled fruit, hamburgers from a street stand, salad, and water from the tap—and are no worse for the wear from it, aside from a few extra trips to the toilet of course.

We have read only 7 books—A Walk in the Woods, The Geography of Bliss, The House of the Spirits, Collapse, Astrid & Veronika, Best New American Voices 2007, and Far from the Madding Crowd—thanks primarily to the really bad taste of other South American travelers, which makes trading for a good book nearly impossible (expect a post on this soon!).

We have been to the self-proclaimed end of the world…from where we looked south and saw more land.

We have visited 11 national parks.

We have become nearly fluent in Spanish (Jeff) and sort of kind of competent (Theresa).

We have crossed borders via airplane, bus, collectivo taxi, and foot.

We have added the following stamps to our passports: 1 from Nicaragua, 6 from Chile, 3 from Argentina, 2 from Peru, and 1 from Ecuador, along with two stamps from Machu Picchu and one from the end of the world. 

We have on more occasions than is possible to count experienced the kindness of strangers, witnessed the commonality of people everywhere, and smiled in wonder, amazement, and joy at the beautiful world we live in.

In our opinion, our first hundred days have been a roaring success and we are looking forward to the hundreds of days remaining.