Mel on Condor Cave hike

For the past week and a half I’ve been in Chile, experiencing a new part of the world with my husband Andy, daughters Reggie and Melanie and Reggie’s boyfriend Dan Foldes.


This has been a remarkably easy trip so far. We had a wonderful time touring quirky Valparaiso and cycling around some vineyards. We made it to a famous Penguin nesting habitat, even if we were there the wrong time of day to see thousands of Penguins, we saw plenty.


I’ll be posting travel diaries on a daily basis about this trip starting Monday January 11 and running for about two weeks.




And for the past few days we’ve been ensconced in Hotel Remota ( just outside of Puerto Natales where the beds are oh-so-comfortable, the food very good and the staff attentive.






So why am I having a bad day? I can’t blame it on my kids. They are all in sunny moods as we climb ever higher up the hill—no trail in sight—and climb over fallen trees to beautiful vistas. We explore a few caves along the way, one apparently where remnants of a giant sloth was once found. But the guide doesn’t explain and all the signs are in Spanish.  I start lamenting that I need to learn Spanish. My daughter interrupts that I should just enjoy the day.


She’s right of course. The hike is a challenge for me and I should be pleased that I manage as well as I do. It’s not my fault the guide is having an off day. I’m here in one of the most beautiful places on earth with my family. Everyone is healthy and happy. No one is squabbling, though they are teasing me.



Travel itself, of course, is a challenge, just like today’s hike. It may not turn out the way you expect—I was expecting a leisurely walk today, for example, not a bushwhacking expedition. But it is the unexpected that keeps you on your toes—and provides the most stellar memories. Often it is what goes wrong—and how you handle it–that makes  the memories and offers teaching moments along the way—for the adults as well as the kids.



My daughters have told me this trip that all of our travels—all the many times I’ve taken them out of their comfort zones—way out—have helped to make them the young adults they are today–never fearful of a challenge, always eager for the next adventure, always interested in meeting people from different cultures.