Who, Where and When

Trip Start Jan 15, 2006
Trip End Sep 05, 2006

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, January 8, 2006

Who are we? - My name is Brad and the vivacious young lady in the welcome photo is my new bride, Kia. Until very recently, we both had good jobs working in Silicon Valley, but had a yearning for some sort of big adventure before considering the somewhat messy process of procreation (and the concurrent adventure-limiting activities of diaper changing and spitup wiping.)

Where are we going? - The current plan is to fly to Santiago, Chile, drive to Tierra del Fuego and then head north until we get back to the states. We expect to return to the bay area in September.

The choice of routes has been the subject of some debate between us. When the idea of an extended trip was first broached, I think Kia envisioned an old-fashioned tour of the great capitals, skiing in the Alps, sunning on the Riviera, romantic cafes and maybe even a bit of shopping... Not bad, but not exactly what I was thinking. My vision was a little more focused on adventure. I saw us camping under the stars for a couple of nights, followed by a recuperation at a luxurious resort. Wash, rinse, repeat. As some men are prone to do, I was looking to enhance my masculine self esteem by choosing a vehicle that was capable of scaling tall mountains and fording broad rivers. I told her an open air Jeep would allow us to fully experience the scenery, not just stare through the window of an air-conditioned box. Kia responded that air conditioning (as well as heat) was one of the great innovations of modern civilization and that a Jeep's suspension would also force us to 'experience' every bump in the road.

At this point, the savvy reader will likely note that the actual trip bears a much closer resemblance to my desires than to those of my wife. You might be asking yourself, "How did a sensitive new age guy like Brad manage to dominate the decision making process?"

The answer to that question involves careful application of the formula known as TDR. Many couples find themselves spending significant time in negotiation on how to spend their discretionary income. Classic examples include home decoration vs a sports car, shoes vs golf clubs or girls night out vs boys night out. Those of us with experience have long recognized that a well timed gift will often garner significant leeway to make purchases for oneself. Unfortunately, a sense of proportion will still apply. Bringing home a bouquet of flowers does not usually provide a hall pass to get a new sports car.

This ratio is known among many men as the Toy to Diamond Ratio ("TDR"). Scientific research has shown that for each dollar a husband spends on jewelry, on average, he can get away with spending 0.8 to 1.0 dollars on toys for himself. Of course, the TDR varies based on the quality of the relationship and the personality of the participants. Due to Kia's generous nature, I estimate her TDR may be as high as 1.5.

Last spring, I had decided that I wanted Kia to be my bride and was in the market for a large diamond purchase. I bought the Jeep the same weekend that I surprised her with ice. Fortunately for me, she said yes (explicitly to the proposal and implicitly to the Jeep). I received nary a comment on our new rig that was suitable for the wilds of Patagonia, the jungles of Brazil and the mountains of Bolivia. At this point we were locked in to South America.

When are we leaving? - Our flight to Santiago is on the 15th. The Jeep is currently on a boat and is expected to arrive on the 18th. We were in Chile last winter and found the country to be very efficient with limited corruption. We have our fingers crossed that we can retrieve the Jeep by the 19th and start heading south.
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