A Smile a Day: From the Top

Trip Start Feb 10, 2012
Trip End Feb 11, 2013

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Where I stayed
Casa Achenbach

Flag of United States  , Virginia
Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why are these people smiling?  

Is it anticipation for the premier of the next Twilight movie? The promising selection of candidates in the GOP primaries? Or the excitement tinged with fear of chicken-filled buses and that German guy in the top bunk that snores all night?  

Yep - chickens and Germans it is.

At long last, tomorrow we head out on an extended journey through South America. We wanted to post this first blog before leaving to: 
1. Let you know we'll be keeping a (reasonably updated) blog and explain our intended theme.
2. Prove to mom and dad that following a blog isn't hard (it's just a click of a link, promise!).
3. Give you time to remove yourselves from the blog listserve, or email us to stop harassing you. We all believe in a spam-free world.

So, why did we leave our good jobs in a horrible recession, say farewell to our amazing family of friends (not to mention constant sunshine) in San Diego, and opt to become unemployed nomads? We've both always wanted to combine travel abroad with a social purpose, in an attempt to begin to give back for all that we have been fortunate to receive. So, after wallpapering the condo with easel-sized post-its and covering them in mad scientist chickenscratch outlining budget, contacts, volunteer opportunities, etc, we decided to call this trip a go.  

And with that, a year later, we are ready to go.  And by "ready to go" I mean that we have no definitive itinerary, very little transportation planned, and no lodging reserved. But we do have one-way plane tickets to Buenos Aires and two separate 3 month volunteer opportunities set up (Fundación Chol-Chol in Temuco, Chile and Pisco sin Fronteras in Pisco, Peru).  And honestly, that is really all that we want set in stone for the time being.  We want the flexibility to change our plans on a whim based on recommendations from other travelers, cut our trip short if we run out of money and sanity, or extend it if we come across an incredible opportunity. 

Fair warning: neither of us has ever blogged or even Facebooked much before, so we're honestly a little nervous about beginning a public diary documenting all of our moves (plus, we're pretty sure we're not that interesting). So, our goal with "A Smile a Day" is to frame our posts around the people we meet - their stories, passions, cultures, and everything else we learn from them. 

Now, if we haven't bored you out of your gourd yet - great!  Sign up to receive updates from the blog (click the "Get email updates" link in the righthand menu), follow us religiously, and most importantly - leave comments!  If waiting for water to boil holds more interest for you than this blog, well, we really don't blame you.  Don't read on!  But know that you can always come back to this blog to check in on our wanderings.

And with that... we bid you happy readings.
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Ashley Winn on

LOVE YOU TWO!!!! SOOOOO excited to follow along your journeys. San Diego misses your terribly already!!!!

Meg on

Hey Heidi!

Can't wait to hear about your adventures. As a heads up, we fly to Buenos Aires next weekend for a few days then down to Patagonia to do some exploring and trekking. If there is any chance to meet up, that would be super.

Mary on

Woohoo! Bon Voyage!

Jess on

So good seeing you guys last night! Can't wait to read about your adventures :-)

Christina on

Best wishes you two! You will be missed, but many of us will live vicariously through you. I look forward to hearing all about your many adventures!

guidallstella on

Gui's World Famous Good Juju™ (H&D's South American Adventure Edition): ACTIVATE!

Heather on

Good luck on your exciting journey. Safe travels.

Mom and Dad Stry on

Your homework assignment is to keep us up to date on all your adventures. May this trip meet all your expectations and give you wonderful memories. We love you and will miss you. We wish you the best.

Kathleen H. Wilkerson on

Part of me thinks that you all are NUTS, but oh well, everyone deserves a little bit of insanity in their lives, at least once. Wish I had the guts to do everything (or anything) I ever wanted to do but at this point in my life I'll just have to settle for your blog! I can't believe how easy this was so far. I am a computer nerd and rarely go beyond email or the weather channel, so this is big time for me! Have fun, take care and keep us all posted. OK, and be careful out there! Kathy

Ali Snee on

I'm so glad you are blogging! I will definitely be waiting in anticipation for your posts. You will have such an amazing time. Be safe and enjoy, love Ali xxx

Jen Ross on

Looking forward to reading about your travels, since I'm to sissy to do it myself right now:) Have a wonderful time and be safe.

Crystal Mello on

Cant wait to read more!

Elisabeth on

Great job on your blog H & D. We will look forward to reading about your adventures, and sharing in your special moments! Take care, be well, and enjoy!!
E and e

Lauren on

I'm looking forward to keeping up with you guys on your journey! What an awesome experience!!! Thanks for sharing! Safe travels!!! XOXO

Kelly Haslup on

Heidi? Who is your traveling companion? You guys are adorable. Have fun and soak in evefry minute of your great adventure!

Liz-O on

Hi Guys! You look fantastic and ready for the adventure of a lifetime! Take lots of pics and take a moment to step back and soak in everything you are experiencing! Thank you for setting up this blog so that we can enjoy your travels! Love ya guys!

Bowman Olds on

Here's wishing you well in Buenos Aires. That part of the country brings back a lot of memories. Right across the Rio de La Plata in Montevideo is where my engineers were from who served with me in the Sinai desert. And here we all were 7,500 miles from home on the Gulf of Aqaba and they introduced me to their culture and foods during our 6-month tour which made the stay manageable. Enjoy yourselves and stay safe.

Emma R on

Safe travels and enjoy every minute! Look forward to the updates...

billnagle on

Good luck and safe travels. I'll be watching your progress.
Be careful, and enjoy yourselves.

Rick Strychowski on

Dan & Heidi,

Enjoy the trip of a lifetime ! Good luck everywhere you go!

RIck Strychowski

Tim and Chandy on

Outstanding!!! I left with 5K in my pocket and got 15 months / 10 countries out of it and know where you're at right now! Hats off to you both. Travel smart, travel light and take lots of pictures for us :-)

Dly on

Good luck! Have fun and stay safe

Simon on

When you get to Peru and Chile have a Pisco Sour! Peruvians will tell you they named it but Chileans will tell you they invented it!

Jen Roberson on

Bon voyage and safe exploring! I'm looking forward to hearing of your adventures (and living vicariously).

Bill Allen on

We'll miss you at skiing this year. Have a great adventure!

Randy & Robin on

Wow...What a way-cool adventure!!! We definitely want to be part of your blog and see/read what you're experiencing. A vicarious adventure on our part! God bless, stay safe, beware of strangers (so-to-speak), and don't forget to floss cuz your dentist will rip you when you get back. :)
Randy & Robin

Melanie on

Dan, this is so awesome! Heidi, I've never met you, but I know you have a great travel partner! I know it's everything you have wanted to do and I'm so happy for you that you have the opportunity to experience it and with a partner too! Safe travels and best wishes. I'm looking forward to receiving the updates!

Wanda on

Good Luck Rock & Roll & Happy Valentine's Day!

Mom on

Looking for a new smile.....and see Gui's!! That will do for now......xoxo, to Gui, too.

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