As 2011 comes to a close I’ve decided to re-cap where I’ve been this past year. Although I was not traveling constantly, I was able to make it to Egypt, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. From dinner with a traditional Nubian family in Egypt, to wine tasting in Chile, tango dancing in Argentina and snorkeling in Mexico, 2011 proved to be a year of new experiences and unforgettable memories.
Egypt: My year started off with a two week trip through Egypt. Although most of my time in Egypt was spent with a tour group, my first two days in Cairo allowed me to experience local life. I had a friend in town who was staying with an Egyptian family so we all rang in the New Year together at Cairo hotspot Arabesque. The next day we sailed along The Nile for some rest and relaxation before officially beginning my high-energy tour that took me to the Pyramids of Giza, Nubia, Abu Simbel, Luxor and countless museums and monuments. Few people make it to Egypt and come back uninspired, and I’m certainly no exception. Upon returning to the U.S. I found myself missing the people, culture and tranquility of Egypt.
Chile: The weeks I spent in Chile were some of the most introspective of the year, which surprised me to be honest. Although I had read articles about Chile it was never high on my priority list when it came to places to visit. I spent about two weeks in Santiago eating at restaurant after restaurant, snapping photos of major monuments and drinking at local bars. I also made it to some of the coastal cities including Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, and Reñaca. I also made my way south to Santa Cruz where I went on a wine tour through one of the Vineyards. Chile turned out to be one of my favorite travel destinations of all time. The people were incredibly friendly and I fell comfortably into their laid-back way of viewing life.
Argentina: My first trip to Argentina back in 2010 took me to Buenos Aires and the remote town of Luján so I was more than eager to return and explore more cities and towns. This time, I traveld though three aboriginal towns in Jujuy at the very northern tip of the country. It was incredibly fascinating to learn about the cultural traditions of the local people and watch them sew their clothing and make music from handmade instruments. I then went to Cordoba, Tucumán (including the small yet charming Concepción) and of course I couldn’t leave without stopping through Buenos Aires again. BA has quickly become one of my favorite global cities and I couldn’t resist seeing another performance.
Mexico: After a last minute invite to attend a press trip to Los Cabos, I was more than eager to get an extra week of sunshine, especially after spending a month in South America during their winter season. While there, I was able to challenge myself physically and also reconnect with nature. Our day trip to Cabo San Lucas did not consist of drinking and dancing on tables but rather involved outdoor activities. We went snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding on a deserted beach and I even had the chance to swim with a dolphin (my dream since childhood). This experience was slightly eye-opening because I found myself not as excited about the whole animal-training profession as I was for so much of my life.