It was a very late night around 10 years ago when we were pondering with Sarah the meaning of life, the importance of love and the value of travel.
Sarah was high on the euphoria of a recent visit to Brazil and she was weaving her best magic to excite our wanderlust. She was enticing Dave and I to travel with her to the place that captured her heart.
We’ve always known we would travel to South America and visit the land of Sarah’s “other family” but for a long time the right opportunity didn’t seem clear for us to make it happen.
Then in late 2016 Sarah reignited the Brazil conversation with us. She would be working in Mexico in 2017 and could arrange some time off work, then travel together for a few weeks. We started to view the possibility as a probability, which we finally turned into reality.
Our plan was to hang around South America for around 3 months after our Sarah travels, then return to Australia early May.
What we hadn’t counted on was an unexpected and unfavourable result from Dave’s recent MRA. Dave survived a brain aneurism 12 years ago and since then regular brain scans have always shown the stent and coils were properly in place, but this time the outcome was unwelcome news.
The phone call from Dave’s radiologist came just the day before we were due to fly out of Brisbane, though he considered there was no urgency and we should continue with our 3 months travel plans (but no guarantees…..).
We were in shock of course, and scheduled an investigative angiogram for our return in May and boarded that Qantas jet with very mixed feelings. In the end, after so many huge conversations, we decided we just couldn’t live with the knowledge of Dave having a dodgy artery in his head while in a foreign country, so we changed our flights and came home as soon as our commitments with Sarah and her Brazilian friends were done. As Dave says, its hard enough ordering a beer in Portuguese, imagine having to explain titanium coils and stents to Brazilian doctors**.
But WOW, what a brilliant time we did have over there. We packed in so much excitement, education and culture shock during our 6 weeks and we are still reeling. This trip was the most enlightening and challenging we’ve ever undertaken.
Here’s a bit of a snapshot of our itinerary, with detailed blog posts to follow soon.
Our initial thinking was that we’d start and finish in Chile with some time at the end to explore the northern deserts of the country. That will now be for another time.
A week in Santiago included a walking tour, here’s the story of that brilliant experience.
A few days in Valparaiso could easily have extended to a week.
Met up with Sarah then traveled south to Chiloe for a few days
As we flew in to Rio Sarah said she felt she was coming home. It was such a happy time.
Some beach time in Florianpolis, where you can buy just about anything.
South to Criciuma with Sarah’s Brazilian family
Even further south again with Sarah’s friends at incredible Mampituba.
Final days in Porto Alegre, before flying across to Santiago for our connecting flight back to Australia
We were super excited when the flight attendant told us that we’d be flying over Antarctica, only the 2nd time Qantas has done that on the Santiago to Sydney flight.
It looks like we might have some time on our hands for a while so I’m hoping to work on our photo library and put some blog posts together soon.
Dave will have the cerebral angiogram next week and then we’ll know what next steps are to be taken for the aneurism repair and what recovery period he’ll need. We are very fortunate to live in a country where outstanding medical services are available to us, we’ve been grateful and don’t take it for granted.
** In case you have been concerned, we did master the ability to order beer in Portuguese and Spanish, no problems.