Travel writing many years ago was a way to share exotic adventures with an audience that was unlikely to have them otherwise. That isn’t true anymore. On any of our walks along the Maui beaches we can hear a dozen accents in English, Japanese, Mandarin, German, French, and a smattering of Eastern European languages. Ordinary people travel a lot. Now days most travel writing is more about promoting a destination or journey so that others will want to go (and spend lots of money). It is with some reluctance, therefore, that I begin a few travel articles over the next several weeks. After all, the few regular readers of this blog are well traveled, some with far more experience that we have had or will have. They may be inclined toward that trite old “been there, done that” snub. Well, too bad, here goes anyway.
You know that we come to Maui every year. It is our retreat, our place of refuge, our time to just be. This year we are cutting our stay short to go on a two week cruise from Buenos Aires around Cape Horn to Santiago, and then home. South America has not been high on our list of places to go, but a local professor of geology at Whitman College has such a great reputation for his lectures and guided hikes that we, and over a hundred others from our area, signed up to go with him on this trip. I’m looking forward to learning more about Argentina, especially Patagonia, with a side trip to the Falklands (Maldives), and then on to traversing the straits Magellan traversed, and exploring the fjords of the Chilean coast.
Getting there is going to be an adventure in itself. This Thursday evening we will fly from Maui to Seattle, then to Houston, then to Buenos Aires. It’s going to take a while, but it’s something of a technological miracle that we can do it at all. We are not unaccustomed to long flights; we’ve had our share to Asia and Europe, but we have often divided legs and layovers into separate visits to favorite places along the way. We learned one lesson a year ago on a many legged trip to Turkey where we were without luggage for a few days, so this time we will pack a small carryon bag with a couple of changes of clothes just in case.
In fact, packing bags is what this is really about. We pack for six weeks or more on Maui in two smallish bags, plus another for our swim and hike gear. What’s to pack? Shorts, shirts, underwear, and toiletries. That’s it. This year we can’t do that. We’ve got our Maui stuff to be sure, but we also need cruise wear including semi-dressy stuff appropriate for ladies and gentlemen. Then we need comfort clothing appropriate for cold, windy, wet weather of the far southern latitudes. We know not what is appropriate street wear in Buenos Aires and Santiago, but we’re covered. It’s not like we have steamer trunks filled with clothing that the servants are left to schlepp around for us, but we have a lot more than is normal for us, and we are the schleppers.
I will confess to you that instead of the total relaxation I normally feel sitting here on our lanai, I have some apprehensive anticipation of what lies ahead four days from now. Can’t really call it anxiety. It’s something more like sadness at having to leave here too soon, and eagerness to get going to places we have never been and know little about. It may also have something to do with our longest flight legs booked on United, an airline with one of the worst records for customer service. We shall see if they have changed their ways, as their new management has promised they have done.