A Glimpse of Viña Del Mar

Which cities do you think have the best coastal views?

After our relaxing cat-sit in Las Cruces, El Tabo, we made our way up to Vina Del Mar. There, we stayed with a modest gentleman in his house on a hill surrounded by four dogs. He cooked us breakfast, and we barbecued in his large backyard with him, his cousin, and a fellow couchsurfer.

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He spoke only moderate English, so we got to exercise our Spanish some more. And telling our host we got to choose our own names in Spanish class back in school led to Aaron choosing a new name every day of our stay. He was Armando, Javier, and Carlitos, among others. It was fun for him to pick a new name each day, but it does mean our host couldn’t remember his real name!

Our fellow couchsurfer was pretty cool. Always sipping on mate, he was visiting Chile from Argentina and spoke next to no English. However, that didn’t stop him from taking us on a little tour of the coastal city.

We stumbled upon some folks in costumes at the center of town, and I gotta say – that Iron Man was pretty convincing!

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We even found a kitty! After seeing them everywhere in Istanbul, we found South America to be sadly lacking. Instead, the streets were absolutely full of stray dogs – something we’d never see back home.

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We also walked all the way up the hill to a lookout over the city. The walk was a bit sweltering, but the views were worth it! We opted to simply take a taxi back down.

Down at the beach, the sand was packed full of people! It was a far cry from the more sparse beaches we could find in El Tabo. And out on the pier, dozens of fishermen jostled for a spot on their own dedicated platform. Seriously, it was a wonder they never got their lines tangled.

Each city has its own unique flavor, and we love getting to know each one!


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Experience Santiago Chile: Like a True Local

While traveling, it is important for us to understand the culture, politics, and history of the places we visit. We have always believed that travel is more than just sightseeing, and there is always a human element. During our visit to Santiago, Chile, we had a unique chance to see how the locals lived, even in the poorest of neighborhoods. The family who hosted us barely spoke English, and even with so little resources, they gave us so much. It is fascinating to see a family live so happily on so little, while also being so generous at the same time. We viewed Santiago from a completely different perspective.

Host family in Santiago Chile

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How to Get Free (or Mostly Free) Lodging Around the World

We want to share with you our favorite types of lodging for long-term travel – particularly the free and nearly-free types that let us keep traveling longer (because that’s the end goal, right?).  When you’re on the road for as long as we’ve been (and will be), you’ll quickly find that accommodation is one of the most expensive buckets of your budget.

Finding a place to sleep shouldn’t cost your entire life’s savings.  Fortunately, in only four months, our food expense has surpassed our lodging.  And this isn’t because we absolutely love food (though we do).  Rather, it’s because we aren’t spending the money on hotels.  Hey, we can’t always afford to stay at a resort!

Read on to discover our favorite programs, what they’re all about, what to watch out for, and how much you can save compared to hotels.

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Where to Start a Trip Around the World: Cape Town

As I am writing this, we are two days out from getting on our first flight to Cape Town South Africa. It has been quite a scramble getting ready for this trip, and it feels like we will never be truly ready. From the packing to the planning, it has been a bit brutal at times. All the hard work is about to pay off. With three years in the making, we’ve finally begun our world trip!  And this is where.

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5 Tips for Mastering Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing.com is a website platform for connecting a global community of travelers, facilitating stays with locals or opening your home to visitors. Sometimes hosts can offer a private room and bathroom; sometimes it’s literally nothing more than a couch upon which to crash for a night. It is also a place to organize events in cities around the world.

We have used this platform to host eight amazing travelers, and we have also been hosted once abroad in Norway. All of the people we met through this platform were incredible. They all came from different walks of life, and they shared their own travel stories and cultural experiences with us (like teaching us how to drink like a Russian!).

We are the type of hosts who like to treat our guests to local Portland activities, hikes, and even trips to the coast. We enjoy meeting new people, and every experience is completely unlike the last. There are many reasons to love this platform.

Over our many hostings and stays, we’ve learned a lot.  Here are five tips for mastering Couchsurfing.

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Essentials for enjoying an evening drinking with a Russian

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We are Going to Norway!

This week we are heading to Norway and working through the last details before beginning our adventure. As this is being written, we are finalizing what is going into our bags and making sure we have everything we need. Norway is a little different than most trips as we are car camping. Here are some of the things we are considering while planning the last minute details of our trip.

Jotunheimen National Park, NorwayPhoto by Kristoffer Trolle Creative Commons

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