Tag Archives: US
May 25, 2013


About six months ago I made a conscious decision to stop worrying about updating Postcard Valet.  This was after a few months spent worrying about why I wasn’t updating the site during our last few months in Australia.  Though I regret not explaining why I haven’t been updating, the rationalization for why was an easy one to make.  Once we got on the road again, at the end of the day I barely had the time and energy to back up our photos and keep up with my daily journaling… Writing for the blog – let alone video editing – would have completely exhausted me, as well as taken away valuable travel time.

Considering we just drove onto the Alaska Marine Highway and, in about six hours we will return to Juneau and our trip around the world will be at an end, I thought this would be a good time to finally write about what Oksana and I have been up to. (more…)

May 9, 2011

Thoughts on Chile

If you’re in South America and ask other travelers what they think about Chile, you’ll hear two different things over and over: Chileans speak fast and everything is much more expensive.  I guess it’s not surprising then that those were pretty much the first two things we noticed when crossing the border from Bolivia into San Pedro de Atacama.


The language, I knew, would sort itself out in time.  They speak Spanish there, like pretty much everywhere else we’d been, they just hurry all their words together.  In previous border crossings, I noticed the weird phenomenon where, on one side, I understood almost everything said to me and on the other, practically nothing.  My Spanish usually isn’t good enough to pick up the reasons why; it could be the speed, the accent, or the slang.  The tiny improvements I gain in comprehension over the next week are too small to notice as they happen, but after seven days or so, I’m usually doing alright again.

I never got to that point in Chile.  We were in and out of the country too fast.

(Interesting note about Chilean English:  We were told that Chileans learn “American English,” rather than “British English.”  Not that there’s a huge amount of difference between the two, but sometimes you notice the changes.  Flat for apartment, that sort of thing.  You would think that learning American English would somehow make their Spanish easier to understand, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong.)

Sticker Shock

The sticker shock in Chile was harder for us to deal with.  Coming from Bolivia, we were used to paying, oh, about $20-25 a night for a nice private room.  Our first place in San Pedro ran us $42 and we had to live with a shared bathroom.  (They even charged us for towels, $2 a piece!)  The hotel reception guy saw our hesitation and asked if we were coming from Bolivia.  We nodded and he said, “Yeah, tourists from Bolivia always want lower prices.  It’s just more expensive here.”

Later on, in La Serena, I wandered into a music store and looked around at the prices.  Figuring the Twilight sensation would be a good place to do a price comparison, I checked out what it would cost to buy a book, a DVD, and a Blu-Ray disc of the first in series.  Roughly: 10,000 pesos for the DVD, 13,000 for the (trade paperback) book, and 22,000 for the Blu-Ray.  That’s $21.25 (DVD), $27.65 (Book), and $46.80 (Blu-ray). Not everything costs more than it does in the US, but media certainly does.

It would have been easy enough for us to stick to our $100/day budget if we were only concerned with food and lodging, but we had two other big expenses to consider: Excursions and transportation.  I haven’t look over the budget too closely, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Chile was the first country that broke our budget.  In that respect, it was a good thing we got out of there so quickly.

September 1, 2010

Catching Up

Our New Office

Have you been following Oksana and me on Twitter or Facebook?  That’s where the bulk of our travel updates have been posted so far.  I thought I’d have tons and tons of time to work on the blog while we drove across the country — we even paid for the unlimited data plan on our iPad! — but it turns out you can’t type very well while driving.  While sitting in the passenger seat while driv–You know what I mean!

Seriously, though, I expected there would be plenty of time left in the day for blogging, but I didn’t count on how tired we’d both be after putting in a few hours behind the wheel.  I was discussing this with someone on the trip (I forget who it was) and they brought up a very good point: It may not be physically taxing, sitting on your butt all day, but driving can be quite mentally taxing.  If you put in 6 or 8 hours behind the wheel, that’s 6 or 8 hours of unwavering attention you have to devote to the task.  It’s no wonder I don’t have the mental fortitude to sit down and string some words together on a laptop after that.

I’m in a hammock now.

A little bit of catch up, to explain how we got to where we are right now: