Tomorrow the sun will rise on a new day, one where we all have the opportunity to keep trying to make the world a better place.

I woke up today full of hope. After four days trekking the Inca Trail—blissfully disconnected from day-to-day life, getting to know people from all countries and all backgrounds, learning about other cultures, and marveling at the natural beauty of our world—I slept deeply and woke excited to hear the news of progress in my home country. I am embarrassed to say that I was genuinely shocked to hear the real news.

From our little hostel room in Peru, I’ve been absorbing reactions all day…heartfelt messages posted to social media, YouTube clips, op-eds. As usual, I hesitate to add my own voice to the mix—because I can’t say it any better, because what good would it do?

But if one thing is clear to me now, it’s that silence is never the answer. I have managed to surround myself in enough of a liberal bubble that I truly didn’t think this would happen, and that in itself is a huge problem. The undeniable truth is that my country propelled and elected this person to the highest position of power in the world, and that is a reality we can’t afford to laugh at or ignore.

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Setting a South American pace

“Which do you prefer: a tightly packed itinerary, or an open schedule with plenty of free time?”

It’s one of the most important questions to ask when you’re planning a trip—especially if you’re with a travel buddy—up there with “Museums and cultural sites, or off-the-beaten-path local spots?” and “Four-star hotel or youth hostel?”

Chris and I have been talking a lot about the pace of our traveling lately. While we’re pretty well matched as travel partners, it’s one area where we have to communicate and compromise a bit. I tend to be more of the go-go-go, check-off-the-list, get-all-the-best-pictures, FOMO-driven type, while Chris…Chris would prefer to skip that 6:30 a.m. walking tour. Neither is the right or wrong way to experience a new place—just different.

Our U.S.A. road trip was, on the whole, pretty fast-paced. We hardly spent more than a day or two in one place before we were off to the next destination. While we certainly worked in some down time—and I can’t say that I would necessarily change anything—it was definitely a whirlwind. Two months isn’t as long as it sounds for a country as big as ours!

So, from the start, we’ve tried to adopt a slightly more laid-back approach to this South American half of our adventure. There’s two main reasons:

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