One of the most enjoyable parts of planning our trip has been what we call our “International Dinner Series.” Every Friday we invite a few friends over, serve the tasty food and ask them to share stories and tips from their international travels. Sometimes funny, sometimes bittersweet, but always entertaining, we have learned so much from this time with our community. As an added bonus we get to spend quality time with friends and neighbors who we wIll certainly miss while we are away. We often lay maps out across the dinner table with guests pointing out some of their favorite or most memorable destinations. Our friends bring books and brochures some of which have been in storage for years.
What we’ve found is that travelers love to talk about their travels, but it can be difficult to find interested listeners. So these dinners feel like a very equal exchange; our friends get to relive some of their best travel experiences through storytelling and we soak up valuable information for our journey ahead. I take notes in a small notebook that we will carry with us, particularly when we get very specific advice like “you absolutely must look up my friend who guides treks in the Peruvian Andes and ask to use the tent I gave him” (thanks Jeremy!) or “take the Navimag ferry through the fjords of Chile to reach Torres del Paine National Park – spectacular” (thanks Sarah!). This has been an incredible opportunity to connect with friends over a good meal and good wine, enjoying their company, and building ever more excitement towards our big trip.