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Volume 1. Tom and Greta senior romantic South America trip March 2009. Our senior travel philosophy: travel while we are health and able to do so.

By Tom P Blake – Finding Love after 50

My partner Greta and I are traveling to South America, leaving Thursday, March 5, and returning, March 27.


As I've done for the last few trips, I will be submitting columns about our travels (with photos) to the Southern California syndicate of newspapers for which I write. Many of you have told me you want to read the columns, that you enjoyed the columns about Italy last year. So, I will include two or three columns in upcoming newsletters.


It seems there are always issues that come up just before an extended trip that makes one question the wisdom of going.


Three years ago, it was the Atochi train station bombings in Madrid that nearly derailed us. We were scheduled to depart from that station two weeks after the bombing. Our entire trip was to be via train in Spain. When I asked members of this newsletter if we should cancel our trip, you overwhelmingly urged us to go, and we did. But, we rented a car instead. It was a very eerie feeling when we visited that train station.


Two years ago, I was concerned about my Dana Point deli. How would it get along without me? It was a busy time of year. But, I've had Teresa and Rosa, my loyal partners who had been with me at that time for 19 years, running the show. They scoffed at our hesitation, saying, "What are we? Sliced salami?" Indeed, they weren't.


When we returned, the deli was running better than when we left.


Last year, when we went to Italy, we had concerns about the health of family members stateside and the long duration (three weeks) of our trip. Again, you encouraged us to go. It was the trip of a lifetime.


And this year, it's the down economy and the concern for family members again. We've asked ourselves: Shouldn't we reign in our spending to maintain a nest egg for when we're older?


Greta and I have pondered that. If we weren't using airline frequent flyer miles to and from South America, we would not have gone. Plus, we traded for time share accommodations for ten days in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay, so we've eliminated the cost of ten nights of lodging. For the final three nights, we're staying with friends in Mar De Playa, Argentina.


We feel the way we travel--economically, we plan everything ourselves--we should go. We never know, at our age, when we won't be able to travel.


One of the benefits of being a couple later in life is in sharing expenses, which allows us financially to do more things.


So, our decision is to go. Our first stop will be brief: Santiago, Chile. We could not stay longer there because of our timeshare commitment in Buenos Aires.


We've arranged to have Mauricio, a Chilean guide, pick us up at the airport Friday morning to deliver us to our hotel. Then, Saturday, he will drive us around for six hours. And on Sunday, he will take us to the airport for the second phase of our trip: Buenos Aires.

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