The opening scene of my forthcoming travel book references one of the earliest trips I took as an adult: Chile. My sister had taken a year off from school in Wisconsin to teach English in Santiago. Seizing the opportunity, I convinced my dad and youngest sister to reunite down there. Sitting around a table, drinking local beer, we plotted a route on a paper map. We’d fly to San Pedro de Atacama in the north, cross the desert that inspired Dali in a Jeep, head into Bolivia to photograph the salt flats, then cross Lake Titicaca into Peru. If timed right, we would ascend the Incan Trail to Heaven’s Gate outside Macchu Picchu at sunrise on my dad’s 60th birthday. But first, we needed to drink some Chilean wine.
We spent an afternoon on a local bus visiting wineries outside the city. Our last stop was Casillero del Diablo where we all indulged in a bit too much Cabernet Sauvignon on a sunlit patio. Teeth stained red, a few splashes on our shirts, we headed back to the city for a tipsy dinner. Of my many memories tasting wine overseas, that afternoon stands out in sharp relief. In law school at the time, I didn’t yet know what my future life would hold, but my fascination with wine and travel was settled that day.
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