Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lima, Peru: The buddy pass has landed

My hiking friend Sandra's arrival in Lima, Peru early yesterday morning has been a long time coming. Just as Kathy and I discovered en route to Rome, Italy last weekend (link), flying standby can require a lot of flexibility and patience.

Following a hike last summer, Sandra told me at Dairy Queen about her dreams to spend a year backpacking around South America, followed by Europe, and then Australia... But I'll let Sandra share her complete, ongoing story on her own blog.

Here is a photo from our Mount Hood area hike:

Hiking up Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain with NW Wilderness, for my buddy Chatchay's birthday

Sandra excitedly took me up on my offer of a Delta buddy pass to fly from Portland to South America (hopefully in the Business Elite class cabin!) on the cheap.

But things went sideways last week, the result of scheduling conflicts which pushed back Sandra's itinerary a bit. The remaining flights to Peru, Argentina, Chile, and even Australia looked uncertain. Long story short, a planned overnight stay in Atlanta with her cousin Bob was extended by four nights until she FINALLY got an upgraded seat to Lima. And two of those nights were spent in the ATL airport. Without earplugs!

Sandra sustained an impossibly positive attitude throughout what became my longest buddy pass ordeal to date, by far. It was all part of the adventure. In contrast, I've sponsored other buddy pass riders who scored Business Elite seats overseas with less effort and also a bit less graciousness (including a good friend who nurtured a cold shoulder until recently regarding a trip to Italy, and another who was strangely harsh to Kathy). But the opportunity to do my small part to help so many other friends like Sandra achieve her dreams make it worth the risk!

Sandra's sunny outlook has finally landed her in the sunnier climate of South America. And she'll be backpacking through for quite a while... until she reaches the next continent.

Safe travels, amiga! Our paths may cross again in some of the most unlikely corners of the world.

Readers can stay up to date with Sandra and her world travels by following her travel blog, appropriately titled www.bucketlistchecker.blogspot.com. The link is also on my sidebar below.


Sandra Kowalski said...

Awesome blog post, Garth. Thank you! Functioning on an average of three hours of sleep per night since Friday. Looking forward commencing to a four day trek on the Santa Cruz trail in Huascaran National Park tomorrow. :-)

Garth Hamilton said...

Trekking Cordillera Blanca tomorrow? Yikes, I'd better get packing!