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Six months ago, I requested leave from work. The leave starts tomorrow and ends two weeks from next Monday.

At the time I made the leave request, I had no specific plans for how to use it. However, Kathryn and I do like to travel in the fall. I knew if I didn’t block off two-plus weeks early enough, my travel-bargain-loving colleague would find yet another ridiculously low airfare to God-knows-where and squat on a long weekend right in the middle of fall. In fact, he’s since made plans for a four-night trip to Singapore that starts only twenty-four hours after I come back to work.

Anyway, Kathryn and I wavered back and forth for months about where to travel during our October leave. Italy, Mexico, and southeast Asia were all on the short list. We quickly decided to postpone Italy until the Cinque Terre region has fully rebuilt after the floods that ravaged the region several years ago, in particular the hiking trails, which are, in my opinion, the whole reason to go there. We’d eventually like to do a road trip on the Baja California peninsula of Mexico, but we’re not sure we have the right vehicle for the trip right now. We’ll do more research on that. Southeast Asia was at the top of our list for months, but we ultimately decided it wasn’t the right time of the year weather-wise for that part of the world.

Several weeks ago, Kathryn reminded me that over the past few years I’ve often mentioned wanting to see Uruguay. It strikes me as someplace that’s off the Banana Pancake Trail for the most part. Yes, it’s touristed, but perhaps not overly so. I read travel blogs quite regularly, and I can’t remember the last time I saw Uruguay mentioned. It’s actually rather hard to find a decent guide book about Uruguay; most tourist guides treat it as a side trip from Argentina. As far as I can tell, there’s only one airline that flies to Uruguay directly from the United States. And yet, everything I’ve read suggests it’s beautiful, civilized, and laid back.

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, tomorrow we’ll depart for Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, via Miami. Our initial plan is to spend two nights in a guest house in the old city, and then … well, we don’t really have a plan after that. We’ll probably take a ferry across the Plata River and stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a couple or more nights. After that, we’ll probably come back to Uruguay, rent a car, and drive up the coast toward Brazil for several days. But none of this is etched in stone. If we fall in love with a place, we could just as easily spend the rest of our holiday there.

As is usually the case when I travel, I’ll stay active here on the blog with status updates, photos, and my thoughts on the places we’ve visited. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.