We are always taking a tour of some kind, either physically, by train, plane, boat, etc., or mentally as we read about exotic locations and study the histories of different civilizations. One thing remains constant no matter our method of travel; education and knowledge is always part of our destination. When one truly stops and thinks about traveling and the different paths we all have taken, our lives DO begin to ressemble one long journey, don't they? Whether we make these travels a joyful learning experience or grouse about the lack of certain amenities along the way is completely up to how WE relate to ourselves and the world around us.

Early in our marriage we made a pledge and we have not waivered. Our pledge was to keep growing, to never stop looking, to always take care of our bodies and minds.... and to travel this path together. We prefer to cherish the feeling that life should be one big, glorious learning experience and not only would we make this journey of discovery as a married couple, we would also take our children, no matter where we traveled. When time and finances would permit, we would also take a few of our children's friends along with us. We wanted them to see as much of the world as possible, to learn about many different cultures and people.

Thankfully, our goals have for the most part been met.... but as anyone who decides to try new paths knows, we must ALWAYS expect the unexpected! We have been MORE than surprised on many of our travels. Some of the surprises have been amazing and some have been quite shocking experiences, but even if we had the opportunity go back and change a few events in our lives, we would have stuck to the paths and side-trips we have taken. Grandpa King lived from 1896 until 1992 and saw the world change in most dramatic ways, He looked at his life as one big adventure and always enjoyed opportunities to travel and meet people. He lived an amazingly full life and always said, "you have to take the good with the bad in this life." He could not have been any more correct. Nothing is either good nor all bad  it's the journey that matters. Never stop learning, never stop exploring, never stop being amazed by the wonder of life, for life is a most incredible gift!

For well over seventeen years we worked extremely hard. Sometimes we worked up to and beyond twenty-four hours at a stretch as our small children would sleep in makeshift beds. We learned, created, grew and sustained a very successful business. At the same time we managed to raise our two children and traveled to many great lands whenever we had the opportunity, always with our children in tow. There were times that we even had our pets with us.

We worked grueling hours and often it was more than difficult, but we bit the bullet to create and build a successful marketing company, one that could hold its head high, for our clients were among the top companies in the United States, Canada and Europe! We built a good portion of our business around such prestigious clients as Porsche Cars North America, Inc., the Hilton Hotel chain, Harrah's, Circus-Circus, the Silver Legacy, John Ascuaga's Nugget, several major banks, through their mergers and expansions and other clients equally important, such as Coldwell Banker, TrammellCrow, etc., etc. As we worked in the public AND political sectors, we were also providing services for political campaigns. We maintained a strict confidentiality agreement with each and every client. Oftentimes we would be working for two different, competing car companies, ten casinoes and numerous politicians from all of the different political parties simultaneously but we never played favorites and all of our customers got the very best service.

This type of work, level of care and quality of service DOES take its toll on a personal level, though. After about fifteen years of this ever-more-demanding work environment, we realized that we were working seven days a week and taking the business with us on every vacation as well via cell phones and e-mail! The time had come to make a drastic life change, before illness struck and we were not able to enjoy the rewards we had worked so hard to earn.

In spite of our continued business success and growth, in the latter part of the 1980's, we started to notice a change in the economy of the USA. It seemed to begin back during the Savings and Loan crisis'. There has been a slow, yet emerging business and economic chill descending upon the USA. Small businesses have been bit-by-bit tossed by the wayside in exchange for larger, impersonal corporations, who utilize "Bully Tactics" and they happily and quietly are running Small Businesses straight into bankruptcy courts all over the place. It might be good for these big corporations but not for the common good of the USA. Many bright but older people are left behind to struggle with with lower paying jobs and cheap imported goods available in the large discount stores. The corporations move on to exploit other countries and to capitalize on lower costs and higher profits.
 
We started asking, "why shouldn't we do the same thing?" Not from the "Exploitation" angle but from a "practicallity" angle. Since our political clients didn't seem to give a hoot about any of us, we began to pay close attention to the quality of service THEY provided. Quality is not a word that is easily associated with political candidates, is it? We small fry are not the ones who finance the politicians and their elections, it's the big Corporations. Who do you think the politicians are working for----uh, we mean "representing"?

Well, we put our business up for sale and began taking vacations with a purpose: looking for that one special place in the world, a place where we would feel not only completely comfortable, but also one that was growing into itself, finding that it was actually self-sufficient, yet with room to grow. We were looking for a location that was not yet completely overun by big corporations and their politics, at least not yet. We were looking for a place that was young, full of fresh ideas but NOT full of the egos who finance corporate greed. If you ask us, the USA is quite similar to the Roman Empire. One simply needs to look close enough.

Don't forget, we have children, not entirely grown up yet and we were not exactly looking for a retirement community, although... We wanted a location with a variety of outdoor activities and, most important of all: a safe, relatively stress-free environment. We were looking for a place we could escape to, especially after we had sold our company (NOT to a larger corporation, but to a friendly competitor).

We were hoping to slow down a bit but still keep busy while we have the energy and time to share a bit of what we have learned and also enjoy the outdoor activities that captivate us such as: boating, rafting, biking, snow-shoeing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and hiking. And.... did we find our Paradise? YOU BET! We may not be able to engage in those outdoor activities at the levels we used to but we are not dead yet either.

In late 2003 we found ourselves in a place we had only dreamt about, not as a vacation destination, in fact it had never been on ANY of our lists as a "place to go" in past years. Still, because of a couple of chance encounters and a few people who made a special impact on us, we decided to check it out. Our research on Chile as the perfect new country, while limited, was encouraging. To be completely honest, we are not totally sure just how we found this perfect place. Perhaps it found us. That explanation makes the most sense.

The country is Chile and for the foreseeable future, our home town is Pucón, a charming resort community in the heart of this amazing country known as the Lakes District of Chile, nestled on the banks of Lago Villarrica, where the magnificent Volcano Villarrica quietly puffs small clouds of smoke from its open top.

We are now working to build a community. We have made many new friends and hope to make many more. With our warm and friendly Chilean friends and a group of people made up of both old and new Expatriates, we are building a bit of a network. Everybody needs friends. We seem to have found more good folks here in Chile than we ever found back "home" in the USA. We welcome you to join us here in Chile as new friends and neighbors! Fire up the BBQ and let's all get together for an Asado!

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Pucon Chile
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