Chile

Clarity

As I was coming home tonight from my classes in Lo Barnechea, which is a suburb of the city, I was able to see the city in its entirety – wow. To say it was beautiful is an understatement, to see Santiago without its ever present cloud of smog that seems to inhabit the city welcome or not is a rarity. Coming down the hill to see the lights that seemed to go on forever was a reminder that I did the right thing, I am in South America because I wanted something different. I am a 25 year old girl from the Midwest, at home that means you need to be in a stable job and dating the man you mean to marry or at least be damn certain you are searching for him. I think that is amazing and I am so happy for my friends that have found that and want that in their lives; I however am not that person. I desire something completely different and unfortunately being from Midwest USA makes me the odd man out. I have decided that I want adventure, the unknown, the uncomfortable at times, and to just live my life the way I want rather than the way society dictates. I have had my moments of doubt lately; that I should not be here and trying to figure out the best way to go home and when but I really had a moment of clarity on the bumpy route that the C14 takes back to Santiago tonight. I need to be here, I need to fulfill that nagging feeling that has been in my stomach since about my junior year of college. I am not the girl that gets married early, knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up right when she gets out of college, has kids at the age of 20 something and honestly I am OK with that. Santiago, Chile has brought out the best of me or at least I am certain it will – I am way out of my comfort zone and I am realizing that is alright. I wanted to be tested, to be uncomfortable, and to come back knowing myself better than I ever have.

I am sure this revelation will not be as compelling to my readers as I have found it but I needed to do a bit of word vomit and just get it out there. I am not sure I have ever articulated the feelings I have about being worlds apart from my friends at home both figuratively and literally- simply I don’t have the same desires and aspirations in my life right now. I am sure some day I will but until then I am going to continue to find out what I am made of and travel as much as I can because I would much rather do it now than when I retire – I mean really, I can do way more questionable things without the voice of judgement in my 20’s than I can in my 60’s : )

Has anyone else had a moment of clarity in their life? If so, tell me about it – I’d love to hear your stories!

Alyssa

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Pucón

My first long weekend trip in Chile was to Pucón, a small little town at the base of a volcano. If anyone has seen the movie Dante’s Peak, it probably could have taken place in this town. I made the 12 hour bus trip with Kayla & Cadu. We traveled through wine vineyards, forested areas, dry arid areas, and ended in the lake region. I traveled 11ish hours by plane and another 12 by bus to end up back with the lakes – sort of ironic if I do say so myself. The area of Pucón is absolutely beautiful, I couldn’t stop staring at the Volcano! I was excited to get out of my comfort zone and try some things I don’t normally jump up and volunteer for; things such as hiking, hiking, and more hiking. For those of you that know me well enough I am sure you are laughing at this mental image because well I am the girl who LOVES nice restaurants, shopping, reading, and all things city life related. To say I was a little over zealous and under prepared is putting it kindly.

First our hostel -we slept in a tent, they called it an eco dome but it was a tent with bunk beds and quite cozy actually. Yes, to those with your jaws on the floor, I did volunteer for this. So onto our day trips… The first day we decided to take it easy and go check out some waterfalls – beautiful! They were called ojos del caburgas and so much fun to wander around! After that we decided to jump back on the colectivo (shared bus) and found la playa negra (the black beach), the sand was made out of ground rock from the last volcanic eruption. After that we decided to say screw the bus and walk to the next beach in hopes we would find the green crater lake (we never found it). After walking up what I classify a mountain we found la playa blanca ( youuu guessed it, the white beach); since I had more than enough climbing for the day we took the bus back into town and went in search of food. We ate at a lovely German restaurant solely because they had Harry Potter on the tv and I needed some familiarity back in my life. *Side note, there is a lot of German influence in parts of Chile* When dinner was finished we rounded out our day with a sunset over Lago Villarrica which was very relaxing.

Day 2, the day we thought we were climbing a volcano. The weather on top of the mountain was not cooperating so we couldn’t go up; instead we decided to take on a national park hike. I did really good until the only direction we were going was up and it started to rain… not my idea of a great time unfortunately. We found a waterfall and headed back down – it wasn’t a complete loss however because the views we did see were breathtaking and made the hike totally worth it! We did find out that the weather the next day was being more amicable and we would be able to climb the volcano. I decided that my legs hated me enough after what I had put them through the last two days and opted out  because to me the views from town were just as beautiful. I spent all of Sunday wandering around the town, in and out of shops and spent some time by the beach just sort of taking it all in. When Kayla & Cadu returned from their climb we went to the thermal pools which were essentially warm baths… very relaxing!

Overall, I really enjoyed my trip. I can honestly say that I am learning a lot about myself here in Chile; some things I already knew and am just finding out more in depth and some brand new traits as well. Hopefully this was interesting and until next time; Buenas Noches!