Sunday, January 10, 2016

Chile is calling and I must go.

 If you know anything about me, you probably know that I like to travel. Well, that would be an understatement. I live to travel. I sit in class and I dream of elsewhere. I get restless if I stay anywhere too long or if a place starts to become too comfortable. Now that I'm a sophomore in college, people always ask me what my career plans are. Hell, I don't even know what I'm majoring in or what I'm doing this summer. Sometimes I say that I think I'll join the Peace Corps after college and most adults just kind of brush it off and say "Oh, that's nice, but really, what do you want to do?" I recently read this book (true story) about this girl who works as a bartender back home to save just enough money to buy another plane ticket and six months of travel. When she runs out, she goes back home and saves some more money until she can leave again. And if I had any plan at all for my future, it would read something like that. (Of course, everything works out well for that girl until she gets kidnapped in Somalia for a year and a half, but I don't plan on get kidnapped.) Fortunately, I can stop worrying about my next destination because tomorrow I'll get on a plane.

       Tomorrow is the day that I fly 4, 727 miles south to live for a semester in Santiago, Chile with a host mom named Winnie and a spirit of adventure. I've been itching to get to South America for a few years now and it has always appeared to me as the ultimate travel destination. Long and narrow Chile borders the South Pacific ocean and hosts the towering Andes, the driest desert in the world, deep, green valleys, active volcanos, and large lakes and rivers. It's a nature lover's paradise. And if you're into the city, the capital Santiago bustles with over 5 million people at the foot of snow-capped mountains. I'm interested to see how nature and urban life intertwine in my new home. In addition to taking four Spanish classes at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, we have trips scheduled to Buenos Aires, the Atacama Desert, Patagonia, and Machu Picchu in Peru. If I can manage it, I'll find a way to get over to see the mysterious ancient stone statues on Easter Island, too. With a GoPro strapped to my head, a camera around my neck, and hiking boots on my feet, I'll leave as little of Chile unexplored as I can. Oh, and I guess I'll study a little bit too.

    I love the feeling of the unknown stretching out before me in wide blue skies and roaring oceans. It has always taunted me, urging me to leave everything behind and just go. Chile called and I am following her. Here's to the journey and learning what it means to be Chilean.