September 17th, 2015: When I think of all the cities & towns that I visited during my South American backpacking excursion, none felt more like home than Puerto Varas. There’s so many reasons why. First, I think of when I arrived off the bus and was aimlessly walking around town with no real clue of where to go or what to do. It’s a truly unique feeling of being ‘lost’ and being o.k. with it. In fact, I would get thrilled by these moments of having to find a place of where to stay. Puerto Varas has a fun culture and really friendly people from what I experienced. On top of that, my hostel mates were some of the most fun I ever encountered. There was a group of Spanish ladies who I taught some fun English phrases to… Phrases such as, “That sweater is bitchin.” & “You be trippin.” & “Bitches be trippin.” The was some good beer involved, but it’s important to teach the essentials. The hostel had a wide range of people including one of the hostel host helpers who was from Michigan. They had a wide range of movies and comfortable kitchen area where everyone would congregate to relax, upload photos, charge devices and mingle. I even got to watch Interstellar again. Such a great movie!
September 18th, 2015: Chilean Independence Day! Not only are the Chileans grilling out for their Independence day but their flag has the same colors too. It truly felt for some moments that I was back home. I was happy to venture out into town, partake in some of the festivities, tour the city, go into the local party tents and sample various beer and food. The one thing about Chile I had no idea about was their German heritage, and those Germans know how to make a good beer, so Chile will not disappoint. I go for a hike up on a hill that has a recreation of the stations of the cross and the grotto is surrounded by hawks ‘cawwing’ their freakin brains out! I play an eagle screech noise on my phone and it makes them go insane. Back at the hostel one of the new guests shows up, another American and go figure the dude is a total Jackass. This would be a common theme throughout my trip. I felt that I blended in well with other backpackers from around the world. However, time to time I would hear a loud & annoyed person walking in and see that they have way too much luggage. I’d think to myself, “Damnit that’s an American isn’t it?” and low and behold that would almost always be the case. There was one exception. So please, to all my fellow traveling American’s: please don’t talk down to others, speak in an annoyed or superior tone, and try listening to what others in the room have to say instead of being the only, loud, annoying voice. O.K., rant over. But now I think to myself, maybe dealing with someone annoying made it feel like home too. Sometimes it’s the little things I guess and whether for good or bad it’s a memory from an unforgettable trip that makes me laugh a little on the inside.
Tomorrow, I leave my home away from home and venture to Puerto Montt & Alerce Andino National Park. Little did I know that at the time, Puerto Varas would be the last place I’d feel I belonged on this trip. The rest of the backpacking trip would feel like a wandering adventure. Maybe this is the moment where I truly let go of my attachments to home, and even myself. Looking back, I see this as a turning point in my travels where I start to feel so removed that if I ever thought of home, I would know there is no easy way back. Puerto Varas: gateway to the Patagonia. The Patagonia: a beautiful & diverse range of mountains where you can truly get lost and find yourself forever. Fitting as I write this blog reminiscing on my trip that the weather outside is icy, cold, windy & rainy. At least I’m inside of a warm Starbucks here in Idaho, but the elements are part of the joy of the Patagonia. If you are reading this in preparation for the Patagonia, prepare yourself for any kind of weather. It’s truly an adventure that will take everything you have and even more if you do it right. By the end of my Patagonia adventures I knew I had broken through walls & barriers physically and mentally forever. Puerto Varas & my Osorno Volcano hike is the beginning of this rugged adventure. Time to get gritty.